Where We Stayed
Malapascua Legend Villas. Since I was the only diver in the group, and my friends were there to just snorkel, we chose a place that had a pool so we could just relax in it when the beach became too hot to swim in. We reserved a “native room” via TravelBook.ph during one of their 20% off promos. Initially, there was a problem in the booking system between Travelbook.ph and Malapascua Legend Villas, and we stood to be booted out the next day even if we were paid. Finally, though, they were able to find a way to make it work. We were even luckier that they upgraded us to their deluxe room that usually costs Php3500 for two plus Php500 for every additional guest. The room was very spacious. It had 1 king size bed and 1 twin bed, just perfect for 4 people, yet still with ample space to move around. It had a balcony overlooking the huge swimming pool.
The swimming pool was large; it was spacious enough to accommodate most of the guests. There were sun lounges by the side, and a mini bar by the edge, though it didn’t seem to function at that time. During the day, the pool doubles as a venue for scuba diving lessons. The room came with breakfast, a choice between Filipino, Continental, or pancakes. Depending on the volume of people, it could sometimes be a la carte or buffet. They had a decent selection of meals. In the evenings, an acoustic singer provided entertainment. In terms of service, the staff was very accommodating. Towels were not replenished automatically though, so we had to keep asking them to do so every day.
All in all, I think it was a good value for money. Malapascua Legend Resort has something for everyone and is very family friendly. Malapascua Legend Villas Email: email@example.com Or firstname.lastname@example.org Or call +639308888889
Things to Do
Happy Hour in Ocean Vida Happy hour is from 4 to 6pm. They put bean bags for that cozy sunset feel. We spent every afternoon there. My favorite was the Mango Daiquiri, Php150 for 2 drinks. Our server, Kuya Ram (who introduced himself as Kuya Shining Star), was very attentive. The atmosphere at Ocean Vida encourages you to mingle with other people, yet it also offers private cozy places, in case you want to keep to yourself. The ambiance is very laid back; you see a lot of people sunbathing, reading, or sleeping. Here, we met cool friends like Sarah and Dirk, who were with us in most of our island hopping and diving trips. There are lots of snorkeling places around Malapascua. For the non-divers, this could be a good way to explore the island. For island-hopping, you may haggle with the local boatmen. There are many coves worth visiting. Some of these are Coral Garden, WWII Shipwreck, Dakit- Dakit and Bantique Cove. You may also ask your boatman-cum-local guide to pass by the place where you can do a 50ft cliff dive. Rent a boat, Island Hop, and Explore Go Diving The thresher shark dive in Monad Shoal was worth the early morning start. It’s a 30 m dive and they usually have it between 5 to 7 am. Since I had no license for advanced waters, I availed of the deep dive adventure. I was initially hesitant because of the price and I mulled over it; but they said it was worth it, so I went for it. I felt very safe diving with Kuya Tata (dive master from Ocean Vida); he took real good care of me. Before descending deeper, he gave me a math question to answer and he timed it to check if I was affected by nitrox. The dive site was equipped with a line, and crossing over it meant a penalty. It was a good view deck to observe from, without disturbing the sharks. This was very different from my experience of cage diving with the great white sharks in South Africa; this one had no cages, and we were watching the sharks in their natural habitat. This was the natural cleaning station of thresher sharks, thus making it the only place in the world where they are seen regularly, just before sunrise. Occasionally, you see manta rays as well. The experience of seeing a shark close range without being in a cage initially scared me, but then I realized that as long as you stay out of their path, they won’t harm you. Prior to getting into the water, I told my dive master, “make sure you bring me up in one piece”. Now that I’ve done it, I guess I will always be hungry for more shark sightings. It’s very different seeing them in their natural habitat compared to the monsters movies portray them to be. ” Do one thing that scares you everyday” this was mine, for that day. Well, its good I went for it, now I am just hungry for more.
Visit Kalanggaman Island ( Calanggaman)
We were supposed to take a public boat to Kalanggaman, but we later opted to join a dive tour via Ocean Vida. Although a bit more expensive, we had a bigger boat and we got there faster. They go for 2 dives, but since it was quite pricey, I opted to do just one. This proved to be a good choice as it left me with ample time to explore the island itself.
Kalanggaman is often mentioned as one of the unspoiled beaches in the Philippines; it is usually reached by a 90-minute boat ride from Leyte. In this case, our dive-boat trip originating from Malapascua took us only 70minutes.
As were approached Kalanggaman, we couldn’t help but stand in awe of the long stretch of white sand embraced by clear turquoise waters. Kalanggaman is an island surrounded by water, one side of it was good for snorkeling, and the other side for swimming. You could also rent huts, but in our case, we set shade under the trees.
While there, we were thankful we visited the place. I was lucky because I was able to experience the beauty of Kalanggaman both from above water and into what lies under. While scuba diving in Kalanggaman Islands, I was in luck for good visibility, so I even got to see a pygmy seahorse. There was a variety of things to see underneath, hence making the trip extra worth it.
Catch the sunset
The food in Malapascua is mostly European-Inspired. There are few places with good ambiance but in general, the food is too pricey for its quality. Food wasn’t bad, but for its price, you tend to expect more.
Few of those we liked are the risotto at Angeline’s Seafood , and the gyro at Hippocampus. Both though, were still pricey.
Chill and Meet People
On our last day, we decided to enjoy our villa. We mingled with other people, learned about different cultures and languages, had beer, and simply had fun.
In general, Malapascua is an expensive destination; the only thing that seems cheap is the happy hour J. Per dive, you spend a minimum of Php2500-3000, depending on your destination. However, for the experience you see while diving, it is definitely worth the visit. If and when I am able to get my certification for the advanced level, I would like to go back for deeper dives, and/or maybe a night dive. For now, I am happy to have experienced Malapascua. It is definitely a place to visit for dive enthusiasts.
When all is said and done, the last thing to do, GO BACK HOME TO THE CITY
The travel fom Malapascua back to the city is another adventure in itself.
If you want to be picked up at the beachfront itself in order for a transfer to the pier, you have to haggle with the boatmen. A banca trip to Maya Pier will set you back by around Php1100-1300. We weren’t willing to do that since we were only two remaining by then, plus we had time to spare.
The first public boat leaving the island was at 6:30 am, followed by other trips at 8am, 11 am and 1pm. As we had to travel to the Danao port for our supposed trip to Camotes, we had to take the 6:30 am boat out. We started by riding a motorbike from our hotel to the pier for Php15. In order to get to the bigger boat, we had to ride a smaller banca next, for Php20. It is only a 5-minute ride in the shallow portion of the sea, but they do it so as not to get you wet, and to shuttle your things as well. The public boat cost us Php 100 for a 45-minute boat ride from Malapascua to Maya pier.
All in all, we spent only Php 135 (15 + 20 +100) each, instead of Php 1100-1300 (to be split only by two persons) had we chosen to take the easy way out.
Once at Maya pier, we rode a bus bound for the city. That day, only a non-aircon bus was available, thus, stopping every now and then to drop off and/or pick up more passengers. The trip took a really long time; we got to the city past lunch time. It was such a hot, long, crowded ride back that once we got to the city, the first thing we wanted to do was take a shower.
Despite the odds, it was still worth it to go to Malapscua.