What will my life be like on Malapascua?
Your life generally revolves around the dive shop. Whilst the schedule is somewhat flexible, usual hours are from 9am to 5pm unless you have a day off or study time. During the day you will usually be studying or diving.
Due to the early morning shark dive, many people opt to be in the shop at 5am to fun dive. If you are not much for mornings, this dive is entirely optional, unless it is part of your course. But we are sure you will want to do the early shark dive at least a few times while you are on Malapascua! There are also night dives.
We have a busy bar for for happy hour at the end of the diving day and most interns like to spend their evenings there. Many of our other customers also meet to discuss the days diving, look at fish books, photos and videos and enjoy the company. You will get to know and love the bar and restaurant staff very quickly, so it is a great place to spend some time!
The island is pretty quiet. there are quite a few bars and restaurants, but no clubs and there is no huge night life. But most people find it is enough. If you need a city fix, you can head off to Cebu City for a few days.
Are there any hidden costs?
From your very first contact, we try to fully inform you of all costs that you will encounter. We know that most people budget carefully before starting their internships and we do not want you to have any surprises.
Instructor fees, training materials, marine park fees, equipment, accommodation and application fees are all detailed. Beware of "cheaper" internships, as often these additional fees don't surface until you are part way through your course.
We do not generally include food and drink in packages, as we find most people prefer to forage for themselves. You can get an idea of these costs here. And of course personal items, such as shampoo, clothing (with the exception of a free TSD t-shirt), mosquito repellent etc. are not included.
Transport: Airport transfer for arrival is included in most packages. We have not included departure - by the time you leave you may wish to take public transport to the city which is around $4 one way, rather than the significantly more expensive private transfer. No air fares are included.
When can I start my diving internship?
You can start any time. Courses are usually taught one on one and you can go at your own pace. The only restriction is if you are doing the IDC, as these have a fixed schedule. We will help you work out your best window for arrival.
Where will I stay during my diving internship?
Many of our interns stay at stay in the fan rooms at Palm Place which is a private house owned by TSD. Several of our instructors also live there as well. If you would like to stay somewhere more upmarket, that can be arranged. For those on a real budget, there are backpacker options available, some right by the dive shop. Most places now have 24 hour electric.
If you prefer to find your own accommodation, that is no problem.
Can I work to pay off my dive internship?
Sorry this is not possible. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first and most important is that it is illegal for foreigners to work in the Philippines without work visas. The second is that we have noticed from previous experience that places who offer "courses for work"-type schemes generally offer a sub-standard quality of education. Interns will often find themselves used as free labour, working in the dive shop office or carrying tanks all day and not getting wet too often. Rather than Dive Master Trainee they are a Dive Slave, waiting for the Instructor to find a few minutes to teach them. As the Instructors are not paid for their work, it is much more difficult for them to find the time for you - everyone else comes first. Also, if the boat is full, you are the first person bumped off the dive boat when you want to fun dive on the rare occasions that the office can afford to let you go for two hours.
So in short, in order to offer our interns the quality education we feel they deserve, we do not offer such programs.
Visas are very easy to deal with for most countries. We can arrange it all for you.
How much money should I bring with me?
You will not need much, only money for food and basic personal expenses. If you have more extravagant lifestyle, of course you will need more. Click here for a more extensive breakdown on the cost of living
What else should I bring with me?
Many things can be bought here. Believe it or not, they have toothpaste, shampoo and razors on Malapascua. (Handy tip - check the sell by date before purchase, we didn't know that toothpaste could go bad until we found out the hard way on Malapascua.) But for designer hair gel, bring you own.
What else is there to do?
Malapascua is very quiet and your life will revolve around the dive shop. But it does not get boring. There are always people to hang out with in the evenings and our interns usually form a close-knit group. If you prefer a quiet night in, we have a library of books and of DVDs that you can check out, so you are sure to find something to keep you entertained if you are not studying.
If you are concerned about this at all please contact us for more info.
Are there any medical requirements for diving?
Not really. It helps if you are in reasonable shape and of course you need to have basic swimming skills. If you have any medical conditions you may be limited, so it is a good idea to see a doctor before you come. You do need to have a doctor fill out a basic medical form prior to Divemaster. Please see here for medical requirements for diving, and fill out the Page 1 and 2 of the form before you come. There is a doctor locally that can do this, it will take half a day.
What can I do as a PADI Divemaster or Instructor?
You can work in hundreds of idyllic destinations around the world. How perfect is that? If you go back home you can as a work full or part time in your local PADI Dive Center. You will be surprised how many there are around that you never knew existed. For people on their GAP year, there is bound to be a diving club at your university.
Please click here for more info.
Are the sharks dangerous?
No, they are more frightened of you that you are of them. However if you do not want to dive with the sharks, there are many other dive sites to go to.
Is the Philippines safe?
Yes. In all the countries we have been to, this is the one we have felt the most safe in, and that includes Europe and America. You are much safer in the Philippines than in Western cities like London or New York. Most Filipinos are Catholic, and they are good, kind people. Tourism is relatively new into the Philippines, and crime against tourists is rare. On our quiet island, crime is virtually nonexistent. If you are still concerned, have us arrange your airport pickup. You will not even go through any cities - our trusted driver meets you at the terminal exit and our staff will be with you all the way to the dive shop! More information.
Is scuba diving safe?
Yes. Diving is a very safe sport. Statistically it is safer than many other sports, including golf. Most diving accidents are caused by diver error, so if you stick to the rules you are taught, you should not have any problems. At TSD we take you safety very seriously and minimize any risks. In 10 years of operation, TSD has NEVER HAD A SERIOUS ACCIDENT. Click here for more information.
Is there malaria?
No. Not in Malapascua. But check with us before you come and check government web sites if you are concerned. If you feel you need to take malaria medication, please avoid the drug Larium and check your drug for compatibility with diving.
Money & payment
Please click here for our payment policy
What if the dive package doesn't fit my needs?
The packages advertised are baseline packages. If you need any additions or subtractions that is no problem. Once you have decided your overall aim, we will help you fine-tune your package to suit your own personal needs. Common things that people change:
- Add an extra 2 weeks if your flight is for a certain date
- Deduct some money from the premium package if you have some of your own equipment
- Take a two week break in the middle of your course to meet up with friends or travel the Philippines
- Add on extra course packages
- Upgrade some items of equipment
- Get a luxury room upgrade
Let us know what you want before you arrive and we will confirm your custom made package.
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And check out "What you should know before coming."