About two months ago, I received a very special invitation from my good friends Cring2x and Dante. After years of dating, they were finally getting married. The wedding was going to be in Medellin, and they asked me if I could come. I promised that I wouldn’t miss it. Especially since I also had other interesting plans in mind. Hehe.
A couple of days before the wedding, I came up with a pretty solid plan. Since the wedding was going to be on a Monday, I thought that I could travel to Medellin a day before so I could relax and visit some interesting spots in the area. I could just get a room in some cheap road-side inns somewhere in Bogo and I could travel back to Cebu City the next day right after the wedding.
I left the city on March 22 at around 8 am. The drive to the northern tip of Cebu takes around 4 to 5 hours. Adding 1 to 2 hours for stops and meal breaks, I estimated that I’d be in Medellin by 3 pm. Not bad.
Now, it is important to note that I didn’t originally think about going to the island of Malapascua. My plan was to roam around the City of Bogo, probably find a room there, and travel early the following morning to Medellin for the ceremony. I was already probably in Catmon when the idea suddenly formed in my head. Well, blame it on a poster I saw along the road showcasing this nice little resort in Malapascua.
After numerous stops (Sogod, Lugo, Ilihan) I reached the city of Bogo a few minutes after 1 pm. I had a quick lunch at Gaisano Bogo before roaming around the city to look for a good inn. My plan was to get a room, leave my heavy things there and travel to Malapascua with only a small side bag. It was going to be a quick visit, anyways.
Fortunately, the first inn that I visited was fully booked. So, I decided to stop looking for accommodation in Bogo and proceed instead to Malapascua (with all my things.) And this proved to be a very wise decision. Will tell you later.
After almost getting lost, I finally reached the wharf in Maya, Daanbantayan just a few minutes before 3 pm. The damages caused by the supertyphoon are still pretty visible in Maya. Some sea-side houses remain roofless while some structures have been left to rot.
I noticed a few vehicles parked right in front of an abandoned house. The vehicles looked like they were all from Cebu City, so I also parked my bike there.
I asked one young man in a waiting shed if he could tell me which boat I should take. He asked if I was going to Malapascua. When I said yes, he said that he too was going to the island. “That one is leaving in a few minutes,” he said, referring to the orange boat. He offered me a seat next to him and explained why he still wasn’t on the boat. “The porters are still loading some stuff. And it’s hot there,” he said.
I asked him if I could still take a boat back after one or two hours in Malapascua. He informed me that this was actually the very last trip. And that if I decide to get on the boat, I’d have to stay on the island for the night. He added, however, that I didn’t have to worry about accommodation since I could easily find a room there for Php 500 or less.
“Are you traveling for leisure?” I asked. “Nope,” he answered. He tapped the wall fan he was carrying. “Balikbayan from Cebu,” he smiled.
Ten minutes later, we were both on the boat.
“Were we on the same bus?” he asked.
“I actually rode my bike. It’s parked right there,” I answered.
He said that although Maya is pretty safe, it would be wiser to park my bike behind this old house near the bus stop. So, I followed his advise and moved my bike behind the old house at the eastern end of the wharf. And true enough, there were several motorbikes already parked there. The man in charge assured me that the bikes are safe there and that he’d personally make sure that my bike is safe and in one piece when I return the next day. Cool! After a quick chitchat with the nice man, I hurried back to the boat. Five minutes later, the boat left the wharf for the island of Malapascua.
Foreign tourists enjoying the boat ride to the island.
The 20-minute boat ride (Php80) gave me and my new friend a chance to chat. I learned that his name was Mac-Mac and that he works as a welder in Mambaling. It’s been almost a year since his last visit and he’s bringing home a wall fan because it was what his mom wanted for pasalubong. Our chat was interrupted by a call from his mom (who happens to work in a small lodging in Malapascua.) He told his mom about me and asked her to get me a room for one night. My room was booked even before I could reach the island. Awesomesauce!
Now, focus on the water. Gorgeous, right?
The boat couldn’t reach the beach so we had to transfer to a small row boat (Php 20 each.) By the way, that’s Mac-Mac with his wall fan.
Our big boat as we rowed towards the beach.
When we reached the beach, Mac-Mac told me to check out the local church. He said that it’s usually his very first stop when he comes home.
Mac-Mac lead me to the lodging house which was around 100 meters from the beach. I didn’t mind the distance at all. I wanted my stay to be as ‘natural’ as possible. Hehe.
At the lodging house, Mac-Mac was welcomed by his parents and members of the staff. While he was busy chatting with all of them, the lady in charge lead me to my room. That was the last time that I saw Mac-Mac.
My room had a double bed, a bathroom, and a small bamboo bed. There was no A/C but they gave me a pretty powerful stand fan.
I realized that I got the last remaining room and that without Mac-Mac’s help, finding a room would’ve been difficult. All the other rooms were already occupied by foreign tourists.
It was a very long drive. So, naturally, I was in dreamland in minutes. I only woke up a couple of minutes before five. I went straight to the beach to take a couple of photos.
The tide was low so I got a chance to check out the mudflats.
Local kids looking for crabs and clams.
This little girl prefers to work alone.
The western end of the island is pretty rocky.
Non-locals enjoy clam-hunting, too!
Restaurant on a rock. From the looks of it, this restaurant is pretty high-end. So I didn’t bother looking at their menu. Haha.
That evening, I went to a different restaurant on the beach. It was called Kokay’s Maldito Beach Resort. The food, as expected, was very expensive. But, what the hey! This doesn’t happen everyday. So, why not? Haha.
I got chicken-pork adobo (which was really good) which was served on a gigantic plate almost as big as the place mat. And of course, I got banana split. Just because. Haha.
On my way back to my room, I noticed several bbq joints (not the expensive kind) were swarming with foreign diners. They were eating hotdogs, and tinae (chicken intestines,) and adidas (chicken feet.) I suddenly felt bad about spending more than Php 500 on one meal. Hehe.
The following morning, I got up really early for a nice early-morning swim. But lo and behold, the tide was once again way too low. So, I just sat on the beach and just enjoyed the sights and sounds of ‘barely awake Malapascua.’
A father and his son selling fresh prawns to some local restaurants.
This cool guy is doing yoga in the shade.
What a pretty sight.
I also decided to get to know the island a bit. I walked the small alleys and walkways and got lost a couple of times. Malapascua is a pretty small island. And the population is pretty huge. So, don’t expect super wide beaches, wide roads, and spotless community planning. In fact, much like most Philippine cities, Malapascua is cramped and you see houses in almost all directions. But I guess that’s part of the beauty of Malapascua. It’s a fishing community before all the tourists arrived, afterall. But it’s pretty obvious that the tourists love the island. Based on what I saw, I think it’s safe to say that there’s one tourist for every 3 or 4 locals in Malapascua.
I reached the other side of the island. The sand here is not as fine and the beach is more rocky. However, it is pretty clear that this side is a little more quiet and more exclusive.
After dropping by a restaurant for breakfast, I went back to my room to prepare my things. Cring2x texted me that the ceremony was going to be at 2:00 pm. So, I could leave the island after lunch.
When I returned to the beach, the water was already back. Thank goodness! And the sight was just gorgeous.
Locals no longer minding the foreign tourists.
Of course, I wouldn’t leave Malapascua without a quick dip.
I could get used to this.
Definitely looks much prettier.
Kokay’s Maldito Resort. The front area turns into one outdoor restaurant at night.
After swimming, I went back to my room to rest until it was time to check out. And that’s when I read Cring’s text message that the ceremony was moved to 11:30 am. Oh no! It was already 10:30!
So I hurriedly packed my bag, checked out, and got a boat ticket.
I was hoping I’d see Mac-Mac so I could give him an extra restaurant gift certificate (that I had in my bag) to thank him for all his help. However, he wasn’t around when I checked out.
The small boat which will take us to the bigger boat which will take us to Maya.
Unfortunately, the boat didn’t leave on time due to some engine trouble. We were only able to leave Malapascua at exactly 11 am.
We reached Maya, Daanbantayan 20 minutes later. Notice all the rocks and damaged houses?
After paying Php50 for my bike (the nice dude did keep his promise, yahoo!) I was on my way to Medellin.
By the way, Medellin is beautiful!
Yep, you guessed it. I missed the wedding ceremony. Tsk. But, hey! I didn’t miss the party! Haha.
Sorry if I missed the ceremony Cring and Dante. Congratulations! 🙂
Impromptu shoot with the newly-weds.
Best wishes, you guys! We are all so happy for you! 🙂
What an awesome trip. Met new friends, saw two old ones celebrating true love, and experienced one of Cebu’s most beautiful gems. Definitely one for the books, wouldn’t you say?
Break it down, yo!
Breakfast – 70
Cebu – Daanbantayan (gas) – 150
Lunch – 100
Maya to Malapascua (boat) – 80
Rowboat transfer – 20
Accommodation – 500
Dinner – 550
Breakfast – 120
Rowboat transfer – 20
Malapascua to Maya (boat) – 80
Motorbike Parking – 50
Lunch – PARTY. Yahoo!
Medellin – Cebu – 150
Total – 1890
P.S. – If you know Mac-Mac, please tell him to contact me. He’s probably back in Cebu now. Tell him I’ll buy him siomai. Haha!