I rarely put an adjective on any blog title, but I felt like it today. I still like Bantayan Island more than Malapascua because of the food, which is delicious no matter what dish and no matter which resto or resort, so I would have to find another, hopefully, better adjective than “beautiful” for the title of my Bantayan Island blog.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

I have been to many islands but I would have to concede and say that Malapascua is so charming I would want to live on it if I didn’t already live in another island where I happen to love the people so much. I have more than a few friends who love this island as much as I do now and it was only on my second trip that I finally realized why.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

On my first trip to Malapascua Island in 2010, I got on a boat and went snorkeling around the island. I took a few ugly photos here and there too. You may look at them here. You may notice that I have kept the border style but not the processing. I have long discarded that processing action, and have now moved on to, hopefully, a better and more realistic approach to post processing. If I could go back to all the photos I processed in my early days and redo them, I would. As it is, I think them too ugly to even go back to. I am rarely impressed with photos and this also applies to my own. For every 100 photos I shoot, I think all 99 of them are ugly. When I shoot, I think more about the text and an entire article to go along with whatever I am shooting. I suppose this makes me more of a writer than a photographer, but then again, who cares?

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

If I am to consider myself a photographer, I would say I am really a very lazy photographer. I shoot as I walk and only stop for a few seconds, enough to hear the focus lock, then click, and move on. I keep telling myself I should improve on this, crouch more, hide behind this trunk or this plant or that chair, but I’m too lazy. I suppose it also didn’t help the cause that I almost never travel without my daughter, who turned 4 years old last month, and it was such an effort to carry a baby/toddler and a bag of her necessities plus a camera, and a camera bag with an extra lens, and shoot too, all at the same time. (Did you see my Hong Kong blogs in 2010? I had a 1.5 year old baby, a backpack, a trolley that I pulled, and a stroller that I pushed, and I did these all by myself.)

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

I remember saying in 2010 that I liked Logon more than Bounty Beach, because when I was walking down Bounty Beach, there were just too many vendors and women offering massages and manicures and pedicures. I said it was too noisy. Three years later, I find the beach empty, with only the quiet lapping of the waters on the sandy beach. Had an ordinance been imposed regarding the vendors? Or was it just low season?

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

I had loved the fact that the powdery white sand was still white. I could only wish that it is the same for my beloved El Nido, whose white sand at the beach in town has turned brown. The beach is so clean, you would not be afraid to walk barefoot on it. Even more so, I loved the fact that the paths put the priority on the trees rather than the path itself. You could have a coconut trunk right in the middle of your supposed path, and you go around it. No one is going to cut that tree down just so you can have a clear path. I was quite touched.

And the buildings are beautifully designed. I could ponder on their designs half the day away while I sip pinacoladas in my lounger in the shade of the coconut palm fronds. Coming from Gato Island aboard a boat, I saw how beautiful the island looked, with its buildings blending in, and all commendable in their architectural design.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

They all looked, well, pretty. It’s like your neighbors would all swoop down on you if you constructed an ugly building made from cheap materials on that beach.

The tourists were not rowdy. They basically kept to themselves, if not under the sun. It was as if everyone was there to just be on his or her own. I felt like an intruder snapping these photos away.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu
Malapascua Island, Cebu

Most of all, I loved those trees. Those leaves! I would want to keep coming back to Malapascua in March, just for these.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

And of course, the boats. I can never resist taking photos of the boats. I am a boat kind of girl.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

This island seems perfect. It has that laid back, quiet feeling one looks for in expensive private island resorts, without being expensive or private. In fact, if you take one of the winding paths at the back of the beach front resorts, you will find the usual Filipino community life, complete with its roosters, basketball courts, sari-sari stores, halo-halo booths, and one or two groups of girls, if not mother-daughter, looking after the health of one’s hair and scalp, if you know what I mean.

You can choose what to eat, where to eat, and how much to spend. For an island this small, there are, surprisingly, enough choices. Just be careful not too go out too late for dinner, say nine in the evening, or gasp, ten in the evening, and you will find most restaurants closed. Thank heavens for Maldito though, which, for some reason, is open 24 hours.

Now I can definitely say that I love Malapascua. I still would not live there though. And I would choose Bantayan over Malapascua any time because there is nothing more I like than having to not worry if I would love what I ordered at the restaurant or not. Though from a diver’s perspective, what would one do in Bantayan, other than sleep half the day away every day?

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