Malapascua Island | Daanbantayan, Cebu
From turquoise-hemmed shores & awesome underworld to powder-soft sands & razor-sharp cliffs, there’s just something wonderful about Malapascua Island that keeps us lust for more. I for one, couldn’t get enough of it — the medley of murmuring blues & greens against windswept coconut trees, the lazy strolls along its swathe of white sand beaches & the soul of beautiful nothingness all coming to you at once.
This tiny island off the northernmost coast of Daanbantayan in Cebu is no secret to beach lovers. It came to fame in the 90s as a premiere dive site. But back then, travels to the north was terribly long, the boat access to the island was difficult & there were only a few commercial facilities available.
Fast-forward to today, Malapascua Island is perhaps one of the most coveted beaches in the Philippines, and for good reasons: unspoiled beaches, fab resorts, soulful vibe, convenient access & modest amenities.
Malapascua Island: Find Your Holiday Spot
While famous as a dive island, Malapascua has something for every beach bum. It has a lot of pretty beaches — some fringing its seahorse-shaped island & others tucked in isolated coves. And if you can’t decide which one to bask on, just get a massage or burrow a beer on the sand. Or do both.
My recent trip to Malapascua Island wasn’t my first. But it felt like one after seeing all the developments. It’s easy to get lost now with so many things happening here & there. I combed the island on a motorbike & here are the spots that would make you file a longer vacation leave.
Bounty Beach is the face of the island — long white sand promenade punctuated by colorful beach umbrellas & soothing blue waters lazed by sailboats. This is the island’s Kilometer Zero to fun adventures on land, over water & under.
By night, Bounty Beach turns into a happening strip as cafes & restaurants bring life to a star-filled evening. The epicenter of fun is at Hippocampus Bar where good food, sure-slug booze & awesome crowd hole up in frenzy. Chill vibes spread from here: to the right is Ocean Vida & to the left are Legend & Exotic.
If Bounty Beach is empty, the tourists could either be out diving or they’re in Langob Beach in the northernmost part of the island. This postcard-worthy stretch of beach is a must-experience spot: long white sand shore matched by bright turquoise water & lots of quiet spaces to chill out over fresh coconut juice.
There’s an uphill trail at the rocky end of Langob Beach that leads to a hardly visited place called Bantigue Cove. A luxury resort hemmed by a sparkling cove once stood here but it was abandoned after typhoon Yolanda hit Malapascua Island in 2013. Atop the rocky outcrop is the best vantage point to marvel at the sweeping panorama as the island breeze rustles through the palms around.
Los Bamboos Beach
Los Bamboos is sort of Malapascua’s version of Nacpan Twin Beach in El Nido. Here, a short stretch of sand divides the sea: a white sand cove floored by smooth rocks on one side & a sandy but wilder beach on the other. Swimming may not be a good choice on either sides, but this place is OOTD-shot worthy.
Towards the end is a resort that faces Lapus-Lapus Island & has a rock jumping spot for those wanting to take their Malapascua experience to a thrilling level.
Lighthouse & Guimbitayan Beach
The lighthouse is one of the most imposing structures on Malapascua Island. Although lacking the dramatics of heritage beacons, it is compensated by lush greens that creep to the azure sea below. The beach called Guimbitayan is one of the best spots for picnic in the island. And there’s a shipwreck site offshore if you like to go under.
Fantastic Chow Spots
Just right at the back alleys of Bounty Beach is a row of restaurants that serve a hodgepodge of cuisines from around the world. But the most jampacked place is La Isla Bonita. Forget about the shebangs of gourmet presentations because here food is simple but real good.
There’s a lot to choose from along the frontbeach area. My top picks would be Hippocampus for beachside breakfast & Ocean Vida for pizza. Exotic or Evolution towards the far bend of the island are good choices too for quiet dinners.
Malapascua Island is a wonderland for divers because it is only here where you can see thresher sharks year-round. But it isn’t only it that you can spot here. Nearby islands & shoals around are teeming with manta rays, pigmy seahorses & rich coral life. Check out Devocean at Hippocampus Resort for 5-star diving experience.
Malapascua Island may not have the fancies of Boracay or the frenzy of El Nido. But just even so, it’s an idyllic island to enjoy lazy sunning, captivating views, sundowner cocktails & all that you can dream of a tropical holiday. It is what you see —- rustic but charming, quiet but not lonesome & graceful but fun.
Get the best of the island with a local tour guide.
Contact Bryan Monteclar at +63 9559640725