Getty Images

Malapascua Island

This idyllic island off the north coast of Cebu is famous for its world-class diving, above all the chance to dive with thresher sharks, which are present year-round. But even if you've no interest in reefs and marine life, Malapascua makes a beautiful beach destination, the southern part of the island is fringed with gorgeous sandy bays and there's an excellent choice of hotels and guesthouses. Malapascua is justifiably a very popular escape for travellers and Cebuanos.

Malapascua took a direct hit from Typhoon Yolanda, which tore off every roof on the island, but since then locals have been busy repairing the damage. Some displaced villagers now live in tightly packed shanty settlements around the beach hotels in the southern part of the island, where the poverty is all too striking.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Malapascua Island.