Bantayan – Philippines – To Malapascua

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MAY 2016:


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I had made my way from Cebu City to Bantayan Island and stayed in the KOTA BEACH RESORT on Bantayan for 8 nights.

I was pleasantly surprised by Bantayan. I liked the place. Bantayan has made it into my Retirement REVIEWS.

It was time to say goodbye to my friends and to move on to Malapascua Island.


I was up at 5:00am, showered & packed, and on the street by 6:15am.

There was 1 Trike waiting outside the front of my hotel.

The Trike ride to the Ferry Terminal should cost PHP30 but, it was early in the morning so I offered him PHP40.

We were at the Ferry Terminal by 6:30.


The Ferry leaves every 1-2 hours during the day.

The next ferry was 7:30am. I bought my ticket for PHP170 and paid my PHP5 Terminal Fee.

I had time to kill, so I went to the tinpot next to the terminal and ordered breakfast: 2 fried eggs with rice for PHP40.

I returned to the Ferry Terminal at 7:00am; people were already walking to the boat.

As we entered the Ferry Port area, a port ‘official’ collected another PHP5 from each passenger and handed out another (blue) Terminal Fee ticket – this one was for the Hagnaya end … this has never happened to me in The Philippines before … I suspect that this ‘official’ has a SCAM going on … no-one ever asked to see this ‘blue’ ticket!

Anyway, we embarked and waited for the trucks to be loaded. We left at 7:40am and arrived at Hagnaya Port at 9:00am.


Trike drivers board the Ferry as you wait to disembark to ply for your trade.

Do NOT deal with these people. They quoted PHP1,000 to take me to Bogo.

I disembarked, ran the ‘gauntlet’ of Minivan drivers, and found the Bus parking area.

Again, you are approached by bus drivers who are keen to take your bag and get you on their bus … this is, usually, a bad sign. I declined and made my own way to the waiting Ceres Bus (yellow). I trust these guys.

I found my bus to Bogo and got on. The Bus left within 5 minutes. It took 10 minutes to get to Bogo and the price was PHP10.

We were dropped off on a road junction; this is where you flag down the next Ceres bus going from Bogo to Maya.


I waited for 30 minutes for the connecting bus.

It finally arrived at 9:45am.

The drive to Maya took 1 hour. The cost was PHP40.

To connect to Malapascua, you do not go to the main Maya Ferry Port … you go to a smaller port for Bangkas that is about 1km away.

The Ceres Bus takes you directly to this Bangka port. We arrived at 10:45.


The Bangkas are waiting and it is easy to find the next one heading for Malapascua.

You board walking a thin plank from the rocks to the boat; they help you walk the plank.

One of the boatmen loaded my suitcase for me.

We waiting about 30 minutes as other people arrived on other buses.

We left at 11:15.

The Bangka costs PHP100 and takes 30 minutes to get to Malapascua Island.

The Bangka anchors off shore and a small boat ferries you from there to shore.

On disembarking the small boat, we were all asked for another PHP20 by the driver.

This is a rip off but what can you do?

There were 20 people on the Bangka paying PHP100 each for a 30 minute ride across open sea with a crew of 3 men. That Bangka earned PHP2,000.

This small boat to shore got PHP20 from each person: a total of PHP400 to take them 50 metres.


I had done my ‘usual thing’ and pre-booked my initial accommodation.

I planned to stay on Malapascua for 11 nights. I booked only 1 night at the BLUE WATER RESORT for PHP1,000 per night (including breakfast) with no in-room wifi. I found the Blue Water on

Accommodation in The Philippines is, generally, a problem for GRANDPAckers … the accommodation is poor value for money. Everywhere. Anything less than PHP900 per night is likely to be backpacker and below the required GRANDPAcker Standard.

Malapascua is no exception. On the internet, you will find it hard to find anywhere on the beachfront for less than PHP1,500 per night. A GRANDPAcker Budget only allows for a maximum of PHP1,200 per night.

I booked one of the few beachfront properties that I could find and afford: a Fan Room at the Blue Water Resort.

I paid PHP1,000 (discounted down from PHP1,500).

My intention was to look around the island to find somewhere better for the next 10 nights.

I checked into the Blue Water at 12:30pm … the room was ready.

The reception asked me why I was only staying 1 night?

I told her that I planned to look around to find somewhere for a further 10 nights.

She said that I could have the same room that I had already booked for PHP800 / night including breakfast.

I said that I only wanted to pay PHP700 … she said OK.

I said that I wanted to see the room first.

I checked into my room to find yet another BELOW Standard room.

Yet again, I was unable to find anything ‘decent’ online in The Philippines for less than PHP1,000 / night.

There was no furniture; just a bed. Nowhere to hang your clothes (out came my washing line again). The ensuite was ‘tired’ with no mirror, cracked tiles, a dripping tap, and no toilet seat.

The room was not very clean.

The louvre windows were covered with dust – they hadn’t been cleaned for years.

That evening, I went to have my shower … I turned on the tap and brown water came out that smelt.

I was not going to shower nor brush my teeth in that!

The next morning, I was awoken at 4:30am by roosters crowing ‘any-cock-ll-do’.

I wasn’t staying here for the next 10 days!


The trip from Bantayan Island to Malapascua Island is an easy one. Door-to-door it took me 6 hours.

My total cost was PHP380. But, for 2 GRANDPAckers budget PHP740.

The Blue Water is on the beachfront and has a nice view out from its restaurant.

The free breakfast was good. You can choose between ‘American’ or ‘Filipino’. I had the American with bacon and eggs.

But, I would not recommend that you stay at the Blue Water.

I’ll look around the island and tell you Where To Stay in my next post.

I find myself directly comparing Malapascua Island with Gili Air Island in Indonesia; I will tell you more about that in a later post too.


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