Pint-sized and utterly idyllic, Malapascua Island is a Filipino paradise. It’s home to the archipelago’s legendary thresher sharks, with scuba enthusiasts flocking from across the globe to dive with the gentle giants. As well as getting up close and personal with sharks, Malapascua enchants with its warm tropical waters, beautiful coral gardens, colourful underwater plateaus and world class dive sites like Monad Shoal.
On dry land, Malapascua’s white sandy beaches fringed by swaying palm trees are postcard perfect. For those simply wanting to soak up the Filipino sunshine, a few days on Malapascua Island is a fabulous way to kill time. There’s accommodation to suit every budget, from charming beachside bungalows to luxe resorts.
Malapascua Island sits seven kilometres off the northern tip of Cebu. Most visitors take a private or public boat from Maya port, which crosses the shallow strait to Malapascua Island in around 30 minutes. There are no roads or cars on Malapascua’s main beach strip, which gives it a wonderfully shipwrecked feel. For those wanting to explore the rest of the island, renting a motorbike is a great way to get around.
Like the rest of the Philippines, Malapascua Island takes its religious roots to heart. Locals believe that in 1890, the Virgen de los Desamparados made a miracle by creating a piece of wood that had never burnt. There’s now a chapel dedicated to her legacy, with pilgrims flocking to the island in May to celebrate her feast days.