Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I knew that getting to Malapascua would take some time but I didn’t realize it would be as tricky as it turned out to be. That day of our departure may as well have been Friday the thirteenth.
It all started with our airline, Cebu Pacific. I got a text from Mike on Friday morning that our flight would be three hours delayed, so what was originally an afternoon flight (5:40PM) was going to be an evening flight (8:40PM). This consistently inefficient budget airline could not offer us any alternatives so we had no choice but to resign ourselves to the delay.
It was also pouring that Friday evening. A tropical storm was hovering over Luzon, causing a downpour that was aggravating the usual weekend traffic. It was at that moment that it felt like things would not go as planned, but I kept quiet as I was very eager to get out of town. Two hours before out flight, we got on a cab and headed to the airport. It was traffic, as expected, but fifteen minutes later, our cab driver basically forced us out of the cab, refusing to to take us to the airport due to the traffic. What terrible luck, I thought. Thankfully, we were able to find another cab quick enough to get us to the airport on time. But unfortunately again, our airline, was another hour delayed. So we left Manila close to 10PM and arrived in Cebu, exhausted and not quite feeling the holiday . We (Mike, myself and three friends) all went to bed eagerly anticipating a bright and better day.
The following day, the five of us hopped onto a minivan for a three hour drive to the Maya port. I was relieved to be getting out of the city and everyone was in good spirits. Driving along the coast definitely helped with putting everybody in a more relaxed state. Upon arrival at the port, we were quickly surrounded by boat men offering us a ride to Malapascua Island. We knew that the regular fare was 80 Php per head but we were given the option to take a special boat. For a total of 1200 Php, we could rent the entire boat all to ourselves and leave right away. We opted for the special boat. As we loaded all our bags and were ready to leave, we noticed that the boat men seemed to be stalling. We insisted on leaving immediately but they were whispering and my ability to speak and understand Visayan isn’t good enough to pick up on their conversation. Shortly after, people were coming towards our boat and started loading their bags. The Captain accepted other passengers after receiving our payment for our supposedly exclusive boat. Being the only Filipino among the five of us, I was left with the job of trying to get our money back, but the boat men had every response ready. This scenario seemed like your usual modus operandi which now had everybody upset. Long story short, we got some of our money back but they insisted on keeping more money than they should have. We were so frustrated at this point that all we wanted was to get on the island. Karma, I thought, could take care of those opportunists.
More confusion ensues on Malapascua island. Upon arriving at our resort, Hippocampus, the receptionist tells us that we DID NOT make a reservation. We confidently show them our confirmation print out from booking.com but it took them a good 30 minutes to figure everything out. After the string of misadventures, that was just not the welcome we were hoping for. We checked into our rooms, got into our bathing suits and tried to forget about the numerous ordeals that we encountered en route to Malapascua.
Thankfully, the island of Malapascua came through for us. The sun shone the entire time and we all left the place feeling refreshed and revitalized. There were some hiccups that made the trip more interesting but i’ll save that for another post. Ultimately, Malapascua’s gift of blue skies and clear waters overshadowed the dreary road to island.
A little piece of advice to people planning to visit Malapasuca – go with the hotel transfer. It will cost a little more but is definitely more convenient. If you’re going as a group, it’s actually a pretty good deal and not much more from what the locals charge.
If you do decide to get there on your own, refuse the boatmen’s offer for an exclusive boat because no matter what they say, they will load that boat with other people anyway.