FAQ – Homestay

Here you will find some FAQ relating to your homestay. 

1 – Is there hot water in the bathroom?

Malapascua has a very hot climate! That’s why families don’t find it necessary to install and maintain expensive water heaters. But most people appreciate a cool shower at the end of a hot day!

2 – Is there air-conditioning?

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)!

3 – What about WiFi?

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.

4 – What will my bedroom be like?

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:

  • A standard queen size bed
  • A ceiling or standing fan
  • Clean sheets, pillow and a bath towel (but do not forget your beach towel!)
  • The bedroom also has a lock (and key provided for you) so that you can keep your things safe while you’re away from the house.

5 – What are the communal areas like?

You will have access to the main communal areas of the houses including the living room, kitchen, outside terraces and bathroom.

6 – Is the bathroom like my one at home?

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.

7 – Who will welcome me?

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.

8 – In which language can I speak with my host?

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.

9 – How can I reach Malapascua?

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 220 pesos, and non air-conditioned buses, fare is about 165 pesos. The minivan is also 220, 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 2,500 – 3,000 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 show you the way to the passengers’ boat. There are two ports in Maya: the new port and the old port. Both have boats running to Malapascua frequently. The old port typically goes to Barrio Beach and boats from the new port drop you off at Cocobana Beach Resort on Bounty Beach. Boats cost 100 php. If you need to use a flatboat because of low tide (in Maya or Malapascua), you will need to pay an extra 20 pesos and an extra 20 pesos for your bag (depending on its size!). The boats should leave every half hour, but sometimes the schedule can be a little more flexible! It takes about 45 minutes to cross to Malapascua.

Useful Cebuano vocabulary  

  • Maayong buntag = good morning
  • Maayong udto = good noon
  • Maayong hapon = good afternoon
  • Maayong gabii = good evening
  • Palihog = please
  • Oo [pronounced oh] = yes
  • Dili (or wa/wala) = no
  • Salamat = thank you
  • Way sapayan = you’re welcome
  • Kamusta ? = How are you ?
  • Sige = okay
  • Tabang = help
  • Tubig = water
  • Pagkaon = food