📸 — Malapascua Island, Philippines

Our Little Detour🌏✈️ 👫
A Little Detour
Published in
10 min readMay 13, 2019


We felt torn with where to go after Moalboal. Palawan Island is a famous hotspot for diving, but we’ve read that it’s gotten crazy busy over the last few years, so it’s not so peaceful anymore. We also considered heading to a few other islands (as there are so many to choose from!) but after a very last minute decision, we did a 9 hour transit day to Malapascua in hopes of some good diving and more chill setting.

Between Easter and the Asian Labour day holiday, there has been a crazy influx of tourism in the Philippines, so we had our fingers crossed that Malapascua would be an exception as the only reason people go to this island is to go diving. Mainly, the stars of the show here are the Thresher Sharks that can be seen every morning.

We lucked out and found what we were looking for. Even better, this island was celebrating Fiesta while we were here which allowed us to immerse ourselves which has been a lot of fun.

Our thirty days in the Philippines went by in a flash, and we will definitely be back again soon as there is so much more to see!

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫

The long bus ride. The local buses are not made for tall people. It was pretty hot and pretty tiny.
But we made it to the boat terminal! We thought maybe we would have to catch the next boat but lucked out and managed to get on the last one of the day.
Maeghan sat beside a 3-month-old husky baby named Jolibee and she was soooooooooo cute.
Island hop.
The closest ATM to Malapascua is a 5 hour roundtrip… so Oli made sure of that we had enough cash.
Great view for our first day.
The locals drying all the tiny fish they caught this morning.
Walking down the local streets was our favorite, lots to see and tons of animals that pop out to say hi.

So this is random. We walked into one of the dive shops that had good Google reviews and as we were looking at the board… Caile walked out!! Caile was getting her dive instructor course while we were getting our open water course in Nicaragua at the beginning of our trip! And now we ran into her 50+ dives later on a random island on the other side of the world where she has lived the last 10 months!

Oli needed a haircut so we went to the only barber on the island to get the job done.
The night market.
We were there during Fiesta (big holiday in the Philippines) which brought a bunch of people to the island to celebrate! There was music, lots of pork and a ton of locals singing karaoke.
This was the street in front of our guesthouse, and the main strip of the island!
Checking out Fiesta.
Lots of houses had printed signs wishing a happy fiesta on behalf of each family. And also mentioned school achievements or personal stories.
Karaoke is big here, and everyone sings in their home for everyone to hear. Often fighting with speaker volume to ensure their voice is heard.
Some locals grabbed us and handed Oli the mic. He sang his heart out to a Filippino song and did so like a champ!

We did a lot of diving in between, but we put all our pictures in one spot since there was lots to see under the sea!

Gato island has a tunnel you can swim through underneath the water. We didn’t go through (Maeghan didn’t feel comfortable) but we met up with a group on the other side and it looked pretty cool!
Little snowflake eel
Filefish — doing a dance to get some attention from the single ladies.
two lionfish hanging out between some catfish.
A giant clam covered in bright pink and orange coral.
Do you see the white ghost pipefish? Our dive guide had eyes like lasers finding these little gems!

This is the nudibranch section. It really feels like Pokemon, you are trying to find them all and there are thousands of different kinds!

Left: a tiny tiny tiny nudi that was impossible to focus on with the gopro!

End of Nudibranch section :)

Brain coral
Scorpionfish — do you see it?
Sooo much colour.
Electric pink sea anemone feeding itself.
Clownfish (Nemo) families!
Two whitetip sharks hiding in the rocks.
Cuddlefish — sleeping on a rock, trying not to move.
A bigger more engaged cuttlefish was changing the patterns on its back!
baby frogfish! They don’t swim, but waddle on their two arms/legs at the front of their body.

They had a problem with dynamite fishing around Malapascua island. So all the dive shops got together and bought a few Mary statues to be placed at the bottom of the ocean. This is fascinating because the Philippines is a very religious country, and by having these statues blessed in Cebu, and sunk in the water has actually helped prevent fishermen from blowing up the coral. In addition… no one wants to go to hell for being the one to accidentally blew up Mary!

Flamboyant cuttlefish. We were there just in time to watch it catch something to eat!
White pipefish hanging around.
This was crazy — our guide shown his light in the air and told us to look, we saw nothing… then we came closer and that thing the size of a grain of rice is a baby squid!!!
Something we learned: Because of overfishing, squid have filled the sea as they have fewer predators that eat them. During our dive around Gato, we saw a few dozen swimming around in schools and man, these buggers are fast!
Maeghan’s eyes are getting better too, she found another scorpion fish blending into the rocks.
Little porcupinefish not enjoying us in his space.
Our first encounter with a wild sea horse!
Following a baby sweet lips fish is hard, they move like butterflies on red bull.
Catfish swimming in a swarm.

Thresher Sharks are what makes this island popular for scuba divers.

Thresher sharks are primarily sharks-of-the-deep and prefer the open ocean and have been known to venture 500 meters (1,600 ft) deep. But on occasion, these sharks come up to the shallows to have their skin cleaned by other fish in the area. We went down to one of the cleaning stations that is about 27 meters deep and had about 15 sightings of sharks. They dart from the deep up to the shallows and you swim around patiently waiting for them at five in the morning. It was a cool sight to see and a highlight for Olivier on the trip. He will proudly show you his video and tell you all about thresher sharks, whether you like it or not.

Some frogfish!
Two frogfish! blending in we didn’t see the green one, only the black one until after we took a few pictures!
The most neon bright coral we’ve seen!
Making diver friends and saying goodbye to some that graduated from their open water and advanced courses!
Walking through the town one last time.

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫



Our Little Detour🌏✈️ 👫
A Little Detour

hi there! Maeghan & Oli here — we’re checking in from our around-the-world tour. See pictures here, read content here 👉www.alittledetour.ca