I’m not a diver. I don’t like water. I probably won’t be diving in the near future. I mean, I even avoid snorkeling at all costs. So I was questioned a lot about why I was on Malapascua, famous for diving with thresher sharks.
Good question, everyone I met. Good question. I was there to read and lay around. But in case that’s not all you want to do, and don’t dive, fear not. These are the best things to do on Malapascua that aren’t diving.
Walk Around the Island
Walk around and take pictures. I like doing this because, well, I like taking pictures, but I like to think I see more this way than if I was just wandering around. This is when I see little details and things, but I also take time to just walk around and not take pictures. I think I take in more of the beauty that way. But really, I like doing both a lot.
Relax With a Book in a Hammock
Grab a book and claim a hammock for the afternoon. I know this falls under the category “all I did on Malapascua” but it was really nice to take a break compared to my time in Taiwan and Japan. Split your time between a hammock and laying on the beach to really switch things up.
Check Out the Lighthouse
Walk to the lighthouse. I know where it is, and apparently, you can go up it, but I wasn’t really sure how to figure that part out. I was so close, but couldn’t find a path, just trees to scramble through and rocks to scramble up. Either way, the beach at the bottom of it is a nice place to watch the sunset. Which brings me to my next point.
Get Up For Sunrise or Watch the Sunset on the Beach
Get up to watch the sunrise or walk around to find a good place to watch the sunset. These aren’t big ways to spend a lot of time, but they are a good way to unwind. I try to not take pictures of them, but I just can’t help it. It’s just one of those things, like mango juice. I just need to take pictures! And I just need to drink mango juice! If you want a good sunset place, head to the beach at the base of the lighthouse.
Join a Snorkeling Trip
Go snorkeling. I can’t offer any good advice about this because, well, I’ve mentioned above that I avoid it at all costs, but I know it is possible to do there. Stay at Villa Sandra, the best budget option with super friendly staff, and they occasionally go on snorkeling and cliff jumping adventures. They also play reggae versions of every popular song on repeat, so prepare for that.
Try Your Hand at Gambling
Gamble! I’ve only gambled three times in my life and I’ve been legal for six years now. Two of those times were out of the US. At night in the village, they have a little gambling area and I would recommend the giant metal funnel, ping pong ball, roulette game. I won a whole 60 pesos! You can just walk up and join the game and leave when you feel you’ve had enough. There are other games, but that was the most popular.
Walk Around the Inner Part of the Island
Explore the inner island. This was really fun in the evening but bring a flashlight. It can get pretty dark once the sun goes down. It’s just a totally different atmosphere from the beach areas. There was one house that looked like it was having its own personal rave with lights and everything. Kids were running around playing with tires. Laundry was hung up everywhere. It was pretty cool, I would highly recommend this.
This didn’t seem to be as popular on Malapascua as it was in El Nido and on Palawan in general. I know you can take day trips to Kalanggaman Island nearby, and maybe a few others. Ask at your accommodation about this. I know at Villa Sandra they did at least one trip to the island while I was there. I wish I had gone, but I was still pretty crispy from my horrible sunburn.
How to get to Malapascua from Cebu City
It’s super easy, don’t worry. I managed it on my own. In Cebu city, go to the north bus terminal. You really don’t even need to know which specific bus to take, just thing the word ‘Malapascua’ and drivers will flock to you. Ok, not quite, but if you took a taxi to the terminal, just tell them you’re going to Malapascua and they can probably help you find the right bus. Or ask anyone at the terminal already. I had no problem finding a bus. Some have AC, some don’t. I didn’t have it on mine and it was a reasonable temperature.
Once the bus portion of your journey is finished, you’ll take a boat over to Malapascua. The bus drops you off at Maya Port and you want to make sure you get here earlier in the day because there is almost nothing there. You definitely want to get there with plenty of time to catch a boat over.
The public boats run from 6:30 AM to 5 PM and cost about 100 PHP (+20 PHP if the tide is low and they need to use a smaller boat to get you to shore. Once they drop you off, you just walk to your hotel/hostel/resort. The island is small, so it’s probably not too far of a walk. There may be scooters to take you there as well.
Have you been to Malapascua? Do you dive? If not, what did you do there? Do you want to go?