Bring plenty of Philippino Pesos with you.
There are no ATM's, banks, post offices or any form of currenc exchange on Malapascua Island so you need to be well prepared. Do not bring large denominations of notes as many of the local shops will not be able to give you change. The majority of resorts and dive centres do take credit cards but expect to pay for the privilege with some places charging a fee of up to 10% of your final bill.
The resorts and dive centres do require a deposit for reservations and many places use PayPal which makes things convenient. However do not rely on using this in order t settle your final bill as the Internet can go down on the island and reconnection can take days on occasion.
If you do run out of money, then you will need to take a barka back to Cebu island and the nearest ATM is located about an hours taxi ride from Maya port so be warned.
- Diving and Snorkeling
No I agree with Muddybok's comments,
If Andrea and Trevor would just pay their sharks and manta's more money they wouldn't go on strike so often.
The ignorance of these fish not to come out and show themselves is unbelievable!
Funny thing though.
First time in Malapascua I never got to see a Manta or Thresher (I was busy doing my AOW, deep spec & wreck spec and lady luck wasn't on my side). But I did get a awesome video of a great rather large octopus.
Second time to Malapascua got to see me thresher sharks but no manta's.
Third time to Malapascua my Fiance & I had a 4½ meter Giant Manta buzz us less than 1 meter over our heads (I will always remember that) and we had many other Manta sightings and a few threshers too, and to top it off one of the guys got video of the same octopus I saw before.
It is all down to luck but Muddybok's got a point. Pay the fish a better salary and they'll come out more.
On a more serious note. Sightings of these beautiful glorious creatures (mantas are my favourites) will be less and less if people keep ordering the shark fin soup (and a thresher has bigger fins than other sharks). And this new industry of killing manta's to harvest their gills into medicine. every one of us needs to educate those around us before it's too late!
ps I think TSD an extremely good outfit and would always dive with them in Malapascua
- Diving and Snorkeling
My warning is to completely ignore the nonsense written above by whatever his name is about TSD. I think the guy has some intellegence issues. How on Earth could they fix it so people only see the sharks or Mantas on their last dive when many people on the boat will have done different amount of dives? Not to mention the fact that however good Andrea, Trevor and Mike are even they can't determine what time the fish come for cleaning. How this guy got scuba certified when he can even figure this out baffles me!
My other warning is that most places on the island seem to take an hour or so to cook your food. TSD seem to have solved this problem and you can get a good meal there in around 15 mins or less.
Not exactly a warning, but a suggestion
I'm sorry to say this, since I really like animals, but on the island there are a lot of deseased dogs roaming about on their own.
When I say "deseased" I do not mean rabid dogs, but a very severe skin desease (I'm not sure about the translation of Italan "rogna" but I found this in the vocabulary) that to me seams to be mange.
As I know that this desease can be transmitted to a human, I would not reccomand to play with them.
Some of them are in a really bad condition and I felt very sorry for them as they could scarsely move.
So it seams to me a good idea to pay attention!
The water in there is salty. It's like taking a shower with sea water. I think that's what they do - siphon the water from the sea which then go straight to your friendly little beach house. Cleaning my contacts needs mineral/distilled water. Your 'concierge' knows where to get one. Better if you choose the 6galllons or something. The big barrel costs us p80. The price was really p60 but we paid extra to the man who carried it from far, far away. On our last day, there was a lot of water left so I used for bathing.
Beware hidden advertising
I'd ignore muddybok's inaccurate, unsubtle advertisement for his favourite dive shop. I've seen Thresher Sharks and Mantas with the people he criticizes. And it depends more on luck than on what time you get there. (I've seen thresher sharks at 2pm, for example.)
The posted prices for the two operations are so close - you're better off going and looking, and deciding which group you feel more comfortable with. Oh, and since thresher shark sightings are becoming rarer, no one on the island is offering a guarantee!
- Diving and Snorkeling
Hundreds Dollars Thresher Shark Dive
My dive buddy & i were having dinner at Ging Ging Restaurant and we chatted with Italian diver couple who are in their fifties who are diving with Thresher Shark Divers. We were asking them whether they have spotted the thresher sharks and the reply was they were out in the sea (to Monad Shoal) 3 days in the row and they have not spotted any thresher shark yet. And the dive centre (Thresher Shark Diver in this case) told them there was no shark sighting for the last 5 days. This is totally bullsh!t because i just dove the day before (i spotted 3 on my first dive) and on the day of my arrival, Angela (boat buddy) sighted 3 thresher sharks and one manta ray. The very day i dine & chat with the Italian couple, two divers from our dive centre have an encounter with thresher shark swam as close as 1 meter above them.
Apparently, TSD purposely bring their divers out to the sea 1/2 hour later and decent at Monad Shoal around 6:25am where most of us from Exotic Island divers would have pack up and ascend to our dive boat. So, don't believe the TSD's Thresher Shark Guarantee assurance because you will miss thresher shark in your first 4 dives and final got the see them on the 5th dive because TSD finally asking you guys to gather in the boat 1/2 hour earlier and descend the Monad Shoal at the right time.
6th free dive not qualified and you still have to pay for the 5 dives and multiply them with USD 23 and you do the math yourself.
What about extra nights' accommodation and foods?
- Diving and Snorkeling
If you catch a taxi and look like you don't know where you're going, the taxi driver will probably go the 'long way' to get more money from you.
They also 'round up' your change. So if the fee is 350pesos, and you give them 500pesos, they will keep the change and speed off!!
Always make sure the meter is running.
Some taxi drivers can't read maps!! Or can't read English. And some don't even know their way properly around the city! Make sure you carry a map with you at all times and try to get your bearings, so you're not driving around aimlessly with the taxi meter clicking up and up!
Keep a hold on your Luggage!
Keep a hold on your luggage when loading it into cars or buses!! If you don't, the person who lugs it on for you will expect a tip! Or, even if you let them get one hand on your luggage, they will tell you that they 'helped' you and want a tip!! Michael had to practically wrestle his luggage from an over-helpful man trying to put our things into the taxi boot! They are really desperate for some money.
People will blatantly lie to you. We had ladies telling us that there were no air-con buses at the bus terminal (because they wanted us to use their bus company)... so we ended up catching an open-air bus, which ended up a bit of fun actually. But, I didn't like being lied to.
Your Friendly Dive Shop - Thresher Shark Divers
Don't be fooled by easy search in the internet when you type "thresher shark malapascua" because the search result will be listed with information where Thresher Shark Divers (TSD), your friendly dive shop can arrange everything for you.
Here is the extract of their email when i ask for better price to dive with them.
Extract from TSD's mail:
We offer quality diving with good equipment, clean air, knowledgeable dive guides and safety at a premium. You will not find these things in every place. You should beware of anyone offering very cheap dives as it is not worth saving a few dollars to get carbon monoxide poisoning. So we think our prices are quite reasonable.
So, you may think that i bad mouth them because of my negotiation with them is not a successful one. TSD describe other dive centres will be quite irresponsible to allow their divers to dive with bad air and get carbon monoxide poisoning, think again after reading my quick chat with 2 of the TSD's divers.
- Diving and Snorkeling
If you hire a boat to go snorkelling you are putting the corals in danger because the boatmen just drop their anchors everywhere. Everytime someone hires a boat for snorkelling a bit of the coral gardens around the island dies. It seems that the boatmen have been given seminars about this but they choose to ignor it reasoning that the corals grow back again anyway. If you want to preserve the marine life around the island, don't hire a boat to go snorkelling.
i had a tiny jellyfish incident......
but not to worry just wash it with water and alcohol and the stinging sensation is gone in seconds.....
maybe i just got lucky with the jellyfish *lol*...i was at the wrong place at the wrong time.........
- Family Travel