Diving In Malapascua

Diving In Malapascua is well-recognized with more than 20 dives sites, divers can still explore and find more dive spots that are yet to be discovered.
dive sites hidden within.

Marine Life Highlights in Malapascua

Yellowtail Snapper
Yellowtail Fusiliers

Dive Sites in Malapascua

Monad Shoal

The dive site that put Malapascua on the diving map is Monad Shoal being the only place in the world where Thresher Sharks can be consistently seen all year round and  getting cleaned every morning. This underwater island sits on the edge of a 200-metre drop off, with the top of the shoal around 20 to 27 metres that is the ideal depth to spot marine life. Other than Thresher Sharks, Monad Shoal is also home to other species of Sharks, giant Devil Rays and small Devil Rays can also be encountered depending on the season, Mobula Rays, Manta Rays, Barracudas, Lionfish and Snappers.

There’s usually no current in this site except during full moon,and visibility ranges from 10 to 30 metres. Access to Monad Shoal is by a 25-minute boat ride with diving depth of 15 to 27 metres, suitable for Open Water divers with minimum of 30 dives or Advanced divers.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 15m
Maximum Depth: 27m
Average Visibility: 10-30m

Kalanggaman Island

Southeast of Malapascua by a 1.5 to 2-hour boat ride is the island of Kalanggaman which boasts of a white sand paradise featured as a cover on Jens Peters’ Philippine Travel Guide. That being said, this island is has a lot to offer from the south’s sloping reef walls adorned with hard and soft corals to the north’s magnificent wall dives decorated with Gorgonian fans and giant Barrel Sponges.

Marine life flourish in these waters and on the walls such as Schools of Fusiliers, Snappers and Anthias, mating Hammerhead Sharks, Nudibranchs, Sharks, Rays, Clown Triggerfish, Barracudas, Tuna, White Mushroom Coral Pipefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, fields of Garden Eels, and Candy Crabs with Denise Pygmy Seahorses are also regulars. Longnose Hawkfish, Sea moth, and often along the way to the island and going back are Dolphins. Visibility in Kalanggaman Island is between 20 to 40 metres with no currents and depth of 5 to 40 metres, accessible by Open Water divers.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 5m
Maximum Depth: 40m
Average Visibility: 20-40m

Dona Marilyn Wreck

The Dona Marilyn wreck is a 98-metre Filipino passenger ferry that sunk in 1988 due to typhoon Ruby. Still intact and unsalvaged, the wreck lies on its starboard side in 32 metres draped in fishing nets and encrusted with Hard and Soft Coral, and Black Coral Trees making it a perfect artificial reef. Its port side is covered in Red and Blue Soft Corals with its passenger walkways as the main passage to penetrate the the wreck for certified wreck divers.

Residing under the bows are Blue-spotted Rays, Marble Rays, and Whitetip Reef Sharks while Devil Rays and Eagle Rays also pass by, huge Cuttlefish, Scorpionfish, Nudibranchs, Flatworms, varieties of Sweetlips, a Giant Moray Eel, and Purple Fire Sea Urchins alongside Coleman’s Shrimp, Adam’s Urchin Crab and Zebra Crabs. Dona Marilyn Wreck is reachable by a 1.5-hour boat ride with depths of 18 metres to 32 metres and visibility of 10 to 20 metres, suitable for Advanced divers.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 18m
Maximum Depth: 32m
Average Visibility: 10-20m

The Cave

Located on north of Malapascua at Gato Island’s southern coast, The Cave or The Tunnel is an L shaped cave that goes beneath the island and out on the other side. Imagine swimming underneath an island and along the way, you spot Kaugen Cardinalfish, species of Crabs, Lobsters, Pufferfish, Bamboo Sharks, Carpet Sharks, and Catsharks, with White-tip Reef Sharks going in and around the reefs and at the end of the tunnel, are overhangs and swimthroughs with baby White-tips sleeping under the rocks!

It is an exhilarating dive with narrow passageways and enclosed spaces making it only suitable for Advanced to Intermediate divers. The depth starts at 10 metres going to a maximum of 40 metres and visibility of 10 to 30 metres. The Cave has low currents and is accessible by a boat.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 10m
Maximum Depth: 40m
Average Visibility: 10-30m


Bantigi is a muck site located north of Malapascua that is often likened to Lembeh for its superb muck dive with rare macro life. Different critters abound the waters of this dive spot which is a shallow reef that descends to a sandy bottom with coral blocks.

Gobies, Fire Urchins, Mantis Shrimp, Zebra Crabs, Sea Moths, Dwarf Lionfish, Snowflake Moray Eels, Snake Eels, and Carpet Anemone are some of the residents of Bantigue living with other creatures like Lionfish, Porcelain Crabs, Flying Gurnard, Dragonet, and Banded Boxer Shrimp. With just a 10-minute boat ride, this dive spot has low currents with a visibility of 10 to 20 metres. and depths of 5 to 15 metres. Bantigi is suitable for Open water divers and up.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 5m
Maximum Depth: 15m
Average Visibility: 10-20m

Kimud Shoal

A sunken island nearing towards the island of Leyte and on the far southeast side of Malapascua is Kimud Shoal. Hard corals decorate the top of the island which lies at 12 to 16 metres, while the sides are covered with soft corals that falls down to more than 200 metres, with one side having rock formations and overhangs. These are hiding places and home to a number of marine life such as Moray Eels, Frogfish, species of Nudibranchs and Shrimps, but what made this dive site known is the Hammerhead Shark that usually comes in schools during the months of February to April.

As it is also near Monad Shoal, Thresher Sharks, Manta, Devil and Mobula Rays are also common visitors, with occasional sightings of Turtles, Tuna and Dolphins. Access to Kimud Shoal is by a 45-minute to 1 hour boat ride with diveable depth of 10 to 40 metres suitable for Advanced divers and visibility from 15 to 30 metres having little to no currents.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 10m
Maximum Depth: 40m
Average Visibility: 15-30m

Lighthouse Reef

Lying just across Malapascua’s Lighthouse where it got its name, this dive site is on the west coast of the island characterized by a sloping coral garden. It is only 5 to 10 minutes away from the island by a boat and  relatively shallow dive with a depth of 8 to 10 metres. The Lighthouse Reef is best dived at twilight where the gorgeous and colorful Mandarin fish can be seen mating, especially during full moon where they carry out their mating dance.

When the night time falls, however, other interesting creatures appear such as Blue-ringed Octopus, different sizes of Sea horses, Bobtail Squid, Starry Night Octopus, Reef Squid, Juvenile Sweetlips, Cuttlefish and the rare Frogfish. Visibility in Lighthouse reef is 10 to 30 metres with no currents and suitable for Open Water divers to Experienced divers.

Access: Boat Entry
Average Depth: 8m
Maximum Depth: 10m
Average Visibility: 10-30m

Diving In Malapascua

Surrounded by fine white sand beaches usually dubbed as “better than Boracay”, Malapascua is a recently discovered dive destination in the Visayan region of the Philippines. Lying just off the north coast of Cebu, it can be reached by a bus or taxi from Cebu City to Maya Port, and a short boat ride from Maya Port to the island itself. Its name Malapascua means bad or unfortunate Christmas due to a ship sinking on a stormy Christmas night when the Spaniards arrived in the 1500s. A variety of dive sites await divers as the island offers lush reefs, spectacular wrecks, sandy muck dives, wall dives, and night dives.

Climate in Malapascua follows the Philippines’ tropical climate having two seasons, dry and wet seasons. Dry season is from January to June and wet season from July to December, although heavy rainfall is experienced during the months of July to September. Average temperature in Malapascua falls between 24 degrees Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius as it is normally dry and sunny most of the year. Water temperature ranges from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and the depths go from 10 to 40 metres. Best time to dive is from December to April.

As Malapascua is newly recognized in diving, the reefs, walls, and the overgrown wrecks are still in pristine condition. There are unspoiled coral gardens adorning the seabed, muck sandy bottoms that feature colorful critters, underwater caves, and wrecks decorated by hard and soft corals. Having more than 20 dives sites, divers can still explore and find more dive spots that are yet to be discovered. It was even rated by some divers as one of the world’s best dive destination.

Having that reputation, divers will surely be left in awe for when there are different dive areas and habitats, there is also a huge diversity in marine life. Micro and excellent macro life is present in Malapascua’s waters. One that has put Malapascua on the dive map are the Thresher Sharks which can be seen year round, up close. Other notable sightings are Hammerhead sharks (usually seen from December to April), White-tip Reef Sharks, Manta, Mobula and Devil Rays, Mandarin fish, Pygmy Seahorses, numerous Nudibranchs, and Cuttlefish. And if that’s not enough, Clown Triggerfish, Frogfish, Smashing Mantis Shrimp, Snappers, Fusiliers, Tunas, and Barracudas are also regulars, giving divers plenty to see on their dives in Malapascua.

Best Diving Season: December to April
Weather: April to May (Dry season) August to November (Wet Season)
Water Temperature: 25°C-30°C.
Marine Animal Highlights: Hammerhead sharks, White-tip Reef Sharks, Manta, Mobula and Devil Rays, Mandarin fish, Pygmy Seahorses, numerous Nudibranchs, and Cuttlefish
Recommended Thermal Protection:
Water Visibility: 10m-20m

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