I feel like I'm betraying a well-guarded secret by telling people about this secluded slice of paradise, but it's bound to be discovered sooner or later. Malapascua, a tiny little island off of Cebu's northern tip in The Philippines, is known as one of the best dive destinations in the world - it's the only place on earth where you can swim with thresher sharks - and also plays host to one of the prettiest little beaches in the world, a grotto on the western part of the island that offers sensational sunset views and a chance to watch the fishermen do their thing against a setting sun.
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Filipino Culture and Sharks
Malapascua has two great attractions. One is well-known and the other is not. Many people have heard of the thresher shark cleaning station where divers line up daily to see these beautiful sharks ascend from the deep to be cleaned by fish, before returning. Reef sharks can be seen here too. What fewer people know, however, is that behind the strip of resorts that line the beach is a traditional filipino island village. There are quaint shops and restaurants and a large church. The people are wonderfully friendly and inviting. Even if you're not interested in the sharks, the village is a great peak into real filipino island life.
If memory serves me, I caught the sun rising from this quiet bit of beach five days in a row - and I would still be there, waist deep in the water, if I never had a plane to catch.
Malapascua isn't the most secluded island in the world - it's popular among divers and backpackers - yet I was still surprised at how few people strayed from the hotels fronting Bounty Beach. Sunset or sunrise, I was usually on my own when I wandered the island - and out here in this private bit of heaven was no exception (I did find a human skull on this bit of beach, so maybe there's a reason few people stray).