Diving in Malapascua Island, Cebu

A half days’ journey from Cebu, Malapascua is a small island that promised much and delivered as promised. The trip here was a bit of an ordeal, but the diving was top notch and world class. Never have I ever seen so many different things in a single dive trip compared to Malapascua. Of course, we went there for the famous and elegant Thresher Sharks (check out the bad boy pictured below!) but by the time we left, we had fallen in love with the island and its dive sites.

Taken with my brand new Nikon Coolpix AW130

The Thresher Shark Dive Experience – Monad Shoal

Be prepared to get up early. Very early. We set off from the dive shop at around 4.45 a.m. and were in the water at 5.30 a.m. From there, we descended to a depth of ~30 m to the thresher shark cleaning station. Yes, it’s a pretty deep dive but these babies live deep underwater and ascend from the blue in the wee hours for their cleaning sessions!

Both times we did the dive, we saw about 4 – 5 sharks each dive. Visibility was amazing the first morning, not so great the second time round. Either way, this was a nice and refreshing change from the numerous white- and blacktip reef sharks I’ve been seeing!

Protip At the cleaning station, you pretty much just wait in position for them to appear. That said, it slopes down into the blue… so, it’s much better to have your side facing the open ocean. That way, you don’t end up sliding down and having to inch up constantly.

Other dives in Malapascua

Since we had signed up for a package of 8 dives with Thresher Shark Divers, we visited numerous other sites – my favourite being Chocolate Island. It was a rather easy dive featuring beautiful nudibranches, sea snakes, cuttlefish and my FIRST EVER seahorse! We also spotted three weird looking frogfish. All in one dive.

What I’ll say about Malapascua – in each and every one of those 8 dives, I saw something different. That’s pretty rare so I was understandably dazzled by the end of my trip. I kinda wish that I had the time to visit Gato Island, which people recommend for the swim through and circling sharks, but unfortunately 5 days were insufficient and 8 dives was definitely the tip of the iceberg. I will be back, Malapascua!

Dive Companies

Seems every third shop you see is a dive company; We dived with Thresher Shark Divers and loved every minute of it. Their staff was professional and the service personalized and top notch. Dave the office manager was great and our divemasters Gary and JT were fun and managed to spot so many things underwater! I would thoroughly recommend TSD.


  • Recommended diving experience: Advanced (most dives we went to ~21m, a few times we almost hit our decomp limit of 5 minutes)
  • Stellar diving experience with: Thresher Shark Divers
  • Great for: Thresher Shark Dives, Macro life (fantastic array of nudibranches, seahorses, sea spiders, shrimps and crabs), Frogfish, Mandarin fish

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