There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, which means there are also more than 7,000 reasons to visit the country. But here I will offer a single reason it's worth making the trip to this tropical country: Malapascua.
After the Global Voices 2015 Summit in Cebu, I visited the island with a happy bunch of Global Voicers. Annie, Pantha, Esteve or Pauline, who were among the lucky few from Global Voices who had the chance to visit Malapascua, can tell you in several different languages: visiting Malapascua, a tiny island of 5,000 inhabitants off the northernmost tip of Cebu, is a must.
Malapascua, which, depending on who you talk to, means “bad Christmas” or “bad Easter” in Cebuano (and Spanish), is a little paradise which provides a great combination of intimacy (tourists are relatively few) and access to all possible services, including Wi-Fi (a must for our global connected souls).
Out of thousands, here are six good reasons why you should consider visiting this island in the near future:
1. Malapascua is small, and if you are willing to do so, it is easy to feel at home in the small villages of Logon. If you stay just a couple of days and interact with the residents, you will feel like you have been their neighbour forever.
2. You aren't a diver. If you aren't really into jumping into the abyss to meet with friendly thresher sharks, there's no reason you have to. And you might make some interesting encounters in the beach:
— an (@300mundos) 11 Février 2015
3. You are a diver. In that case, you should really see the thresher sharks, the manta rays and the smaller, but colorful, fish and corals in shallower waters. Most of the dive shops in Malapascua are incredibly professional and trustworthy, and open water courses are more affordable here than in some of the other fancy diving spots around the world. You sometimes have to contend with lousy weather, and wait a couple of days until Mother Nature is ready to show you her wonders. But it is worth it, and the grace of the thresher sharks swimming next to you is fantastic to behold, as Elise, our diving GVer, can testify.
— evolution diving (@evolutiondive) 1 Février 2015
4. You like to eat, drink and enjoy incredible sunsets every evening. If so, Malapascua is perfect for you. Happy-hour sunset cocktails—with or without alcohol—are a very nice habit to acquire. Incredible Pork Sisig and Lechon Kawali (the sisig can also be made with squid and is equally delicious) are available at very reasonable prices in the village. Fruit lovers will enjoy eating magnificent-tasting tropical fruit such as rambutans and lanzones, sold every morning on the beach by some charming ladies .
5. You're seeking peace. You have been working too hard for too long and your body aches and clamors for redemption. Malapascua is an island of relaxation, peace and meditative sounds like wind and waves on the beach. Treat yourself! Get a massage on the beach. Go snorkeling. Stroll around aimlessly. The island is not Ibiza: there are parties and discos but in most of parts of the island calm and warm breeze accompany your sweet dreams in the nighttime. There are also no cars—the only way to reach Malapascua is by boat.
6. Malapascua was struck hard by supertyphoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. All the coconut trees are gone, and many community buildings and houses need to be rebuilt (sadly and unsurprisingly, the resorts were rebuilt faster than the locals’ houses, but then one could also argue that the tourist activities are vital to Malapascua's economy). To be able to continue to offer a slice of paradise to its visitors from all over the world, Malapascua's inhabitants need their support. There are several ways to do this. One way is to check out the Save Philippine Seas website or even visit the place and get involved there, on the spot, with the locals.
In case you are still not convinced, then kindly be nice and rush towards Malapascua to respond to Joey‘s “Mayday” on Facebook, as for all we know, he might still be stuck there. Hurry up—don't let him down!: