Back a few days ago from an incredible six days on Malapascua. I had decided I couldn't sit on the sidelines without helping in person, and Silvia at Tepanee encouraged me to come and said she'd have a room for me. Best decision I've taken in a very long time.
Most evenings I ended up at Angelina's, not only because it's the best food I experienced on the island (though Tepanee's cafe is also very good, and the spring rolls at Exotic are to die for), but also because it's probably the main hub, currently, of social activity on the island (Exotic was the only other resort that had a restaurant with this much activity, post-typhoon). The reason was clear to me - Angela and Ricardo, the owners, are such warm, friendly and generous people, that they attract good people like a light bulb attracts moths. This was by far the best place to get a sense of who was doing what in terms of relief initiatives, what the main needs still were, etc.
In terms of food, the pizzas were spectacular, the mixed seafood grill very tasty and generous in volume, and four-cheese gnocchi were delightful. I still don't understand how the wine can be better kept here than in most restaurants in Manila, but its quality was splendid.
I did stay in Angelina's rooms, but saw one of them. It was, by some margin, the loveliest hotel room I saw on the island, with a lovely view on the bay, and about 20 steps from the water.
Many people worried that tourism would take a serious downturn, for an unknown period of time. That would be a great shame, because this is exactly when Malapascua needs visitors the most, so the revenue generated can be used for reconstruction.
Luckily, the Thresher Sharks are still at their sites, and other deep dives are also intact. The amazingly white and long Bounty Beach is as gorgeous to swim on as ever, and resorts and diveshops along it are slowly getting back to working order. Places like Exotic and Evolution have been diving for a week already, most of the others expected to re-open by mid-December.
Basically, Malapascua is still a great place to come diving and hang out on the beach. The added attraction should be that now your presence is more important than ever, as many tourists have cancelled, imagining that there are riots and dead bodies around... In reality, though 99% of the population lost their roofs in the typhoon, about the same proportion, 6 days later, were already walking around calmly with huge smiles on their faces. These resilient people are so relax and joyful, they have an awful lot to teach all of us - this may well be the best souvenir you will bring back home.
For those of you who like to get involved, there are lots of relief initiatives on the island. My favourite is Anna Reed (contact her via Facebook), who is setting up "Rebuild Malapascua", rebuild islanders' houses and set up a badly needed medical clinic. Other good initiatives include projects through Divelink (ask for Anna Aposa or Gary Cases), who have projects to rebuild the school, and also to increase awareness of the importance of protecting the sharks and the reefs.
Please go to Malapascua, it's a trip you won't regret, and will never forget.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Angelina beach accommodation has built in a quiet and relaxing part of the island of Malapascua.We have 2 new rooms of the area of 40 sq.meter. Entire room is well furnished, floor is made of wood and has a sea view balcony. In the beach we have umbrellas and sun chairs to relax too. We have all goods and comforts for you to offer on your tropical vacation. ... more less
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