Scuba diving Malapascua in the Philippines is world famous for it’s thresher sharks and his macro life. But does Malapascua deliver on this promise and is it worth your buck travelling there?
Unless you live in the vicinity of South East Asia, getting to Malapascua can be quite a trip. Generally the first stop is Hong Kong from where you fly to the island of Cebu. From Cebu you take a 3 to 4 hour bus to the north of the island only to catch a boat. The boat will take you to the island of Malapscua in 45 minutes.
Once you get there and stick your head underwater the long trip is soon forgotten. The underwater scenery is simple spectacular. Beautiful coral gardens teeming with life can be found in the shallower diver spots around the island. Macro life like you have never seen before.
In 10 dives we saw 2 thresher sharks, white tip reef sharks, 10 seahorses, 3 pygmy seahorses, 3 frog fish, several mantis shrimps, mandarin fish and a Spanish Dancer. We also saw several beautiful collared underwater snails. Besides all that we also made a wreck dive and did a night dive on the reef. Twice we went looking for manta rays but sadley we didn’t encounter them. Near the end of april it is also possible to encounter hammerhead sharks, even in large schools!
Small note is that there aren’t any large fish to be seen on the reefs. If you are not on the thresher shark/manta ray dive site all the big fish seem to be vanished. Maybe this is due to heavy fishing. All in all you won’t be disappointed when you dive at Malapascua.
Diving can be done from the level of open water diver but you will miss out on several dive sites because of the 18m/60f limit. For example the thresher shark dive is located at a dive site which is around 25m/80ft deep. We recommend you to get your advanced open water or the deep diving specialty prior to your dive trip to Malapascua or to get it there.
What Gear To Bring
The water temperature can vary from 29 degrees to 26 degrees in the months December, January and February. A 3mm tropical suit should be more than warm enough but you might want to bring som extra when you are diving in the colder months. As soms dives are deeper also a light is recommend. Gloves and pointers are prohibited on Malapascua because the tend to make you grab and touch the marine life.
Cost of Diving
Diving is pretty cheap in the Philippines like most thing there. For 10 boat dives with your own equipment you pay 264 dollar/224 euro. When you need rental gear you will pay 316 dollar/270 euro for 10 boat dives. One of the 10 dives is a mandatory check dive on the house reef. If you want to go for a wreck dive you will pay 8 dollar/6 euro extra because the boat trip is little bit longer. Besides those prices you need to pay 3 dollar/2,5 euro per dive contribute for conservation of the area. All by all it’s very reasonable priced.
Malapascua is a small island which can best be visited in the dry season which runs from the beginning of November all the way through April, which also is the high season. Malapascua has some beautiful beaches which ar perfect to hang around during your surface interval. At night you can pick one of the many bars and restaurants which offer dinning and drinks for a very reasonable price. In the week we where there we spend around 300 dollar/ 250 euro on food and drinks. Other things to do on the is visiting the light house and other beaches. Don’t rent a scooter everything can be done by foot! If you are expecting big parties and loads of things to do then Malapascua may not be the right place for you. Its mainly a laid back island focust on diving.
We did our diving with – Exotic Dive Resort Malapascua
All our dives where booked through Exotic Dive Resort Malapascua. In total there was a group of 10 divers and they reserved a boat just for us. One of the great benefits was that we got to decide when and where to dive. This gave us great flexibility and we could make our own dive schedule. Also greatly appreciated within our group was that the crew would build your gear and haul it for you onto the boat. Afterwards everything gets a rinse and setup for the next morning. Nothing less then two thumbs up for the Exotic Dive Resort!
Important note: We are not being payed or compensated in any way to write this article