Malapascua has been described in so many ways: a backpacker’s paradise, a diver’s paradise, a beach lover’s paradise… Honestly, the list goes on! One thing is for sure, it certainly is paradise. My family has always loved Malapascua, and we find ourselves coming back again and again because of a number of reasons.
Most people come to Malapascua to lounge on the beach, or to dive. Marine life in the waters near the island is rich and beautiful. It’s always a humbling experience to catch a glimpse of the power of nature. Many certified divers from all over the world journey to Malapascua.
Another big reason why we keep coming back is the nature of the locals on the island. Their warmth and hospitality are on a whole different level. Everyone who works on the island is incredibly hardworking and friendly. This is why we fell in love with this place so much that last Christmas, we wanted to do something to give back to the people who have helped us make such great memories.
If you’ve never been to Malapascua, I highly encourage you to go! The trip is always worth it. No need to worry if you’re on a budget, too. There are so many hotels and restaurants in Malapascua that are on different price points.
Where to stay
Malapascua is home to a number of beautiful resorts worth staying at. Don’t expect luxury accommodations though! Island life is simple and fulfilling, so I highly recommend you allow yourself to be immersed in the kind of lifestyle they have going on.
We always stay at Kokay’s Maldito Dive Resort. What I love about this place is that it is perfectly set up for you to bond with friends or family. Their cool hangout area has a pool table, football table, and nice lounging areas where you can just chill. The rooms are simple but just what you need.
We’ve also stayed at Tepanee Beach Resort, another reliable place to stay in Malapascua. To be honest, Tepanee is the kind of place beach vacationers will love. The vibe is so relaxing. They have good breakfast options here, which means you start your day on a good note! You may want to try other restaurants on the island for other meals, though.
Ocean Vida Beach Dive and Resort is another oft-talked about place to stay on the island. We were never able to stay here because they’re always fully booked, but our friends always stay here, and they love it. I think the location is perfect. After the morning dives with the threshers, you’ll see mostly all the divers from the island hanging out there, grabbing a beer. I also love that they have bean bags on the sand for chilling out. There is also a nice set up for sunset sessions.
Where to eat
After a long morning of being in the water, there’s nothing like having a delicious meal. There are quite a few places you can go for good food on the island. In fact, most resorts in Malapascua do have restaurants as well.
Ocean Vida, for example, has the most delicious authentic Filipino food. Seriously, you can’t go wrong just ordering local! They do have international and European dishes too, including sausages, pasta, pizza, paninis, and more. You should try their seafood dishes, though. They use the freshest catch cooked with local ingredients like coconut, lemongrass, and mango. If you plan on having a glass of red before bed, they also offer a number of wines.
Kokay’s, where we always stay, also has a good selection of food for when you’re hungry and simply can’t wait. They offer Filipino food as well as international favorites like sashimi, sandwiches, and pizza. If you’re having a meal here, try their seafood puff pastry, which is a variety of seafood nestled in a puff pastry crust.
Even if you can eat at your resort, my ultimate go-to restaurant in Malapascua has to be Angelina! They serve authentic Italian food with the freshest ingredients. I think what makes a restaurant remarkable is when the chef uses fresh, wholesome ingredients—and you’ll know right away. Try their gnocchi Quattro Formaggio, their carpaccio, and any of their delicious pizzas. Be sure to cap your meal with their amazing gelato!
On the Asian side of the spectrum, there is Aroi Mak Traditional Thai Food. Their place seems very simple, but once you enter, your senses will be satisfied with some really good Thai food. Must-orders here are their spicy tom yung goong, mango salad, and spring rolls. You can request the staff to adjust the spiciness of the food according to your preference. As a plus, it’s one of the more budget-friendly options in the area.
Life in Malapascua is slower. Here, you really take time to relax, find your center, and appreciate the little things in life. We have kept coming back here for a few years now, and no matter where else we visit in the world, this little island will remain a special place for our family.