Honestly I wish I had had more days in Malapascua. I thought for at tiny island with it’s main global draw being its thresher sharks, that two full days on the island would be enough to see the sharks and move on to the next thing.
Waking up to the beautiful white beaches, crystal blue water, and happy island dogs changed my mind. Not to mention the allure of various dive sites where visibility is 30+ meters and the turf and currents are, for the most part, minimal offer ideal opportunities to level up your PADI certs.
Friendly island doggos, this one decided he wanted to be my roommate
Along the beachside touristy strip, every other building is either a place to stay or a dive shop so
you wont lack for options if you happen to just show up without booking anything in advance. I personally stayed at Hippocampus Beach Resort for it’s quaint look and location near Thresher Shark Divers, which is the diving company I booked. I can’t recommend Thresher Shark Divers enough – they were responsive, cheerful, accommodating, and easy going, while still putting safety first. I hung around their dive shop for the company and for how much they made me laugh, they’re a good group of people.
The resort side of town consists of one stretch along the beach and it’s beautiful but catered to tourists with higher prices and Malapascuans repeatedly trying to sell you the same carved wooden sharks. Sometimes they’ll send their young kids to try to sell you the wooden carved sharks and it can be a bit of a downer to repeatedly say no.
The other drawback is that Malapascuans LOVE their disco and music. And by music I mean the deeper the bass the better. Often times there are multiple karaoke joints poorly spaced out so that the warbles of the singing few are competing with each other for soundwaves. My toilet paper earplugs and noise cancelling headphones came in handy for two of the four nights I was there. If I had stayed there longer I would have bought a hammock and gone up to the north beach for a few nights of camping and some quiet peace out by the water. You’ll be fine during the first few days of the week, but Thursday – Sunday is apparently when the island parties.
Food at the ‘resorts’ can be a bit expensive compared to other places in the Philippines, so on a recommendation I went to the little marketplace closer in town and ordered myself some street food for less than half the price of what I would have paid on the beach front. It doesn’t look like much but it sure was delicious.
I’ll probably say this with every post but keep an open mind! I thought I would be terrified to dive to 30m for my Advanced Open Water because in the past I had experienced a couple of panic attacks due to a harrowing experience in Vietnam where my throat was closing up and so any experience where I feel my breathing is threatened can trigger that elevated heart beat but with the competence of the dive instructor and my own excitement it was easy-peasy.
Remember that everyone is on island time, so kick back and relax.
What I Wish I Could Have Done If I Had More Time
- Visit the WWII Japanese wreck
- Finished my Advanced Open water
- Seen the northing part of the island
- Dived at more sights such as Chocolate Island
- Apparently there’s a place right off shore where baby black tipped sharks hang out and I would’ve loved to have snorkeled around there.