Exploring Malapascua, Bantayan and Kalanggaman

It’s been a while. Around four years ago, I came back from my first trip to the Philippines. In May 2019, I had two weeks of holidays and one goal: Try out my DJI Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal, which I got as a birthday gift a week before. And it was a gorgeous trip!

I visited the relaxing island of Malapascua, headed out to the most magnificent place called Kalanggaman Island and finally stopped by the town of Santa Fe on Bantayan Island. And this movie was the result. At this time, it was my second movie ever edited, and everything was done on my iPad with Lumafusion. Although at that time my video editing skills were limited, I think the clip showcases what makes the northern part of Cebu so special: its natural beauty.

I began my journey at the airport in Cebu. At this time, I only had a few hours to reach the Maya – Malapascua Ferry Terminal. So I did rent a car up to the ferry port, as the last ferry was scheduled at about 5 pm the same day. My plan was to spend the first three nights on the beautiful island of Malapascua.

My travel plan, made in 2019: Cebu Airport (1) – Malapascua Island (2) – Kalanggaman Island (3) – Bantayan Island, Santa Fe (4)

Best places to visit in Malapascua:

Malapascua Island is known for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and vibrant marine life. Here are some of the best places to visit on Malapascua Island:

  • Bounty Beach: This is the most popular beach on the island, known for its white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkelling.
  • Bounty Beach in the south is the best place to stay overnight. There you are also able to find some shops and restaurants.
  • Island North Beach: This is probably the best beach you will find in the north of the island.
  • You can use Malapasuca as starting point for a day trip to Kalanggaman Island.

Further I also heard about these places, especially great for divers.

  • Gato Island: Gato Island is a popular diving spot, known for its underwater caves and tunnels. It’s also home to a variety of marine life, including sea snakes, octopuses, and schools of fish.
  • Tresher Cove: Another great spot for diving, Tresher Cove is known for its steep walls and diverse marine life. It’s a popular spot for spotting thresher sharks, as well as manta rays and other species.
Crossing the sea on the way to Kalanggaman Island

The biggest reason why I initially visited Malapascua: I used the island as starting point for a day trip to Kalanggaman Island. Once arrived, I booked a local tour with a catamaran. The island is located in the middle of the sea and is not much more than a sandbank. The overnight possibilities are very limited (camping is possible). But it was undoubtedly one of the most exciting places I had visited in my life so far.

Impressive sandbench on Kalanggaman Island

One of the biggest challenges I faced during my trip was getting from Malapascua to Santa Fe on Bantayan Island. It’s a journey that takes almost an entire day by public transport, requiring a ferry ride back to Maya Port, two buses to Hagnaya Port, and the hope that the boat to Bantayan was waiting upon arrival.

Thankfully, I discovered a unique solution: renting a small private fishing boat for a direct trip from Malapascua to Santa Fe. The three-hour journey across the sea was an unforgettable experience, especially as a Swiss native accustomed to mountain landscapes. Though the journey presented a challenge, it ultimately opened up new opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Beach nearby Santa Fe, Bantayan Island

In my second movie, I focused on Bantayan Island and a small city called Santa Fe. Awesome sunsets, impressive beaches and magnificent islands. Here are some points about Santa Fe and Bantayan Island, which stick still with me, even years after the visit.

  • Beautiful beaches: Santa Fe is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the Philippines, including Sugar Beach, Kota Beach, and Maricaban Beach. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters, soft white sand, and incredible views. Once I arrived there I felt like in a totally different world.
  • Island hopping: Bantayan Island is surrounded by smaller islands that are perfect for island hopping. You can visit Virgin Island, Hilantagaan Island, and other nearby islands.
  • Scuba diving and snorkelling: The waters around Bantayan Island are crowded with marine life, making it a great spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. I just did the snorkelling part, as unfortunately, I am not a very good diver.
  • Santa Fe downtown and the local cuisine: Santa Fe has a pretty nice food scene, with many restaurants and eateries serving up delicious local dishes. Otherwise is the town super quiet and a wonderful place to relax.

If you are interested in visiting Bantayan Island and you need the help of a local tour guide, I highly recommend this agency here. Maria is a very trustworthy person. Meanwhile, she got one of my friends. You can contact her on this Facebook page.

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