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Location: Malapascua (Philippines)
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Arriving at Calapan (Cebu) from Manila by Philippine Airlines, Malapascua is about a 3 hour journey by car and boat.

The diving around the island varies with a dusk/night dive at the lighthouse being one of the more interesting, with the spectacle of mating mandarin fish in the fading light being a regular feature.

I would recommend taking the 2ish hour boat trip to Gato Island which has an underwater cave running through the middle of a small marine sanctuary island which featured on our 1st of 2 dives. On the exit, under an overhang we saw a number of White Tip Reef Sharks and a beautiful Coral Shark. The rest of the dive was the usual excellent Philippines fare with amazing Coral, Colourful Nudibranch and a nice big White Tip skimming the reef towards the end of the dive.

2nd Dive at Gato was like frogfish city, I lost count, not only of the number but the colour variations, some large, many juvenile but all in all an absolute frogfish haven - fantastic!

Malapascua, however, sells itself as a dive resort based on one main feature. The world famous Monad Shoal, which is claimed to be one of the only places in the world Thresher Sharks can be seen on a regular (it is clamed daily) basis. It's an early morning dive to about 26m with no real natural feature on the Shoal itself, our 1st dive brought an absolute blank on the Thresher front and in fact the only feature of the dive was spending about 5 minutes watching a nice big octopus making it's way across the rockky bottom.

Dive number 2 at Monad, however, was a completely different case - about 20 minutes into the dive our guide pointed out a barely recognisable shape in the distance, which was without doubt something big and fairly shark shaped - but inconclusive. A few minutes later another shape, this one geting close enough to see clearly it's huge distinctive tail fin - mission accomplished. On the way back to line, however, we had the thrill of not one but 2 young Threshers swimming in tandem straight over our heads while we lay as close to the bottom as possible trying not to move - FANTASTIC!!

Malapascua is a beatiful and relaxed island with some very nice dive sites (not too much for the techie though) - but thats about it, if you don't dive, theres not a lot else to do and that suits me fine!

Tony Bridge - UK
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Malapascua was:
Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews
Non diving activities: Not many!
Language: English, Filipino
Money: Pesos
Stability: Active travel warnings exist for this location (see Lonely Planet)!
More Information: Country Bio from Lonely Planet