Tag Archives: Island Hopping

The Great Summer Escape Pt. 1: Malapascua Island

April 14 – 16, 2012

It was Malapascua or bust for this summer together with my friend Bart who was flying in from Manila.  We came up with a beach-bound itinerary with an intent to also see another gem of an island about 2 hours from Malapascua which I’ve been reading about, for weeks now (Kalanggaman Island–please see next post).

Malapascua is a pretty popular summer destination so I thought it wise to pre-book our accommodations online through agoda.com for 2 nights at Hippocampus Resort (scientific name for the seahorse). I didn’t want to take a chance and not have a place to stay while we were there.


The island has an “almost-Boracay” feel to it, minus the over-commercialization. It’s beachfront establishments are mostly owned and run by foreigners and do serve good food for a price. What my friend  and I liked most was of course, Happy Hour–which starts at 4:00pm.


Because Malapascua is still considerably a small island, regardless of it’s popularity with tourists especially in the summer, the island still holds the romance of an island get-away. The tourists generally stay out of each other’s way. I easily forgot about my worries, lounging my thoughts away on a bean bag by the beach over Happy Hour.

How To Get There

The island is part of the Municipality of Daan Bantayan in the province of Cebu. Getting there from Cebu City requires a reasonable amount of perseverance and patience since the trip entails a 4-5 hour-bus ride. Here’s the 411 on getting there.

1. The starting point of your trip should be Cebu City’s North Bus Terminal. There are 2 modes of transport to get you to Maya:

a. Ceres Bus bound for “Bogo-Maya” – Bus fare is about Php163.00/pax for a non-airconditioned trip as of press time.

b. V-hires for Php200.00/pax – We took a V-hire for Php200.00/pax thinking the ride would be more comfortable only to be proven wrong as the heat sweltered  inside since the van’s AC was not strong enough for the summer heat. So if you decide to ride the V-hire, choose a newer looking unit and be sure of the AC to get our fares’ worth.

2. Once you get to the Maya, the northernmost Baranggay on the island of Cebu, you’ll see a jetty where you can get a boat ride to Malapascua Island. From Maya the boat ride is about 30 minutes to 45 mins (depending on the waves) for Php.80.00/pax. Be warned however, the boat trips to Malapascua are not regular and depend on whether there would be enough passengers to and from the island. Special trips to get you across would cost about Php1,500.


1. There is generally no electricity on the island, so if you will be staying @ budget hotels, make sure to bring insect repellents. There are however, hotels that do have their own generators.

2. Stock up on drinking water in your room.

3. Learn to haggle with the boat rides. Esp. with the trips to and from the mainland. The trips don’t have a regular schedule as it is dependent on the the number of passengers.

4. If crossing islands, choose bigger/sturdier boats, the waves get bigger in the afternoons.

5. Make sure to pack up an ample supply of sun screen–and to pack LIGHT. You wouldn’t want your Backpack straps to be digging in to your sunburnt shoulders when it’s time to travel back home.

6. Don’t be afraid to explore the island. There are so many exciting things you can do: Cliff diving, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving. island-hopping, etc…

7. If you do go for online hotel reservations, you might want to pick the ones with breakfast included. We enjoyed our inclusive breakfast at Hippocampus (although they seem to take a longer time to serve locals over foreigners, or maybe we were just uber famished…)

8. Lastly, relax. Enjoy your vacation!

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Pandanon Island: An April Fools’ Adventure

I was assigned to a new team at work and with our fabulous group dynamics, we thought we’d go hopping around the island on our very first Team Outing.

We assembled at Boyla Hotel in Maribago and set off to our first stop in Hilutungan Island for some snorkelling and then soaked up some sun at Pandanon Island stopping by the waters around Caohagan Islet (which was thwarted by a jellyfish exodus) by afternoon before heading back to the mainland. This won’t be my first time in Pandanon, but I’ll never be one to pass up an opportunity to visit again.

Pandanon Island, which is already within the bounds of Bohol, is just about 45 minutes from the dock at the Boyla Dive Center by boat. Entrance fee to the island as of this post is Php150.00/pax, exclusive of the cost of the island-hopping package which was about Php5,000 for a 20-person boat. The beach huts are also an additional Php250.00 for the day. I haven’t heard of overnight stays on this island as yet and they are probably not encouraged as there is no electricity on this little sanctuary.

There are designated grilling stations on Pandanon which is why we decided to have lunch there. Depending on your arrangements with the boatmen, you can have them wait on you until you’re ready to hop on to the next island of your choice.


The day went by beautifully with our slightly-browned skins–blissful to have had our sun and sand fix this summer.

If you would like to contact Boyla Dive Center for their affordable island-hopping rates, you may call +63 32 492 1823. I had initially made arrangement with another “banca-cruise” specialist but found their rates much too steep, leading me to look further into the island-hopping circuit.