Itchy Feet || Malapascua - Intro Dive & Snorkelling


Itchy Feet || Magnificent Malapascua

I've been hearing about Malapascua for years now, especially from diver friends.   2010 was the year we finally got the chance to go.

Plan A obviously was to dive.
BUT of course we went into Plan B and C which was to just take an intro dive, and to snorkel.
Why? Because we're not licensed yet! 

(The hubby & wifey dum dums took a full diving course with NAUI instructor Ron, finished the course, no check out dive / open water yet. Will get their license soon. Long story short.  To make the long story longer... we STILL do not have our licenses yet because a. I got pregnant b. Then I had a miscarriage c. Then I recently got operated on .. which would take another few months to recover.  Whew. )

Getting to Malapascua from Cebu City was pretty easy. We followed most of the tips we read online...
From SM Traveler's Lounge, we took a cab to the North Bus Terminal (because it was too damn hot to walk!).

The North Bus Terminal or NBT is the main hub for buses, mini-buses and vans-for-hire plying routes to the Northern part of Cebu.  (Liloan, Compostella, Danao, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod, Bogo, DaanBantayan, Maya etc.)

To get to Malapascua, we took the bus to Maya. (Around Php 140 - Php 160). It took roughly about 4 hours, roads were ok, driver was sane too.

From Maya, there's a ferry boat that will take travelers to Malapascua, Php 50.
Manong bangkero

Our welcoming committee by the beach

Malapascua means Bad Easter or Bad Christmas.  Before all these resorts and dive shops came about, I would imagine that this island was the closest you'd ever get to paradise.

Malapascua is famous for thresher shark sightings and awesome dive spots.  The hubby and I will surely come back next time... to dive of course.

It's a pretty small island, way way smaller than Bantayan.
Since we did not have any prior bookings, we walked around to find a place to stay.
While walking around looking for a place to crash, we discovered that apparently there were more foreigners than locals. We were the only Pinoys!

Pristine beach

We ended up staying the first night at Blue Corals Resort.  Php 2000 / night for the fan room, with breakfast for 4.  It has a view of a cove, with a cemetery overlooking the cove. Creepy.

Our goal for the duration of the stay was ... NOTHING.  We wanted to get away from being corporate slaves / corporate geishas (as Dennis puts it)... and just CHILL.

And that's what we did. Eat, sleep, snorkel, laze around, take pictures, eat... chill.

We transferred to a different resort during the course of our stay.  Slam's Garden Resort had a better room, not exactly cheaper... Php 1800, but with no breakfast.  The toilet, bath, and wash areas were en-suite but separate.
Slam's Garden Resort, our room - top right

Our room at Slam's
Personalized towels
Don't SLAMMED the door at Slam's :-P especially when you CLOSED it.
Diyos ko. Mental note, when I go back, I will try and print a new copy for them, without the grammar & spelling errors. :)
So that I can enjoy my HOLLIDAY, even if they will not CHANGED the towels every 2 days.

Little (?!) pets at Slam's
Dennis staying true to our GOAL.  CHILLAX.
The funniest most memorable thing about our trip was Ging-Ging's Eatery.  Food was forgettable, but the mere fact that we ate EVERY SINGLE FRIGGIN MEAL there... was for me.. funny.  Well, for the price, and the variety... what we paid for was worth it.  The other restos on the island were either closed (because we went there August, which was most likely low season)... or too expensive or too western.

Open early til late.  And we're there early - for breakfast, and then lunch, and then snacks, and then dinner... FTW!
The only place worth dining in.  Seriously.  The food is not THAT spectacular, but for the price pwede na :)
Yup, that's OUR table.  Inangkin na namin.
Their version of Fish & Chips.  Serious 'to.
May bantay pa kami.  Isn't his forehead cool? :)
Well, there was one meal we ate elsewhere. I think it was our first night's dinner... we had the buffet at the resto bar near Blue Coral's. They had the usual Filipino buffet fare, with some viands spot cooked.  Forgot the price, I think it was about Php 450?  Sorry Ging-Ging.

The cat had fun licking the leftovers off the other table's plates.
Next day at Ging-ging's again. for breakfast.
Antok pa si bantay.
More breakfast, err.. Lunch.. err breakfast... at (where else??) Ging-Gings!
Dinner at Ging-Ging's. Dennis on the phone wanting to strangle or better yet FIRE one of his staff. (Can't though coz she's pregnant.)
Since the hubby was bored, he decided to do light trails outside Ging-Gings while we were all waiting for dinner.

I would understand why foreigners love coming back to Malapascua (and some even staying for good).

  • Beaches are pristine, serene.
  • There's fresh seafood... always.
Dennis & the catch of the day.
  • The dive spots are amazing. The marine life there is aaahhh-mazing!   The hubby & I had the chance to do an intro dive.  Even if you don't dive, and just opt to snorkel, you will not be disappointed.

  • The locals are friendly, helpful, hospitable, not just to whites. Yes people, we normal folks have money too. Duh. : ) Peace!
  • Even the "other" residents are friendly.



The hubby waiting for our boat ride back to the Cebu mainland. Boo hoo.

As a local (meaning Filipino, resident) I would still come back and visit Malapascua.

If you have the chance, don't just visit the usual run-off-the-mill tourist spots like Cebu City/Mactan. There are tons of places around the city... quaint little places.. that offer a lot.

Where we stayed:

Blue Coral Beach Resort
Malapascua Island, Barangay Logon
PI - 6013 Daan-Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines
Sonia de Dios (Philippines)
Mobile: +63-926-3050827  
Telephone/Fax: +63 32 4371021

SLAM'S Garden Resort
Malapascua Island, Barangay Logon
6013 Daan-Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines
Mobile: (00-63) 9053433495 Or (00-63) 9267853743 MAY : in English,Tagalog or Visaya
(00-63) 9154410621 NELSIE : in English,Tagalog or Visaya

If you Google Malapascua (which we did prior to our trip), there are tons of resources / references. Where to stay, how to get there, what to do, when to go, etc. etc.  Some of my favorite travel bloggers (I envy them.. I admire them :) ) have posts about Malapascua too like Lakwatsero -->  Malapascua by Lakwatsero

Be sure to plan your trip well, or if you do not have a plan (like us), make sure to stay longer. It's worth it.


Itchy Feet || Chilling in Cebu

The hubby & I, plus two of our friends, flew to Cebu without any itinerary.
I've been to Cebu several times, this trip was one of those - "let's not plan anything" trips.

"San tayo pupunta?" (Where the heck are we going?)
"Bahala na si Batman!" 
"kakain na naman tayo?" (We're having breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, snacks AGAIN??? :-P )
"Saan tayo kakain?" (Where do you want to have breakfast? lunch? dinner? snacks? :-P )
formed most of our discussions / debates.

[Touchdown Mactan International Airport - and I apologize for posting this, but it's just too funny not to post Mr. ButtCrack Man at the conveyor belt.]

So our first day (or rather night... because we took a late night flight) was spent catching up with the "locals" aka our work friends who re-loc'd to Cebu. 

From the airport... first stop, IT Park at Lahug, backpacks and all.

We had a late late dinner at Abuhan Tres at the i2 Bldg. with Lindsay and her boy.  Hmm. No pic.
Next stop, Coffee Cat at e-Bloc, a few blocks away from Abuhan Tres to visit friends who were working the night shift.

Original Yo Go for me, Hot White Chocolate Mocha for Dennis

Nice printouts on their to-go containers.

Ganito pala pag late night ang flight.  Chilling at IT Park at Lahug.

We had absolutely no idea where we'd be spending the night yet. Went around the city, visited a few pensions & inns... ended up at Sugbutel. Not a bad idea :)  Thank you Manong Taxi Driver for the recommendation!

At Php 250 / person / night / bed, it wasn't a bad deal.  Especially for travelers/transients like us.  We arrived around 4 or 430am that day/night (whatever!)  and paying > Php1000 to sleep for a few hours and shower was unfathomable.

If we had known about Sugbutel earlier, we could've gotten the Php 99 / bed deal.  The Philippines lacks these budget friendly hostels (and by budget friendly I mean the non-sleazy non-red-light-district kinds of places. I know you know what I mean :-P.  Most countries around the world & in SE Asia have a lot.  I know our hotel / resort rates are pretty easy on the budget, but it's still a different experience for travelers to mingle with other travelers / backpackers in a non-sleazy environment.

When we stayed there, it was Php 200 / bed exclusive of linens (add Php 50 for linens & a towel) for the Business Class room.  The Business Class area / room had about 20 or so double deck bunks with curtains, similar to the bunks on a cruise ship.
The hubby at the bunk above mine.
Business Class
I had my own night light, a 'safety box' right below my bed mattress (kept my camera bag, wallet, and other valuables there).  The bunk had a shoe ledge, and an outlet so that I can charge my gadgets.  They had wifi too! :) (A great deal... mental note for future Cebu trips... But no, my phone then was still toooo old-fashioned LOL)
My bed for the night

I did not get to take a pic of the common bath, but it was clean, it had separate cubicles & shower rooms.  And I, for one, am very particular about bathrooms.  I can sleep anywhere. I just need a nice, clean bathroom.

Sugbutel apparently was located near the Reclamation Area and the Port and near SM City.  It's clean, affordable, and modern. Thumbs up!

We left Sugbutel around 10am the next day, refreshed even after only a few hours sleep. For lunch (see common conversation above)... we decided to head to SM City, which was so near Sugbutel.  Dennis had his Sodexho thingie, which we could use at the supermarket :)

We discovered the SM Travelers' Lounge, had our caffeine fix at Coffee Dream right beside the reception area, and made "uzi" their amenities.  For travelers like us, we highly highly appreciate the amenities! The group and I were even discussing... Baket walang ganito sa Manila?  Baket hindi na lang Cebu ang capital ng Philippines? LOL.
My usual Latte.

The SM Travelers' Lounge is a one-stop shop perfect for backpackers, transients, and tourists.  They have baggage storage (very important for Go-Lite travelers like us! Php 30 for half compartment, Php 50 for. the whole compartment - which fits all 4 of our packs! At 50 bucks!), shower rooms (at Php 50/20 min shower with hot water!), ferry ticket sales, flight and bus trip information, hotel booking and reservation, battery charging stations (cellphone battery charging is P25 / hour; Laptop, PS2, I-pod and other gadgets - Php 50 / hour), pay phones, electronic loading services, and since it's SM, free wi-fi.  The manong guard even helps you hail a taxi to get you to your next destination.


Before we embarked on our Malapascua adventure (yes, we finally decided after so many discussions... to just do Malapascua on this trip, and scrap Moalboal & Camotes), we had a quick lunch at the supermarket area, and of course dessert after.
Lunch c/o SM Supermarket - the rotisserie chicken :-P
Gelatissimo at SM! :-9
So many choices... so little space... (in my tummy that is)
We saw a few kids practicing for Linggo ng Wika

The North Bus Terminal is just a few blocks away from SM, and we wanted to be nice and full before the 4-5 hour trip.

More about our Malapascua adventure here :)