GETTING TO THE PHILIPPINES AND ONWARDS
From within the Philippines getting to Malapascua is easy. Just take any flight to Cebu (Cebu Pacific air have cheap flight from all over the country, but other carriers are reasonably priced as well.)
From Europe you have many different options. We’ll try to cover a few budget ones here, but there are plenty of other options. From London (STN) you can fly cheaply to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KL) with Air Asia. From there you can book a cheap flight to Cebu (via Manila) with Cebu Pacific.
Another option would be to fly with KLM from Amsterdam to Manila. From Manila, Cebu Pacific is your friend again.
Other options are going to other South east Asian hubs, such as Hong Kong or Bangkok. The easiest option would of course be to find a flight all the way to Manila, and fly to Cebu from there.
As is usually the case with flights, the earlier you book the cheaper you get the seats.
Getting to Malapascua
BY ORGANISED TOUR
Easy easy. If you book a holiday or diving package with any of the big operators on the island, they usually include transfer for you. Just make sure it’s part of your package, and they will organise everything for you. Some will transport you from the airport, others just from Maya. Regardless, the particulars will be apparent in your itinerary. Everything nice comes with a price though, and unless you’re coming for a pre booked dive holiday it’s often cheaper doing it by yourself, which leads to:
From Cebu, you can either splash out on a taxi (rather expensive, as it’s a four hour drive) or take a bus to Maya. If you tell any taxi driver in Cebu, that you want to go to Maya by bus, he’ll take you to the right bus terminal. There are plenty of busses running up to Maya and they leave very often - however, by western standards they are rather cramped, and air conditioning means opening all the windows (which is actually surprisingly nice). Once you get to the bus-terminal you’ll be jumped by touts trying (mostly by shouting louder than everyone else) to get you to go on the particular bus they’re working for. You can go with any one, they’re all the same anyway, and the pricing is very similar. Expect to pay around P160 per person, for the trip to Maya.
Depending on traffic, weather and time of day the trip to Maya, the most northern city on the island, usually last around five hours. Conveniently you will be set off right at the harbour. From the harbour in Maya you take a banca-ferry for the half hour transfer to Malapascua.
Be aware that the bancas are of course not sailing in very rough weather. If you get caught in Maya, either because of bad weather or because you arrive too late for a transfer, you only have limited options for accommodation. Most people seem to opt for Skip’s beach resort (ten minutes by tricycle, from the harbour)
If it’s low tide, in order not to damage the propeller, the banca can not sail all the way to the beach, and you will have to get in a small rowing boat for the last hundred meters or so. The tariff for this is P10 per person, and another P10 for each item of luggage, unless carried by yourself (such as a backpack.) The price for the actual banca-ferry is P50 per person.
... A word of advice - the guys in charge of selling the ferry tickets are always ready to make an extra buck. If you arrive later than three in the afternoon they will start telling stories about how the last banca just left, how unfortunate it is, and how you will now need to pay for a special transfer. (costing around P1000, but of course negotiable) Sometimes, if they think they can get away with it, and there are no other people waiting, this tactic starts even earlier in the day.
Annoying as this is, please keep in mind that these people are very poor compared to you, and are just trying to make ends meet. The proper reply, unless you’re as gullible as they hope or just don’t give a damn about such an amount of money, is of course that you’ll wait for other passengers (which you may very well end up doing anyway). They’ll let you sit on the harbour for half an hour, try to convince you to get a special boat and so on, but eventually they’ll let you get on. When they do, try not to kill anyone. The best way to avoid all of this, is of course to get there early in the day - Try to leave Cebu around nine.
Once you get to Malapascua, get ready to relax and unwind. If you already booked somewhere or have an idea where you want to go, just ask any of the locals - they’re friendly and are usually glad to point you there - Also any of the guys hanging around on the beach will be glad to take you there and carry your luggage for a small fee. You could also just have a walk yourself on bounty beach, (the main beach, next to the one the banca dropped you off on) and try to find some accommodation yourself. Regardless, welcome to Paradise!