Where do you want to go?

Let us take you through the wonders of the Philippines.

Diving in Malapascua, Cebu

Malapascua is a small island located northern most part of Cebu province. The island is famous for its white sand beaches and world-class dive sites. It’s also known for sightings of mantas and thresher sharks.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

I was really excited when we started planning about the Malapascua trip. For one, it was my first time to visit a destination in Cebu outside of the bustling city and second, I was excited to see the famous thresher sharks. When we learned about the long weekend earlier this month, I didn’t hesitate getting a ticket to Cebu for this trip.

On our way to Malapascua

Malapascua belongs to the town of Daangbantayan. From the airport, we hailed a cab that took us to the town. The whole trip lasted for around four hours and we waited for nearly half an hour before we reached the island. Malapascua Island is relatively small. From the pier, you can almost walk to any point in the island. But if you’re bringing gears/equipment with you, taking a motorbike or a water taxi to your resort is highly recommended. We walked and it wasn’t the best experience.

The accommodation and diving reservations were all arranged while we were still in Manila. As recommended by our diving friends, we decided to book our dives for the whole duration of the trip with Evolution. They operators of the dive resort are the same set of technical divers who retrieved the late DILG secretary Jesse Robredo. However, for a group of four traveling on a budget, the accommodation with Evolution was a bit pricey for us and we decided to stay at the resort next to Evolution which we were able to get at a very good deal.

Diving in Malapascua

The highlight of the trip was the thresher shark dive in Monad Shoal. The minimum diving depth to have a good visibility of the thresher sharks in Monad Shoal is 85 feet. To assure the safety of their divers, Evolution requires their guest divers to either have an advanced open water certification or to at least have 30 logged dives for open water diving certification (CMAS One Star, in my case). Although I have already logged more than 30 dives, the owner requested that I undergo a pre-Monad dive just to make sure that I have the right skills to go for a deep dive at Monad.

The first dive that we had was at the House Reef located a few minutes away from the resort’s shore. The location is popular among macro photographers. However, I didn’t have an underwater camera at that time so I took the opportunity to practice my trimming for the succeeding dives. The dive was a shallow one, with the deepest recorded depth at 13m (42 ft). Although it wasn’t that deep, it was my longest recorded dive which lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes and only left me a third of my air supply.

Meeting the Thresher Sharks

Thresher Shark dives in Monad Shoal are among the popular underwater attractions in Malapascua. At 5a.m., you can see different dive boats from different resorts in the island racing towards Monad. Although there are enough space underwater to accommodate all of the divers, there’s a limited number of “cleaning stations” where the sharks do their early morning visits. Hence, the reason why dive operators “race” to get the best spot to see the sharks.

We left the island a few minutes past 5am and took around 20 minutes before we arrived in Monad Shoal and we were already in the water just before sunrise. The Monad Shoal dive si a deep direct descend at 25 meters. Maybe we were lucky at that time that 2 minutes after we started our descend, we saw our first thresher shark. A few more more showed up as went closer to the cleaning stations. On average, there’s a fair chance that one can experience 4 to 5 shark sightings in a dive. We saw five that time and the closest was just around 10~20 ft away from us.

To cap our trip, we decided to go for another visit with the thresher sharks. We didn’t have enough of our first Monad Shoal dive that we booked for another one the morning before we left the island. I can say that the second dive was better than the first one. We didn’t have to find the sharks since it was the sharks who surprised us by showing up less than 10ft away from us. We were literally clinging at the side a wall trying to avoid the shark from seeing us.  The second Monad dive was also deeper than the first one that I almost reached my decompression time.

Here’s a video of our shark sighting during our second Monad dive.

We had a total of five dives for that three-day trip in Malapscua. We’ve only dove four of the many available dive spots in the island. Come February or March, I’m looking forward into visiting the island again for mantas and hammer heads.

You may get in touch with Evolution via email: info (at) evolution dot com dot ph.