Malapascua is a small island off the northern tip of large Cebu Island. Like on Boracay, diving is king here, but it’s no party island. No McDonald’s, no souvenir shops, no fancy resorts, no crowds of tourists. Apart from a few motorcycles, there are no motor vehicles on the island. You can walk all around it in an afternoon. All the dive centers are on the narrow south beach, the rest is where the locals live.

Taiphoon Yolanda hit Malapascua hard. It took roofs off, damaged ships, and destroyed 70% of all palm trees. There are countless stumps on the beach, dead bleached coral litters the beach, and all over the island people are repairing boats and buildings. The tourist village is already completely restored.

Stayed at the Little Mermaid dive center. For the first time, it all came together: a pleasant little resort, large bright rooms, a competent staff, and – for the first time – excellent food. The owner, Manfred, is German and he is a perfectionist. The big reason to come to Malapascua is the sharks and mantas; elsewhere marine life tends to be small.