Malapascua, Cebu, Philippines
The beautiful island Malapascua is mainly famous for the reliable thresher sharks during the early morning dives. The sharks can be seen almost every day getting cleaned. However, the diving around has to offer much more like small stuff at diverse sites around the island or reachable during day trips.
What to see: Thresher sharks and macro; frogfish, bluering octopus, ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, sea snakes and mandarin fish mating (dusk dive), wrecks. A great overview over the dive sites can be found here.
Level: To see the sharks – advanced divers, open water certified divers have the possibility to do a “deep adventure” dive, for the other dive sites all levels are possible but many dive sites are deep and can have strong currents.
How to get there: Flight to Cebu, taxi (~ 3000 PHP, $ 60, 3 hours) or public bus from the North Bus Terminal (~ 180 PHP, $ 4, 4-6 hours) to Maya and ferry to Malapascua (~ 100 PHP, $ 2) or transfer organized by your dive shop (~ 4000 PHP, $ 85)
Two different buses drive up to the port in Maya, one with air-con and one without. I did hear rumors that the non-air-con bus is faster which I cannot confirm. Depending on the traffic and the number of people the journey can take anywhere between 4 and 6 hours. I would definitely recommend the air-con bus as my one trip in the other wasn’t too comfortable. Surprisingly some of the buses even offer WiFi which helps to kill the time.
The ferry leaves regularly (when full) during the day till mid afternoon. However, it is possible to take a private ferry for arrivals in the late afternoon; the costs are around 1500 PHP.
Water temperature: 25-30°C
Visitbility: 10-30 m
Season: All year round, rainy season from July to December
Price: 1400-1800 PHP ($ 30-40) per dive, getting cheaper with packages of more dives or with accommodation. There are around 16 dive shops in Malapascua.
My trip: I stayed on Malapascua for 2 ½ months doing a Dive Master Internship as well as the IDC with Thresher Shark Divers. The local dive masters working at this shop are all very experienced and really good spotters. The shop is run very professional, with good equipment, spacy boats and an excellent crew.