Malapascua Island in a Nutshell
Malapascua Island is one of the few places in the world where divers have a great chance to see Thresher Sharks up close every morning when they come to get cleaned.
Intro To Malapascua Island
Malapascua Island is located on the northermost tip of Cebu Island in the Visayan Sea in the Philippines.
Malapascua's main attraction is the daily parade of thresher sharks that come up to Monad Shoal to get clean at dawn.
Although most divers come to Malapascua Island to get close to thresher sharks, there is also great reef and macro diving all around the island with nightly sighings of mandarinfish and lots of macro subjects like pygmy seahorses and blue ring octopus.
Overview of areas and best dive sites
The most famous dive site at malapascua Island, boats leave Malapascua Island just before the break of dawn for the sunken island of Monad Shoal. Thresher Sharks hunt deep in the ocean most of the day but come up to the top of Monad Shoal at 90 feet to get cleaned by cleaning wrasse every morning. Manta rays and devil rays are also regularly spotted and sometimes hammerheads can be seen during the months of January to April.
Aptly names as it is close to the lighthouse, this is where divers comes every day right before sunset in anticipation of the mandarinfish mating dance. Seahorses, squid and poepfish are also often seen here.
A little longer of a boat ride brings you to Gato Island, where the reef is prsitine and chances of seeing pygmy seahorses are very good. White tip reef sharks, blue ring octopus are also often sighed by divers.
Malapascua Island Marine Life & Photography Subjects
Although thresher sharks is the main event in Malapascua Island, don't forget to bring your macro lens as there are pygmy seahorses, ghost pipefish, blue ringed octopus, frogfish and other great macro subjects at the many dive sites around malapascua island.
Practice your ambient low light photogrpahy as all the dive operators do not allow the use of strobes while shooting thresher sharks, manta rays and devil rays at Monad Shoal.
Best Time To Dive Malapascua island
Diving in Malapascua Island is good all year round. The rainy season is mild and runs from July to December.
Malapascua Water Temperatures
Water temp drops to 78 degrees in January and rises to above 85 degrees in May.
Malapascua Underwater Visibility
Visibility is typically good in the 60 - 80ft range.
Malapascua Island is about a 2.5 hour transfer by car from Cebu City to Maya and a 30 minute boat transfer from Maya to Malapasua Island.
Cebu City can be easily reached via an hour flight from Manila or other cities in Southeast Asia.
Options for combination trips
South of Cebu Island are the dive destinations of Dumaguete and Apo Island, where divers can combine thresher sharks and whale sharks on the same trip.
Malapascua Island is relatively limited in terms of non-dive activities. There are restaurants and bars all along the beach in the area. 4 dives a day and three meals is a full schedule, especially as an underwater photographer maintaining a camera rig. Bring a book, talk to new friends and take in the amazing sunsets on the days you're not night diving.