Category Archives: Malapascua Island

Malapascua island – now with electricity!

Introducing Malapascua island – now with electricity!

Some of the friendliest people I met were in the Philippines on  Malapascua island – we didn’t want to leave!  Everyone seemed to genuinely appreciate having us on the island. Tourism can be a double-edged sword. The influx of money can do wonders for a local economy, but it often strips that town of its own culture (I’m talking to you Thailand, specifically Phuket).

While people have been coming to Malapascua to see Thresher Sharks for years, it’s VERY difficult to get to, and it didn’t always offer electricity.  It’s still difficult to get there, but thanks to some generators, the island now has (nearly) 24 hours of electricity in most hotels. It’s new enough that you see signs advertising that they have 24 hours of electricity; it reminded me of old motels growing up that would advertise on signs that they have color TV. Ooooh!

Malapascua Island, Philippines

The beaches on Malapascua island were both empty and beautiful – it’s so difficult to get to, so only travelers that are very determined will make it. The people that are most determined tend to be going there to see Thresher Sharks. More on that in that post (click the link).

Malapascua Island has some of the best sunsets in the Philippines

These friendly kids (below) stopped by every day. At first they were trying to sell us shells, but eventually just wanted to hang out with us. They’d request us to play music for them – interestingly, they’d nearly always request the same some. “Play Waka Waka!” Every day.

Photos from Malapascua Island

my new friends on Malapascua island, Philippines
my new friends on Malapascua island, Philippines
View on Malapascua Island from the Blue Coral hotel
Raymond takes in the view from Blue Coral, our hotel. It was 1500 php per night, so at 750 php that’s $17/night for each of us (most I’d spent on lodging in weeks!)
Rum is cheaper than coke in the Philippines
Notice the Rum+Coke pricing. 60 php, or 50 php for a double Rum+coke, or 40 php for a triple. I thought it was an error but they confirmed – apparently the rum costs less than soda. – We obviously ordered the triple.
man-made BBQ on Malapascua Island in the Philippines
Malapascuan BBQ – suspend a metal rack from a triangle tent of 3 bamboo sticks with a fire pit beneath it.

Here’s the song I referenced:

We were so excited for snorkeling in Malapascua, although unfortunately we didn’t see a single fish.

Click for more posts on the Philippines, including Boracay and Bohol.

Philippines map

The Moral Dilemma of Buying from Children

Do you buy from begging children when you travel? I’m always so conflicted! This is a post about the moral dilemma of buying from children.

Moral dilemma of buying from children

Do you buy from children selling on the beach

First, a story about my recent encounter. “Buy some shells?” An adorable 8-year old asked me this on my first day on Malapascua Island in the Philippines, and proceeded to ask us every day on the beach.

While relaxing on my beach chair, I was typically immersed in my book, so I didn’t notice them at first. When I’d finally look up, I’d find myself surrounded by three kids with their saddest faces, asking me to buy shells or hand-made jewelry or some other trinkets.

At the time I planning on traveling for another 3 months, so there was no way I was interested in having any additional possessions or keepsakes. This includes ones I might actually want when I’m home. None of that matters, because I’d be happy to help some children.

At first glance, any amount of money you give them seems like a wonderful donation. Then I learned more about it. There’s a bit of a moral dilemma of buying from children.

The kids tried to sell us these shells every time they saw us. Every time.
These are the shells we bought – but I still don’t know if it was a good idea.

We talked with the kids for the entire week we were in Malapascua. I always want to help. But…

Why not give money to needy children?

Many kids are deliberately kept out of school to beg for money for their parents. Unfortunately this ensures their lack of education and eliminates any chance of getting out of poverty.

With that said, you often don’t know what alternatives they have. I want to help them any way I can, but what if we’re perpetuating the problem? It’s such a moral dilemma!

In the U.S. there are welfare programs that act as safety nets, but it’s difficult to determine in a five-minute conversation with a child. These kids were kind and respectful, but in some places you’re really swarmed at every turn (like in Siem Reap / Angkor Wat in Cambodia).

Give children food, not money

We did buy a few shells but mostly we’d buy them food. What do you think?

We decided it was better to ask the begging kids questions and give them food directly. Some will open up and tell you about their world.  I would never want to be the reason why kids weren’t going to school.

What would you do?

The moral dilemma of buying shells from kids
The kids tried to sell us these shells every time they saw us. Every time.