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Malapascua Trip
Aireen - 11/08/2006 12:00 AM
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Category: Travel
Comments: 1
Malapascua TripI heard about the island in 2003 from fellow graduate students. They say its the next Boracay (well, there`s also Pagudpud - the Boracay of the north) I got curious and did some research....and its a remote diving destination!!!...the best part, its not yet very commercialized unlike Boracay which is too crowded (meaning --- you have to put up with boats, kayakers, windsurfers, etc..all on the beach with very little space for you swim or even just quietly relax and have a massage ---- unless you`re the type who prefer this "scene" mainly to see and be seen). Finally, I decided to go to Malapascua for my 28th birthday (1 Nov 2006), and treat myself to a dive in Monad Shoal - reputed to have daily sightings of thresher sharks as well as hammerheads (seasonal), manta rays (abundant in Sept), eagle rays, and other species requiring the services of "cleaner wrasses." I checked out dive centers and decided to dive with "Thresher Shark Divers." I was advised to dive the Monad Shoal as a Deep Adventure Dive with a dive instructor - no prob with me, I actually prefer this arrangement as I tend to descend really slowly...hehehe....;D Of course, I also informed them that I`d do the `free` refresher course in my first dive with them (easy dive in Bantigue) then another dive, before I finally dive Monad Shoal. Since I and a non-diver friend only have 3 days in Malapascua....I was only able to dive in Bantigue, Lapus Lapus and Monad.

Bantigue was unexpectedly a `fun` dive...its a sandy area (which I initially thought would be boring) and was able to see a lot of weird and funny species ---- wished I know the names of every species I saw!!! Visibility`s very clear!!! Species I recognized include:
- upside down jellyfish;
- mantis shrimp;
- long-spined urchins;
- fire urchins;
- crabs;
- molluscs;
- starfishes (blue / orangy)
- jawfishes;
- pufferfishes; and
- boxfishes.

Lapus Lapus is unforgettable as I almost broke my dive master/dive instructor`s fingers when I saw a banded snake nearby and panicked....He didn`t see the snake at first but when I pointed it out to him...he just signalled for us to stay still and wait for the snake to move on to its usual the thriving marine life...visibility`s not as great as Bantigue. Species I recognized include:
- hard/soft corals;
- anemones;
- barrel sponges;
- sea fans;
- lion fish;
- banded sea snake;
- urchins;
- molluscs;
- starfishes;
- pipefish;
- butterflyfishes;
- angelfishes;
- damsels;
- anemone fishes;
- wrasses;
- pufferfish;
- file fish (loved this!); and
- triggerfishes.

At Monad Shoal, was hoping to see manta rays, eagle rays and thresher sharks...but we waited...and waited...and waited until its time to go back up. It was my first PADI Deep Adventure Dive (met all performance requirements). Of course I was nervous! I`m always nervous every time I go on a taking a few seconds or even 1 minute before I finally go into the water. But since this was my first deep dive right in the middle of the ocean with no islands nearby, its more scary for me. I`m more used to diving in areas where I can still see the bottom filled with corals from the surface or nearby islands. Before we descended, I looked down and there was NOTHING there but water...getting darker the deeper it goes. My dive instructor `Jen` assured me that there are people down there....hehehe...yup, 4 nitrox divers had gone ahead of us, and I can still see them while we`re slooowly descending....but they were gone to another part of the site when we got to 20 - 22 meters. We just did the usual exercises at 29.6 meters...hehehe....I actually had fun when we did the exercise on `timed task at bottom` which I ended up doing twice longer at bottom compared to doing it on the surface. Actually laughed when we`re at our safety stop when Jen did `sort of` victory/congratulatory dance, clapped and we shook hands. That was cool!!! Then, it was time to depart :C I and my friend didn`t even have the time to explore other parts of the island and even no time for snorkeling!!! All my friend did was relax, sleep, eat, read....aahhh...the life of a bum...hehehe...I just meet up with her during meals. And at night, the island only has electricity from 1800H - unless you`re staying at resorts with generators, you tend to have an `early night.` Its quite lovely staying out at night...either hanging around on your beachfront cottage verandah or gently swing on the hammock being serenaded by, that`s life!!!

The trip`s too short. I plan to go back and stay there at least 5-7 days. Hopefully soon!!!


neptunemd - 2/26/2009 10:26 PM


Mabuhay kabayan!... enjoyed your take on Malapascua... ive been wanting to dive Malapascua for a long time... was supposed to do that last Oct 2008 but things didnt go as planned... hopefully this year... have you done Tubbataha?