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. Best decision I've taken in a very long time.
I soon found out that Evolution divers was one of the groups most active in getting the island back on its feet. Matt Reed, one of the owners, is constantly bring in huge volumes of relief goods and building materials, and has been offering use of his boats at cost, to volunteers who need them for relief-related activities.
One of the big worries on the island is that tourism will suffer significantly and for a protracted period of time, as many tourists imagine that scenes of looting and dead bodies represent the situation in the whole of the Visayas. This could not be further from the truth. There were no deaths on the island, and the mood is calm and even joyful.
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. Evolution have been diving for a week already, most of the others expected to re-open by mid-December, and their team appear to be top-notch.
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; she is Matt Reed's wife), 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):
- Evolution is small and friendly owner operated resort that provides everything you could need to enjoy Malapascua's great diving. We have 16 rooms with a choice of AC or Fan, all within a short distance from our golden white sand beach. The resort is home to one of the most highly rated restaurant on the island, where you'll find food for all palates, and a great selection of vegetarian dishes as well. Just let us know what you need to make your trip great and we'll do our best to make it happen. ... more less
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