Malapascua Island means "Unfortunate Christmas" and is located only 8 km off the north coast of Cebu and 25 km. west of Leyte. Malapascua Diving offers a huge variety of sites from reefs to wrecks.
Malapascua has a blindingly white bounty beach, which is one of the best in the Philippines. Its a paradise where time stands still, leaving you breathless as soon you step into this "pacific island dream".
Malapascua's exceptional long white beach stretchs out around the south-east coast of the island facing Cebu, Leyte and Biliran with its volcanic landscape.
The other side of the Island has a more panoramic rocky coastline and is an attractive alternative for the ever-popular white beach.
Malapascua also called Logon.
Diving Sites in Malapascua
“North Point” is used as the house reef and it takes a short boat ride. The rock formation and small canyons on the northern part of Malapascua are covered with beautiful hard and soft corals.
A wide variety of reef fish, different kinds of rays, nudibranchs, cuttlefish, shell can be found here as well as huge crabs.
This place is also known for its beautiful night dive possibilities (max depth 69ft/23m.
The name of the Island was derived from the Spanish term “Gato” meaning cat because the Island is shaped like a sitting cat.
Gato Island is a protected marine sanctuary. It has become famous as a breeding place for the "black & white banded" sea snakes and also for his sleeping sharks.
The Island has spectacular caves & rock formations, and steep walls and rocks are covered by beautifully coloured gorgonian sea fans.
On the different dive spots around the Island you can find lots of nudibranchs as well as sea horses, shells, shrimps, sea snakes, scorpion fish, frogfish, big cuttlefish, stingrays, whitetip sharks, reef sharks, bamboo sharks, schools of squids, tuna and snappers. It is an underwater haven for macro photographers.
Besides 3 underwater caves there is a tunnel system, which runs under the northern part of the Island starting at 15ft/5m with a large exit at 42ft/14m. The tunnel contains all kinds of interesting sea life like lobsters, crabs and even sleeping whitetips.
Only the more experienced divers can enter the tunnel and a torch is always needed (max depth 81ft/27m with an average depth 48ft/16m).
This dive spot is big sunken Island rising up from the ocean floor. The flat reef top is around 45ft/15m and the steep drop off is going down to approximately 600ft/200m. It has spectacular overhangs and walls, disappearing into the endless deep blue ocean.
Big schools of tuna, jacks and barracudas can be seen here. Sharks are common in this area and more occasionally even hammerheads.
Visibility can reach up to 100ft/30m. But one of the real special events in this area is the close encounter with the breathtaking THRESHER SHARKS that circle in front of you acting like cats with their long tails waving around.
Other highlights are the Manta Rays you can see from May until January. Another comparable shoal South of Monad although much smaller is Kimot.
On your way to this real little bounty Island the boat is often escorted by shoals of dolphins. It is a little paradise Island with only few inhabitants, which makes a perfect stop between two dives. It is also a perfect place for non-divers who can just stroll around, explore or sunbathe.
Apart from this Island there are two nearby shoals with similar profiles: Ormoc and Nunez Shoal. All sites have shallow reef tops at 30ft/10m leading to drop-off, descending to more than 600ft/200m, caves and overhangs with nice sponges, corals and gorgonians all varieties of reef fish, eagle rays, sharks and occasional turtle.
Visibility can reach 100ft/30m.
DONA MARILYN WRECK
This is a big Manila/Cebu ferry that went down 1984 in a typhoon and is known as " The most beautiful wreck in the Visayas".
The area is around 300ft/100m long ferry, lying on its portside and it can be entered safe in some areas.
The wreck is partly overgrown with hard and beautiful colored soft corals.
Scorpionfish, Lionfish and other tropical fish find already a place here. Big black spotted stingrays are usually around.
The stern is bottoming at around 48ft/16m (max depth 105ft/35m).
DON MACARIO WRECK
A 90ft/30m long cargo vessel that was sunk by a typhoon. Now it is resting upside down with corals growing on and around it.
The vessel is a good wreck for novices.
Points of interest are angel and butterfly fish, nudibranchs, scorpionfish, sea snakes etc. (max depth 57ft/19m)
A little rocky island between Malapascua and the north point of Cebu mainland.
Along its gently sloping sides you can find coral heads and beautiful soft corals.
There are many small reef fish and occasionally eagle rays (max depth 54ft/18m).
TAPILON JAPANESE WRECK
This is a heavily torpedoed World War II Cargo vessel broken into 3 major pieces and is resting in a depth between 60ft/20m to 90ft/30m with lots of wreck debris scattered all around.
It is possible to see tiles on the wreck wall, steel cable, ladders and more, also lot of moray eels, scorpion fish, flatworms and occasional huge frogfish.
PIONEER JAPANESE WRECK
This is a surprisingly intact Japanese World War II vessel about 180ft/60m long is standing up right with the bow bottoming at 162ft/54m and the stern bottoming at around 120ft/40m.
The wreck is overgrown with beautiful corals and even the propeller and anchors are still there. The wreck has an excellent fish life; massive scorpionfish, eagle rays, large groupers and shoals of barracuda, tuna and snappers are found it.
This is a very spooky but excellent wreck dive and strictly limited to experienced and qualified divers only.
A real frontiers dive destination to the reefs around this beautiful volcanic island.
This dive trip is offered as a little overnight safari. The dive offers very good corals and all kinds of reef fish. On the coral rubble sloping, blacktip, reef sharks are common.
An occasional manta and eagle rays are present. Dolphins are also around this island.
This six-hectare low, flat coralline islet, which is located between Cebu and Leyte.
The Islet offers excellent opportunities especially at the deeper portions for it exhibits a dense population of pelagic such as jacks and tuna. A rare black coral formation is also present.
Day tours from Cebu City take visitors through the heart of the city to visit the Magellan’s Cross, which the explorer planted on Mactan Island in 1521.
Nearby is the Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino, where the visitors find the country’s oldest image of the Child Jesus.
Fort San Pedro, designed by the colonizing Spaniards as a fortress against pirates, now houses well-manicured gardens and is open to the public.
Visit the Casa Gorordo Museum for a glimpse at life during the Spanish Colonial era, the Taoist Temple with its ornate décor, and the University of San Carlos, the oldest University in the Visayas.
The vacation will be incomplete without a view of the areas numerous tropical islets and sun-kissed white sand beaches.
Swim in the beaches of Argao, Oslob and Carmen.
Explore the caves and lagoons of Calanggaman and Gato Islands.
The possibilities are endless.
Getting to Malapascua Island
You can get there with buses like “Cebu Autobus”, D´Rough Riders”, “Air-Con” from Cebu to Maya. D´Rough Riders”, “Air-Con” buses leave from Cebu City´s Northern bus terminal for Maya at 5 and 6 am (Peso 65; 3 1/2 to 4 hours).
If possible take a direct bus to Maya, because buses that make a detour to Hagnaya allow for 30 minutes extra. The last D´Rough Riders and Cebu Autobus ordinary leave at noon (4 1/2 hours).
If you want to, you can take a taxi or a private car or van from Cebu to Maya, for about P2500-4000. May be its more relaxing than riding a bus with 3-4 hours sitting in those awful small seats with no space for your feet.
Visitors must endure a dusty, bumpy three-hour bus ride from Cebu City to Maya, followed by a 45-minute banca trip.
Cebu City lies 365 miles south of Manila. It is an international destination with daily flights from Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
Cebu is also only an hour’s flight from Manila, and is an ideal jump-off point for the other destinations in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Philippine Dept. of Tourism
Wikipedia and Wikitravel
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