Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Cebu Philippines

Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Island, Cebu: Your Complete Guide

Malapascua Island became famous because of the thresher sharks. If you are wondering what diving with thresher sharks is like, our travel guide should be able to help you.
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Malapascua Island became famous because of the thresher sharks. I had been to Malapascua Island in 2010 for the first time, back in the days when a few foreigners and locals owned a few resorts.

I had no idea if scuba diving was that popular as I wasn’t familiar with the said activity. Upon my return in 2015, I saw many foreigners living longer in the island, and dive shops were sprouting. I wasn’t even a good swimmer and that’s when I learned that Malapascua Island became popular because of thresher shark diving.

👉Book your Thresher Shark Dive in Malapascua here!👈

Malapascua Island
An aerial shot of Bounty Beach in Malapascua Island, Cebu

How to Get to Malapascua Island

If you’re an international traveler/visitor, you can fly to Manila and book another flight to Cebu. You may book a flight directly to Mactan Cebu International Airport.

For convenience, you can ask your dive resort from Malapascua Island if they can provide you a private transportation from the airport to Maya Port and your own boat to the island.

If you want to go to the cheaper route or DIY transfer, take a taxi to Cebu North Bus Terminal. At the terminal, look for a bus that will bring you to Maya Port (approximately 3-4 hours). 

The Cebu North Bus Terminal has been transferred to a new location since 2020, now situated within the SM City Cebu compound, the same area where the MyBus Terminal is now located at the back of the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Upon arrival at Maya Port, you can catch a boat to Malapascua Island. It’s a 30-minute ride.

👉Book PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course in Malapascua here!👈

Thresher Shark Diving Requirements

I decided to take my PADI Open Water Course in Malapascua Island back in 2016. I spent 6 days on the island as I just wanted to have a chill diving experience. I finished the entire dive course in 5 days but you can opt for 3 days.

For me to see the thresher sharks, I took another specialized course which is the Adventure Deep Diving. It is compulsory if you wish to get the PADI Advanced Open Water Certificate.

👉Book PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course in Malapascua here!👈

Thresher Shark Diving Location

Thresher sharks in Malapascua Island hang out on Monad Shoal, which is one of the most famous diving sites in the world. A 7.8-kilometer boat ride away from mainland Malapascua, Monad Shoal is a sunken coral plateau 20 meters deep.

The thresher sharks live in the deep. Monad Shoal is the cleaning station of the thresher sharks as they always come here in the early morning. As these are timid creatures, you need to be as quiet as possible during the dives. As they say, sightings of the creatures are not guaranteed but call yourself lucky if you encounter them for the first time.

You need to wake up as early as 4:00 AM to do this since you will have to take a boat ride to Monad Shoal. Along the way, you can catch the beautiful sunrise.

👉Book your Thresher Shark Dive in Malapascua here!👈

My Thresher Shark Diving Experience

On my first time, we slowly descended going 22.8 meters deep. But it wasn’t easy for me going down as I had trouble with equalization and my ears were in pain. This is the reason you need to be a certified diver because you reall need to learn not to panic and stay relaxed underwater.

When we reached the sandy bottom at 22.8 meters, we were just patiently waiting for the thresher sharks to appear. Until my dive instructor gave me a signal that two thresher sharks were starting to be visible.

I never had an underwater camera back then so I asked my dive instructor nicely to take photos of me underwater. Fortunately, his assistant was diving with us and took a few photos for memories.

  • Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Cebu Philippines5
  • Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Cebu Philippines5
  • Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Cebu Philippines5
  • Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Cebu Philippines5

It was an exhilarating experience. The moment I saw the thresher sharks, I froze for a minute and held my breath. I held the arm of my dive instructor as I was a little scared and also I needed to stay still. Or else, I would disturb the sharks.

👉Book PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course in Malapascua here!👈

While underwater, don’t breathe so much, otherwise, you create a bubble from the regulator. Also, I was happy to see the thresher sharks from afar.

I was a regular in Malapascua Island and visited there mostly on the weekends. I made friends with the locals. In 2018, I got the chance to return to Monad Shoal with an underwater camera.

I experienced the same trouble going underwater with equalization. It took me 15 minutes to go down. Surprisingly, the thresher shark appeared when we were just about 5 meters depth. And that was the nearest encounter I had with a thresher shark. I got a few close-up photos. Well, way better experience the second time around.

👉Book PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course in Malapascua here!👈

What to Do in Malapascua Island

Aside from thresher shark diving, it’s time to do some island exploration. Did you get tired after diving? Enjoy the stunning beach, especially at Bounty Beach. I always did my beach relaxation here. Some locals offer massages by the beach and I fell asleep in a few minutes.

If you’re not a diver, you can do snorkeling and freediving. You can explore Kalanggaman Island as an island hopping tour offered by the locals. For more activity ideas, check out the Best Things to Do in Malapascua Island.

bounty beach how to go to malapascua island
The sun shines bright at Bounty Beach in Malapascua Island, Cebu (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

Best Time to Do Thresher Shark Diving

Between November and April is the best time for diving as the seas are calmer. You also get to enjoy better sunset views in Malapascua Island. I have always enjoyed the happy hour at Bounty Beach as I can order some alcoholic drinks while enjoying the sunset. You can enjoy different restaurants and bars while tasting different local and international cuisines.

👉Book PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course in Malapascua here!👈

Where to Stay in Malapascua Island

There are resorts, guesthouses, and hostels that can cater to your accommodation needs depending on your budget. Mostly, I preferred to stay in hostels so that I could easily decide to extend my stay on the island.

There are also many dive centers that offer equipment rental and diving packages. You can avail of the diving packages for your convenience with the inclusion of airport pick-up and back, private land, and boat transportation.

Your Complete Malapascua Island Travel Guide

Malapascua Island is a small island. Please help on not to leave thrash. Various foreigners and a few locals are doing their best to help the island by creating segregation facilities.

If you are still preparing for your trip to Malapascua Island, check out our range of travel guides:

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Roxanne Tamayo
Roxanne Tamayo
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