After 18 hours of flying time from Toronto to Manila, we hop aboard another plane to Cebu, the heart of the Visayas. For the traveler looking for a getaway complete with beaches, diving, boat trips and endless sunsets, this is the place to head to. As the second largest city in the Philippines, Cebu acts as a central hub with flights in and out to neighbouring cities as well as a major ferry terminal with passenger transport to close by islands.
Most flights out of Toronto and Vancouver will arrive early in the morning, allowing you a full day to reach your first and/or final destination in the Philippines. With over 7100 islands to choose from, there is something for everyone. The only downside is that often multiple modes of transport are needed to arrive at your slice of paradise.
Buses heading north and south of Cebu are a short taxi ride from the airport, and after another four hours by bus (air conditioned thankfully) we arrive at Malapascua Island, just off the tip of Cebu. A small island with no cars is reached by ferry and with no dock yet built on the island, this leaves you to hop into the water and wade the final distance to shore.
Resorts and dive shops line the beach. Accommodation is a bit pricier than other parts of the Philippines as the island electricity is generator run. A good recommendation just off the beach front is Sun Splash Resort. With big spacious rooms from 1000 Php plus electricity ($25 CAD)– meaning the more you use, the more you pay. However with fan only and lights on in the evening time, our electricity bill for the two night stay was an extra 60 Php or $1.50 CAD. Rates listed are for low season.
Strolling the main strip from end to end will take about 15 minutes total. While there are some other walks around the island, the main draw to Malapascua is for some serious R&R.
For the divers out there – you’ll be getting up around 4 am to dive with the Thresher sharks. These docile creatures can be seen at dawn each day at Monad Shoal, about 30 minutes off the coast of the island. Worth every penny and the early morning start to see these sharks – about 3-5 meters in length swim by you.
Nothing moves very quickly on the island, so use this place as a spot to unwind and relax. While there is wi-fi almost everywhere, it’s spotty and dial-up slow at best. Just another reason check out completely.