Macro: diving at Malapascua the Philippines is increasingly known by French thanks to an exceptional site (Monad shoal) which allows plunge with the very few Thresher sharks. But it's not just that! Malapascua it is also the paradise of macro, there is everything a fan of "little beasts" hopes to see underwater. We can do many diving course, some baptism, atopen water (level 1) until divemaster and you will have no trouble finding a French-speaking diving club. The dive prices in Malapascua is cheap like all of Philippines. To know finally, if you organize yourself a diving trip to Malapascua, that access is still a bit complicated…

Context : I worked 2 months as an instructor at Malapascua!

# Overview
# Presentation
# Diving with : Thresher sharks, Macro, Hammerhead sharks
# Dive sites : Monad shoal, Gato island, Kalanggaman
# Seasons and conditions 
# Diving club
# Accommodation
# How to get there
# My diving review



  • Best diving period in Malapascua : January to June.
  • Unique species : thresher sharkss
  • Macro : ghost fish, seahorses, pipe fish, frog fish, mandarin fish, scorpion fish, nudibranchs.
  • Possible species : white tip sharks (Gato island), mobulas rays (Monad shoal), octopus with blue rings, flamboyant cuttlefish ...
  • Best dive sites : Monad shoal (fox shark), Gato island (south wall and shark cave), Kalanggaman islandDeep Rock and Deep Slope
  • Convenience : count a day from Cebu city, no distributors, wifi everywhere.
Logo-plongeur-baroudeurRecommendations by category of divers:

> Nouveau plongeur : nice to mix a baptism and relax on the island.
> Confirmé : to do, spend 2-3 days of diving including that of thresher sharks and Gato island.
> Expérimenté : Fox shark diving is truly unique in the world, but you will be disappointed with the world present and Malapascua is quite complicated to access.
#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


Where is Malapascua located?

  • Malapascua is in the Philippines, in the region of Visayas.
  • It is a very small island (2.2 km2, 1km wide by 3km long!) Which has beautiful beaches all around but also from small cliffs (to the north), from where you can even jump
  • The tour of the island on foot can take 4-5h.


Atmosphere in Malapascua

  • Life is very quiet in Malapascua, the atmosphere is very calm, there is not much to do except relax on the beach and dive.
  • Almost all diving clubs and / or springs have their own restaurant and bar.
  • Every Saturday evening it is " disco ", the basketball court turns into bar / box and all Filipinos meet there to drink and dance!

Places to know in Malapascua

13-Maldito triple rhum & coke-min

  • Maldito (logon beach): this bar / restaurant is really great! Well located on the edge of Logon Beach, varied and good food, good value for money, good atmosphere, a pool table, a pizza oven ... and the triple rum coke cheaper than the simple (50 pesos)!
  • Ging ging (south): this small restaurant in the south is often recommended by guides. The food is quite varied and especially cheap (often less than 100 pesos). By cons, do not be in a hurry, they are always super long to serve!
  • Sunset bar (logon beach): just above Frenck Kiss various (see who to dive with)8-sunset 1-min, this bar at the best view for sunsets, which are often superb! Happy hour from 19 to 21h, a drink bought, a free drink!
  • The other place (south): the place where we go after 23h if we do not want to go to bed! In the center on the south side, near the Ging ging.
  • The bars at the edge of bounty beach (Ocean Vida, Hippocampus ...) are also nice but a bit more expensive.

Convenience :

  • No distributors (nor to Maya), take some liquid in Cebu ! Most restaurants, bars and dive centers take the blue card with a commission of 5.5%.
  • No cars, only small motorcycles. You can go anywhere on the island by motorbike for 20-30 pesos.
  • No computer / phone shopsbut you can easily recharge your phone credits (it's the globe that works best on the island).
  • Almost all restaurants / bars have Wireless.
  • electricity works all day.
#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review

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Fox and macro sharks, but not the most beautiful diving in Asia…

08 seahorse - common-min

  • Come on let's say it frankly, compared to other places in the Philippines (Apo reef, Panglao…), Malapascua is not the Mecca of diving ...
  • There are no fish!
  • But there is a way to have fun on 2-3 days.
  • The mere fact of being able to see the Thresher sharks, of the competition macro and the splendid shark cave of Gato worth the trip.


Thresher sharks


Of course, the # 1 attraction of Malapascua is the year-round presence of very rare fox sharks on one of their sites (Monad shoal) and the unique opportunity in the world to see them at a recreational depth (30 m) !!

In summary :

  • The site is 45 minutes by boat.
  • You have to be advanced (or have done your "deep dive") to dive.
  • You have roughly 95% chance to see at least one and on average you will see 4-5.

The full article on Malapascua thresher sharks here

Macro diving Malapascua

02 Ghost pipefish - ornate female-min

If you are macro diving fan, you go treat yourself to Malapascua!

  • Ghost fish (the famous ornate ghost pipe fish), pygmy seahorses, seahorses (common, tiggertail ...), fish pipes (ringed, messmate ...)
  • Frogfish (giant, painted ...), scorpion fish, lions fish
  • nudibranchs (chromodoris, phylidiella, nembrotha ...), sea slugs and flat worms messy
  • The very rare harlequin shrimp,  blue ringed octopus and flamboyant cuttlefish

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Visibility in Malapascua

  • I stayed from February to April and I unfortunately had rotten visibility (between 5 and 10m)!
  • All the beautiful sites of Malapascua are covered with beautiful soft corals of all colors, but when visibility is so low you cannot appreciate them.

Diving with hammerhead sharks in the Philippines?


  • So saying, on the site of Kimud shoal, we can dive with hammerhead sharks in Malapascua in season (January to March).
  • I did the site 3 times in March, I haven't seen a single one… but hey, I think it's worth trying anyway!


Soft corals

Reef Malpascua - Gato 3-min

  • All of the Malapascua sites are covered beautiful soft corals of all the colors.
  • Come in the right season (from January to June) to be sure to have a good visibility to be able to appreciate them.


Diving video Malapascua Philippines

Diving photos Malapascua Philippines

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#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


Map of Malapascua dive sites

carte sites de plongee malapascua philippines

What are the best dive sites in Malapascua?

For more info: see the article "3 days of diving in Malapascua"

As written above, the dives in Malapascua are not for me the most beautiful in the world ... But on 3 days there is way to have fun :

  • Monad shoal: diving with fox sharks


sVideo shark fox Malapascua Philippines

  • Gato island: macro and shark cave!

Gato island (loin) (LR)-min

    • Gato island is at 45min boat from Malapascua (we can not sleep there, it's tiny), it's a special trip where you will do 2 dives on the spot and then you come back (around 14-15h).
      03 Shark - 1 white-tip shark cave-min
    • Most people go there especially for the famous "Shark cave", the shark cellar 
    • You enter a cave that passes under the island at about 8-10m, you navigate in it for a few minutes and when you arrive at the exit, white tip sharks are always there to wait for you (from 1 to 5 sharks)!
    • They turn, pass in front of you, leave, come back... you have the light of day behind, it's really beautiful!

04 Frogfish - painted-min

    • But the site of Gato is especially the paradise of macro diving!
    • There is everything Malapascua has to offer: pygmy seahorses, seahorses, ghost fish, pipe fish, frogfish, harlequin shrimp, nudibranchs in shambles and we also often cross the very rare octopus with blue rings!
    • The soft corals all around the island are also magnificent but the visibility is always low (around 10 m).

The detail of diving in Gato island here.S

  • Kalanggaman island: a wall with big pelagic

Kalaggaman island 1 - sandy edge-min

29 Reef malapascua - kalaggaman wall-min

    • Kalanggaman Island is far enough from Malapascua, at about 1h30So it's a special trip on the day.
    • You will do 2 dives, you will eat on the spot (a small barbecue) and you will have 1h-1h30 to stroll on this magnificent island.
    • The dives at Kalanggaman are really superb! We actually dive along a wall, visibility is always good (around 20m) and you're likely to see bigger pelagic than Malapascuatype school of jacks, snappers, barracudas ...
    • There are also sea turtles who are walking around.
  • Kimud shoal: diving with hammerhead sharks in season


    • If you are there in the right season (January-March), you can go on this dive after Monad shoal and you may be lucky enough to see hammerhead sharks !
    • But nothing is guaranteed of course ... I did it 3 times in March, I did not see one ...
  • Dona marilyn wreck: diving wreck at Malapascua!


    • It's the wreck of a huge ferry which is very far from Malapascua (about 2h30).
    • It is deep, often faced with a strong current, therefore only reserved for experienced divers.
    • Few clubs go there (French kiss various goes), I could not go, but it must be worth it!

  • On Malapascua same: Deep rock and Deep slope

deep rock-min.jpg

    • All 2 are submerged islands and are full of soft corals and macro : pygmy seahorses, seahorses common, frogfish, nudibranchs in shambles and we can also cross the very rare octopus with blue rings !
    • If you don't have the chance to go to Gato, make at least one of these 2 dives.


  • Sunset diving to see Mandarin fish in Malapascua


    • Malapascua owns a place where we are sure to see these famous mandarin fish go out just before nightfall as they are used to.
    • This site consists of 2-3 small potatoes where everyone gets together, necessarily at the same time to wait for them to come out, it's really the factory!
    • We sometimes wait 40 minutes not to move!
    • In addition, there are a lot of photographers, so as soon as the Mandarin fish come out, it's an armada of flash in all directions, we don't even see the fish anymore!
    • To do only in low season (May-November)!

Other dives in Malapascua

Chocolate island LR)-min

  • North point and Quillano : why not, but a notch below Deep rock and Deep slope
  • Chocolate island : a very easy dive, shallow (10-15m), mainly intended for macro research: seahorses, nudibranchs and sea slugs, frogfish ...
  • All the others (Lapus lapus, Dakit dakit, Light house, Evo reef, Los Bamboos, Ka osting), honestly it's really not worth it ...

#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


We can technically dive all year round in Malapascua but lat best diving season in Malapascua is of December to June.

When to dive in Malapascua?

26 Reef malapascua - kalaggaman seafan-min

  • Avoid the rainy season in Malapascua of July to September. The boats go out but the sailing conditions can be very unpleasant, with rain and wind.
  • Avoid the cyclone season at Malapascua : it does not normally rain, but a cyclone alert can occur at any time and diving trips can be canceled for several days.
  • Avoid the Chinese New Year period: the accommodation is full and the Monad shoal and Gato island sites are crowded.

Malapascua diving conditions:

  • Visibility to Malapascua : often weak, about 10 m.
  • Water temperature at Malapascua : 24 to 27 ° C.
  • Current Malapascua : the island is not famous for its strong currents.

When is the best time to dive with thresher sharks in Malapascua?

There is no season to see thresher sharks in Malapascua, they are there all year round.

When is the best time to dive with hammerhead sharks in Malapascua?

Unfortunately, don't think of seeing schools of hammerhead sharks in Malapascua. There is supposedly a season to see hammerhead sharks in Malapascua on the site of Kimud shoal from January to March, but as often there must have been quite a few years ago but not today (I have the site 3 times in March, I have not seen one ...).

#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


The best Malapscua diving clubs: éavoid the big ones.

  • I stayed a little over 2 months on the island, so I had the time to see and compare the centers.
  • There are approximately 20 dive centers on Malapascua.
  • Beware of large centers (Exotic, Evolution, various Tresher shark, Sea explorer…).
  • The atmosphere is good, they also often have nice bars and restaurants by the beach, but it is often factory with them (eg 3 boats of 20 divers at Monad shoal) and qthat they sometimes take care of their island (anchor jet on the corals ...).

The French club in Malapascua: French Kiss Divers!

FKD 1-min.jpg

  • As the name suggests, this center is held by French ! They also have a center in Koh Tao in Thailand.
  • So it's on, first benefit, all the instructors speak French!
  • There is also a great atmosphere, they are very pros, they have several boats, some good quality material, some nitrox available, they are flexible

Respect the environment


  • But French Kiss is more than that!
    They are really trying to
    stand out from other big centers implanted on the island for years that are real diver machines and do not always respect their island:

    • They leave 30 minutes before all the other centers for Gato : to be offbeat and avoid their divers finding themselves underwater with 10ths of others in the same place!
    • Respect the environment : they NEVER drop anchor on the sites (unlike many others ...) and do not hesitate to warn the competent authorities if they see a center do it
    • Fight against fishing : One of the problems of diving in Malapascua is that people continue to fish! The boss of French Kiss, Karim, does not hesitate, as soon as he sees some, to cut the fish traps set by the fishermen!

They make all excursions around Malapascua

2-Cliff jump 2 sunset gato-min.jpg

Gato island (every day) and Kalaggaman (very often) of course, but also in season Kimud shoal (the shark hammer site), the Dona wreck (about once a month) and finally maripipi (about once a month, they have a 2nd center there), which is an island about 2h30 by boat, where the dives are spectacular and more preserved only in Malapascua.

The Sunset Bar!

8-sunset 1-min

Above their center is their sunset bar! It's the best place on the island to watch the sunset. The executive is also nice enough to work on his open water lessons! Every evening, instructors and divers mingle and talk over a beer or a cocktail!

Diving course

They also provide all SSI coursesFrom open water to divemaster, to nitrox or deep specialties. The quality of their training is impeccable, do not hesitate to make your open water with them. Karim, the boss is a trainer instructor, so it's also a SSI Instructor Training Center.

#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


There are all types of accommodation in Malapascua but it changes all the time.


Cebu to Malapascua

Getting to Malapascua is not easy, it will take a day of transportation from Cebu City:

Cebu to Maya route

carte comment aller a malapascua philippines

  • It is already necessary arrive on the island of Cebu
  • Then you have to go to Cebu City North Bus Station (north bus station), about 30 minutes from the airport by taxi
  • From there, you will need go to Maya (the city in front of Malapascua).
    > soit by the public bus (air conditioned), departure every 30min, 200 pesos, about 4h30-5h, (but it can be more, I heard 6-7h ...)
    > soit by vanfor 200 pesos, about 4 hours. The van's problem is that it leaves when it is full, so sometimes we can wait a long time. If you get to have a van privatized with other travelers this is the topyou will put 3-4h instead.

Maya trip to Malapascua

  • Once in Maya, you have to go to the port (not far from the bus station). So there is no "ferry" for Malapascua, they use the "reconditioned" fishing boats in transport boats, so it's still a bit folkloric!
    There are boats all day, every 30 minutes or so (The last ones are towards 18h).
  • The boats leave when they are full (15-20 people), the journey cost 100 pesos. If there are not enough people and you are tired of waiting, they can offer you to pay more (200-300 pesos) to leave before, sometimes it's worth it anyway.
  • It will get you into a small boat before (the flat boat) to bring you to the big boat. If you are a tourist, they will ask you in addition 20 pesos for the transport, normally the 100 pesos cover this "small" trip of 2 min, after it is only 20 pesos ...
#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Dive centers #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


I enjoyed my visit to Malapascua. I saw things underwater, especially in macro, that I hadn't seen in a long time! The fox sharks of course it's fantastic, the dives of Gato island (including the famous shark cave) are really nice and the trip has Kalanggaman as well. I was however very disappointed with visibility (5-10 m) and I could not appreciate the dives at their fair value. Side ambiance, that's enough calm, there is no place that "brings everyone" together. A diving trip of 3 days will surely be enough to have a good time and make beautiful dives!

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