No, there will not be. Malapascua has a very hot climate! That’s why families don’t find it necessary to install and maintain expensive water heaters. Most people appreciate a cool shower at the end of a hot day!
Homestay families do not use air conditioning, as running them is very expensive. But don’t worry, families have many fans, and your bedroom will be equipped either with a ceiling or standing fan (and these are more eco-friendly as well)!
Some of the homes have WiFi, but the majority do not. WiFi is also very erratic on the island. If you have a local SIM card, you can use internet data that works a lot better and is very cheap in the Philippines. Alternatively, resorts and bars often have WiFi.
Every homestay is different and unique in its own way. You can check the bedroom of each house in the accommodation page to give you a better idea. Families will make sure the bedroom is cleaned regularly, and bed sheets are changed every week (or at your request). You will have your own private bedroom, with the following:
You will have access to the main communal areas of the houses including the living room, kitchen, outside terraces and bathroom.
A Filipino bathroom will be different from what you are used to. It has a toilet, a large bucket filled with water, and a dipper (kabo) that you use for flushing the toilet and for showering. We call it the ‘bucket shower’!
Some homestays have running water to the bathroom while others don’t. In this case, the host will fill the bucket with water from the well daily. Also, most Filipino bathrooms do not have sinks for washing your face or brushing your teeth. They usually do this in the kitchen sink, outside or while in the bathroom.
There will often be a large number of people living in a Filipino household. Please bear in mind that you will have to share the facilities with everyone. In the Philippines, toilet paper is not flush-able (and Filipinos do not use it!). They use the kabo to rinse after using the toilet. All sanitary items/products should be wrapped and placed in the bin provided.
Although this is different than a hotel/resort, the vast majority of these people love to host guests! They will always make sure you have everything you need. If you feel your homestay family is a bit distant, chances are, they are just being shy! Most families have been a part of the program for three years and have become quite familiar with foreign guests.
Upon your arrival, you will be able to meet up with our homestay administrator. Either, they will welcome you once you land on Malapascua, and take you to your house, or meet you directly at your house, if you’re happy to find your way. They will also be your main point of contact should any problems arise during your stay.
On Malapascua, people speak mostly Cebuano, the regional dialect, but also Tagalog, the national language. Since the Philippines had been colonised and occupied by Spain for over 300 years (1565-1898), and by the USA for almost 50 years (1898-1946), they use some Spanish-derived words (numbers, months, days, etc) and most people speak English. The education system also puts a strong emphasis on learning the English language, and therefore the majority of people are able to communicate effectively.
The travel to Maya (northern most tip of mainland Cebu) takes about 5 to 6 hours. We recommend you travel early to get to Maya in the afternoon, as crossing to Malapascua is more difficult after night time – there are less boats, you will likely be charged more, and during the South West monsoon (Habagat) the crossing can be wavy.
You can decide to travel by public or private transport:
Bus from Northern Bus Terminal:
You need to take transport heading to MAYA – You will have the choice between two kinds of transportation: the Ceres Liner Bus (yellow bus) or a public minivan. There are air-conditioned buses, fare is around 300 pesos, and non air-conditioned buses, fare is about 250 pesos. The minivan is also 350, but prepare to be a little tight!
Private car/van :
You can also arrange for a private car that will drive you directly to Maya. It saves 1.5 hours (total travel about 3 hours) but is also more expensive, around 3000 – 3,500 pesos per car or van. You can arrange this with your hotel or at the airport.
There are snacks/toilet break on the way (for both options). From Maya to Malapascua, people will help you find the boats. Boats cost 200 php. You may need to pay a charge for your luggage also (depending on its size!) The boats should leave every half hour, but sometimes the schedule can be a little less predictable. You can expect boats to not leave until they have enough passengers to make the crossing worthwhile. It takes about 45 minutes to cross to Malapascua.
We encourage everybody to subscribe to travel insurance that covers the following:
The followings are personal preference only:
Keep a copy of your insurance contract with you while you are travelling (including a copy of your passport) – this is standard good practice!
The large majority of tourists are able to obtain a 30-day visa upon arrival in the Philippines. This can usually be extended for a fee (approximately 60 Euros). Your passport is required to be valid for at least six months from the date of departure from the Philippines.
Upon arrival you may be asked to present exit flight/boat ticket from the Philippines, so do not forget to print it before leaving. This ticket must be within 30 days of your arrival even if you plan to stay longer.
You should contact your nearest Philippines Embassy if you are at all unsure of the visa situation. If you chose to stay longer than 30 days in the Philippines, it is possible to get a 59-day visa from the Philippines embassy or consulate in your country prior to departure.
There are no obligatory vaccinations for travelling to the Philippines, however make sure your vaccinations are up to date. For further information, we advise you to contact your doctor or a vaccination center. You can also reach more information on government websites.
We recommend you to check the euro exchange rate. In July 2018, it was 1 EUR = 62 PHP.
There are cash machines on Malapascua, although they are not truly reliable as they often run out of money. We would still recommend taking cash with you to the island. Major resorts and restaurants take credit/debit cards, but local places will need cash only.
There are cash machines inside the Cebu Arrival Terminal. You can withdraw a maximum amount of 10,000 pesos per withdrawal, and the machine will ask you for a fee of 250 pesos.
Internet is very cheap in the Philippines, and Facebook is mostly free! It also makes communication on Malapascua much easier. If your phone is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM card at the airport. This will allow you to call, send text messages and use the internet.
Globe is the network that works best on the island. A Globe pre-paid SIM card costs 40 pesos – you can then add money (buy load) from most people on the island and chose which plan you want to use. A basic data only plan costs 100 pesos (the globe people can help you set this up on your phone). An unlimited data plan costs 500 pesos for a two-week period.
Plans often change so you may need to ask assistance when purchasing the SIM and loading money to your phone!
Filipino climate is tropical, warm and humid most of the time. The temperature is generally between 25°C and 35°C with 80% humidity during most of the year.
The dry season runs from January to June and the rainy season from July to December. The dry season is not always dry, and the rainy season mainly means strong, daily showers. June to December is also the typhoon season.
The Philippines are well-known for their typhoons – there are about 25 typhoons entering the Philippines Area of Responsibility (PAR) every year. Most of them drift north of the Philippines, but the famous Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Philippines) hit right across Leyte and the Visayas in November 2013, generating massive destruction and a high number of casualties.
Climate events are a reality. However, these are predictable events, carefully followed by government agencies in the US and all over the South East Asia.
This is one of the websites that can be used to monitor typhoons’ evolution: Wunderground