Malapascua lies approximately 8 kilometers North of Cebu, in the Visayan Sea. Despite being a small island (2 square km), it is still home to approximately 6000 people.
Daanbantayan is a first income class municipality (in which Malapascua is located) in the province of Cebu, which is located in the central Visayas. Malapascua occupies the northern tip of Cebu and is famous in the diving environment as it is one of the only places in the world where Thresher Sharks, Alopias pelagicus, can be seen regularly while scuba diving. The presence of the Thresher Sharks has driven a rapid development of tourism and is now one of the most significant income makers for the people of Malapascua.
Despite its growth as a tourist destination, part of the charm of Malapascua is that as a visitor, you will find yourself close to the local community. Within no time people will know you by name and will greet you wherever you go, and if you’re lucky, you might even be invited to a party serving lechon!
Malapascua’s community depends almost exclusively on its marine resources either through tourism or from fishing. However, both activities can represent major threats to the marine environment and to the community if not managed and/or regulated. In order for these threats to be analyzed, prioritized and answered, monitoring of tourism and ecological data collection is required. The local and regional government have expressed increasing concern for the decline of the region’s marine biodiversity. However, experience has suggested that marine resources management efforts are limited by the availability of funds, resources and lack of successful engagement.
The Homestay program has been created to contribute to the local economy of Malapascua through a sustainable approach. It is a part of the social & solidarity economic movement, in which it creates new accommodation alternatives without having to build new accommodations.
There is no tourism without culture – no culture without people – so tourism must positively contribute directly to the local people.
Education is well organised in the Philippines and follows the same pattern as the rest of the world: school goes from elementary school, grades K to 6 and then high school, grades 7 to 12. There are two elementary schools in Malapascua, one in Barrio (south of the island) and one in Guimbitayan (north of the island). The high school (Logon National High School) is in Barrio, next to the elementary school. There are over 700 students attending high school, and about 1,100 students attending elementary school. These schools ensure children in Malapascua receive primary and secondary education on the island. However, only a small number of students can continue their study in university, mainly for cost reasons.
On Malapascua, people most commonly speak Cebuano, the regional language, but also speak Tagalog, the national language. A majority of people also speak English.