I enjoy solo travels. I’m pretty sure I’ve already established that little fact. But every once in a while, I do crave for company. I guess it’s human nature. There’s that unspoken need to have someone standing right next to you when something awful, or awesome, or unexpected, or stupid happens.
While I perform best when alone, I must say that I am also not that bad around strangers or when surrounded by a huge group. Of course, there’s the usual awkward first few minutes (or hours) following the introductions and greetings. But once everything is out there, once everything is less tense, I can be as loud and as open as I possibly can.
Last month, I was given a chance to travel once again to one of the most beautiful tourist spots in Cebu — the captivating island of Malapascua. This was a really great experience for me. Because this time, I didn’t travel alone. (Read about my solo trip to Malapascua last year HERE) This time, I allowed myself to be part of a group. This time, I ceased to be Ley and instead become just a face in the crowd. And because of this, I was able to see Malapascua from another angle, from a different perspective.
Read on to find out why I consider this trip one of my most favorite ones to date!
I arrived at Jollibee Highway a few minutes before 3 am. Call time was 2:30 but I thought that people would be late due to various reasons. When I got there, however, I found out that everyone was not only already there, they were also already inside the van. Every single one of them. Yikes!
The group left for Maya, Daanbantayan at exactly 3 in the morning. It was going to be a four-hour drive and according to our itinerary, we needed to be in Malapascua by 7 am.
We reached Maya, however, at around 5 am. Yes, I’m aware that I said it was a four-hour drive. But let’s just say that the ride was probably one of the scariest rides of my life. Haha!
Anyway, we reached Maya safely before daybreak so we had plenty of time to walk around and shake off all the dizziness and discomfort. We had to wait for at least 30 minutes for our boat, however, because (for a change,) we were waaay ahead of schedule. 🙂
Light creeping in. A wonderful day is about to begin.
View of Maya’s original wharf. A bigger and more modern wharf is currently being completed a few kilometers from the original one to complement the construction of a jetty in Malapascua.
Half an hour later, our boat arrived. It was a pretty huge motorized bangka with outriggers. We were excited so we didn’t mind the occasional swerves and bumps we felt during the crossing.
Another 30 minutes later, the beautiful island of Malapascua was finally within reach.
The gang arriving in the beautiful island of Malapascua.
At the beach, we were welcomed by our contact from Malapascua Budget Inn. After a quick 5-minute walk, we reached the modest but well-kept hostel. Malapascua Budget Inn is a hostel in Malapascua Island that caters to backpackers, budget travelers, and individuals who prefer adventure over luxury. It is run by the very amiable Mr. Jose “Jay-R” Amistoso.
Like most hostels in Malapascua, Malapascua Budget Inn has regular a/c rooms which can accommodate up to 4 individuals for only PhP 2,500. (PhP 2,000 for two people.)
These rooms are comfortably-sized, quiet, and clean.
However, one of the hostel’s biggest draws are its dorm rooms which could accommodate more than a dozen people.
Members of the gang in their dorm room bunks.
My sleeping space. Perfectly-sized with plenty of room for my bags and other belongings. While dorm rooms are definitely cheaper, I admit I always end up getting a regular room whenever I travel solo. This experience was pretty special because I discovered just how fun (and economical) traveling with a group can be.
A few moments later, our host informed us that breakfast was ready.
When we went to the common hall, we saw that it had transformed into a dining area complete with low tables and cushions. How cool!
So, what’s for breakfast? Of course, there’s the all-time favorite buwad.
We also had chorizo, hotdogs, and eggs. What a lovely way to start an exciting day!
After our hearty breakfast, it was time to roam around the island.
The very first thing that we noticed was the overwhelming number of foreign tourists. There was probably 1 Filipino tourist for every 10 foreign tourists.
Dinner with a view. I’d probably eat a ton.
Local kids. I saw them playing under a boat. When they noticed that I was taking photos, they readily smiled and posed.
The Malapascua Jetty. This jetty, which is currently being constructed, is a project of the Cebu Ports Authority. Once it is completed, visitors no longer have to take a small boat to get to the motorized boats.
A boat approaches the beach fronting one of Malapascua’s many resorts.
In Malapascua, it is pretty normal to see local kids with blue eyes and blonde hair. A lot of locals have married foreign visitors who, as a result, have decided to stay in the island for good.
Sheila and my good buddy Gian (of Adrenaline Romance,) Ian of Freedomwall, and Angel of Anjville pose for a quick shot at Malapascua’s Bounty Beach.
Amihan Restaurant. Amihan Restaurant is one of the many high-end restaurants in Malapascua. It is quite popular among tourists because it sits on one of the highest points near the Malapascua dock.
#SquadGoals in Malapascua. Haha!
The Malapascua jetty as seen from Amihan Restaurant.
After our short ‘photo walk,’ it was time to head back to the hostel to rest for a bit, grab some lunch, and prepare for a a ‘photo cruise’ in the afternoon.
After lunch, we were allowed to freely roam around and do whatever we wanted to do. I took this opportunity to get to know as many members as possible.
At around 3 pm, we headed to the beach and got on a boat for our Malapascua Sunset Cruise. Pretty exciting!
The Malapascua Sunset Cruise is a cruise offered by the Hippocampus Beach Resort to travelers and guests both local and foreign. For only a thousand pesos per head, guests get to enjoy a three-hour slow cruise around the island with 6 rounds of drinks, some light snacks, and delightful fruits in season.
Cruise starts at 3:30 pm every Saturday. Just make sure to register at least 24 hours before the scheduled cruise. Also, you can enjoy huge discounts if you bring your family and friends along! (For more details, check out their official Facebook page HERE)
Nym enjoying the view and the breeze.
During the cruise, the boat made several stops in some of Malapascua’s most important spots.
Our first stop was this gorgeous cliff face. If you still haven’t figured it out yet, the next activity will be cliff-jumping. 🙂
Out boat docked for the big event.
A couple of steps up and you’re at the highest peak of this islet. The sight is breath-taking!
Our foreign cruise-mates determined to give cliff-jumping a try.
They seemed pretty strong-willed about the 50-foot jump. Let’s see.
Last minute selfie before the jump.
And I think he’s actually going to do it!
Everyone cheered on as he leapt and entered the water.
The jump marked the start of a pretty long and very memorable swim for everyone. The boat was docked, the music was turned up, food and beer were served, and everyone was in the water. It was awesome!
Gian and Shiela of Adrenaline Romance smiling for the camera.
Check out this video of our Malapascua Sunset Cruise.
After our swimming session, we docked at one of Malapascua Island’s loveliest beaches.
My jaw literally dropped when I saw the amazing view.
A photograph of a local, a foreigner, and their very cute kid. What a lovely family.
The gorgeous Langub Beach is immaculate. It’s open to the public, too!
CLICK photo to enlarge
We had so much fun that we didn’t realize that the cruise was finally coming to an end.
When we safely docked and reached the beach, we bid our new friends farewell.
On our way to our hostel, we saw this: a local sculptor in action.
And check out the final work. Amazing, right?
That evening, Lee, the man behind the Malapascua Sunset Cruise joined us for an exciting boodle fight back at the hostel.
And after dinner, we shared stories and talked about our amazing experience earlier. What a lovely way to end a truly blissful day.
The next day, there was no pressure to wake up early. We just took our sweet time. The boat leaves for Maya at around noon so we had plenty of time to play board games, go back to bed, or catch some Pokemons!
Mr. Jose (Jay-R) Amistoso of Malapascua Budget Inn poses for the camera. He’s probably the most hands-on, most attentive, and most accommodating hostel owner I know. Thumbs up, Jay-R!
By 11 am, the whole group was ready to depart for Cebu. We sure are going to miss Malapascua.
Because of this trip, I was able to see a different side of Malapascua that I’m sure I’d never discover if I visited alone. I saw the cliffs, the hidden beaches, and the confusing yet familiar passageways which take you to various points in the island. I also made new friends, solidified friendships with old ones, and discovered a lot of things about myself and others. (That swimming can actually be really fun, yes!)
Traveling solo is awesome. But traveling with friends ain’t that bad either!
See you soon, Malapascua and thanks for such a wonderful time! I will definitely come back!
MALAPASCUA BUDGET INN
Private (A/C) Room for 2 – PhP 2,000
Family (A/C) Room for 4 – PhP 2,500
Double Twin Bed (A/C) Room for 4 – PhP 2,000
Dorm Room (Per bed) – PhP 400
Van pickup from Cebu City to New Maya – PhP 3,500
Car pickup from Cebu City to New Maya – PhP 3,000
Private boat from New Maya Port to Malapascua – PhP 1,500 to – PhP 2,500
Island hopping with free use of snorkel – PhP 300 / head
Trip to Kalanggaman (with lunch) – PhP 800 / head (+ PhP 150 entrance for locals or PhP 500 for foreigners)
MALAPASCUA SUNSET CRUISE
0947 955 7339
Rates and Information:
Reservation: At least 24 hours before scheduled cruise
Rate: PhP 1,000 / person
Pick-Up: 3:00 pm (Hippocampus Beach Resort)
Inclusion: 6 rounds of drinks, free photos and videos, light snacks, fruits, music