Finally, I was able to set foot on the gorgeous Malapascua Island! The Philippines – Cebu in particular – has numerous beaches that can be reached in just a few hours’ time: to the popular ones like Bantayan Island and Camiguin to the lesser known ones like Oslob and Kalanggaman Island. Makes you feel glad you live in a paradise on earth, noh?
I’ve always wanted to go to Malapascua, though I always say this to any travel destination that I go to. Simply because I want to go anywhere and everywhere as much as possible! If only work wasn’t such a party pooper. Kidding! I always remind myself that work is there as a means for me to go on vacation, amongst other purposes. O di ba biglang kabig.
I was kinda hesitant in booking my trip because I was afraid that there might be too much people during the long weekend. But I told myself: (i) I must grab this opportunity of a long weekend since in my work, we only have 10 holidays, (ii) my flight schedule is in the wee hours of the morning and late at night, thus, hopefully dodging the surge of passengers, (iii) overall estimated cost was really, really cheap and (iv) screw it, I’ll just wing it and make the most of my trip – c’est la vie! News broke that the ASEAN Summit was being held on those dates, meaning travelers should expect the worse of the worse. Why on earth they would schedule a huge event on a long weekend is beyond me.
Anyway, I tried dragging some friends with me – some tried to drag me into their own different beach plans – but in the end, I’m quite glad I’m doing this solo trip. It’s been a while since my last solo trip (and my first, at that). Beaches will always be a great idea for soloing because only then can you truly relax and call yourself a ‘beach bum.’
Basically, arrived at Mactan airport at around 7:30am and took a Grab Taxi going to Northern Cebu Bus Terminal (P168 taxi fare). Was elated that there wasn’t a surge of vacationers at the terminal. Rode the aircon bus going to Maya Port (P200). I suggest you take the aircon bus since the trip took me 5 hours, along with stop overs, though generally it was a fairly easy ride. On one of our stopovers, I quickly devoured the best isaw bbq and puso (hanging rice) I’ve tasted for P38 as my second breakfast/light lunch. Chos.
It’s funny because along the way, you’d go up and down hills and through valleys and you’d think that you are nowhere near the beach then you’d catch a glimpse of the sea and think, ‘hey, we’re near!’ but then it would still take another few hours before you actually get to the port. Haha!
By 2pm, arrived at Maya where the bus will directly let you down at the new port (last stop). Paid P100 for the boat ride and after a few minutes of waiting, we – meaning mostly white-skinned tourists – were on our way to Malapascua Island. The boat ride took about 30 minutes.
Then finally – bounty beach!
I booked with Thresher Cove Dive Resort because I only needed basic accommodation (read: a place to sleep at night) so I didn’t need a fancy hotel. I was pleasantly surprised when I read that the resort offered complimentary transfers from the port and back. I emailed them and they instructed me to contact them 15 minutes upon arriving. I did and a motor bike whisked me away. Oh, the start of my beach life!
And beach life it is. I stayed at a tiny nipa hut (P1143 for 2 nights) with the bare necessities: a bed, a fan and a table. I loved it! Brought me back to my roots of staying in the farm with my lola and sleeping in their bahay kubo. Kidding. We didn’t have a farm. It has been years since I last saw and used a kulambo, though during my stay there weren’t any mosquitos or bugs. So old school! Love it! Right at my doorstep is the sand and sea. Just like any backpacker inn, toilet and shower is separate. In hindsight, this really wasn’t the most secure place I’ve stayed at and I probably should’ve worried, especially with recent reports of kidnapping in the Visayas area, including Cebu. Oh well. I’m here, aren’t I?
Now that I’ve stayed at Thresher Cove, I do highly recommend it. It is value for money because really, you get your ‘own beach’. Reception staff are nice, particularly Christine who I contacted prior to arriving. They quickly showed me to my room and offered welcome Sunkist orange juice. They are the only resort with a swimming pool, property is huge, there’s a mini-gym, toilets are clean, and wifi is available in the common areas.
For my room, it’s right on the beach, meaning every morning when I wake up, the beach and its waves are the first thing I see. Imma call it ‘my beach.’
There were enough trees on ‘my beach’ to provide shade, there were two swings for our use and lots of lounge chairs for chilling. Yep, that second photo below is my view from my room. Nice, right? Only negative thing for some people would be is you need to ride a motorbike going to the outside restaurants and to bounty beach. You could walk, like what most foreigners do, but it’ll take you some time. Honestly, I didn’t mind paying the P20 fee per ride.
I was really happy that there weren’t a lot of tourists and when I say that, I mean that I could walk around the resort and the beach and hardly bump into anyone. The minute I got to the resort, changed into swimwear and lounged by ‘my beach.’
My arsenal for the weekend: books. I wanted easy reads and so I grabbed the Lakompake book by Senyora (because she’s hilarious online) and found a gem at the second hand book shop in the form of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (because I loved the movie version of this! British humour is the best!)
Around 3:30pm, I got hungry and decided to have an early dinner (also because I didn’t want to go out anymore at night and compete with other diners). Outside of the resort are motorbike drivers just waiting. I asked one of them to take me to any carinderia which sells grilled food because for me beach and grilled food always, always go together. He took me to what they call ‘merkato,’ or the market place. Ordered at the Harly Jean Store for some grilled chicken breast (P100) and grilled vegetables (P50) plus avocado shake (P50) at the next door stall.
While waiting, made some furry friends. Food is pretty good, like I don’t mind eating there again. I really loved the grilled eggplant, tomatoes and onion.
Went back to the resort via motor. Tip: make sure you get the driver’s cellphone number so it would be easier for you to go to wherever. Though motors typically roam all throughout the island, best to have a few of the drivers’ contact details just in case. Here are the ones I have: Mac-mac (0997 589 3379), JR (0997 480 7582), and Caloy (0906 677 0870).
Spent the rest of the afternoon and night just lounging at the beach, reading and swinging, chilling at the common area, watching the sunset then binge watching my favorite Netflix shows.