Travel Guide: Moalboal

What seems to be a sleepy town in western Cebu is booming with active coastal life. Moalboal, a two hours drive from Cebu City is a gateway to some of the best diving spots not only in Cebu but in the entire Philippines.

Home to around 28,00 inhabitants, this provincial town is a well known tourist and diving paradise due to its unspoiled fine white sand beaches and diverse marine life. Divers and snorkelers will enjoy the rich and colorful underwater life of its numerous dive sites, which includes Pescador Island, home to hammerhead sharks and the famous sardine run. Dive shops are located in Panagsama Beach in Basdiot. Beach bummers on the other hand can stroll in the White Beach of Basdako.

Whether you are an adventure lover or a laid back type, Moalboal promises a relaxing and fun getaway that will surely make your stay in this lovely town worthwhile.

The vast coral area underwater

How to Get There

Via Air
From Cebu City

From the capital of the province, Moalboal is three hours drive by public bus. Librando and Ceres buses going to Moalboal are located in the South Bus Terminal of the city capital, they stop in Barili for a short break. Regular fare for non-aircon bus is at P75.00, while P115.00 for aircon bus.

Meanwhile, v-hire or vans that ply Cebu City to Moalboal are stationed in One Citilink Terminal, a few meters away from the South Bus Terminal. Travel time is considerably shorter at two hours, fare is P100.00. Buses drop passengers at the Municipal Hall.

To go to Panagsama Beach or White Beach, hire a trike or habal-habal to get you there, fare cost around P60.00 per trip.

Cebu City, being a prime Visayan city serves as hub of most airlines and shipping companies. There are direct flights to Cebu from Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Puerto Princesa, Legaspi, General Santos, Surigao, Siargao, Clark, Dipolog, Ozamis, Butuan, Dipolog, Roxas, Caticlan, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Iloilo via Philippine Airlines, Airphil Express,Cebu Pacific Air and Zest Air.

Cebu City is also accessible from major Asian cities with direct flights from Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Incheon, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Taipei and Qatar.

Ruins of old Moalboal Church

From Dumaguete

It is also possible to reach Moalboal via Dumaguete within two to three hours. From the city, catch a minibus or multicab to Sibulan Port for a minimum fare. Ferries going to Santander and Bato in Southern Cebu dock in Sibulan Port. You have an option to ride the fast craft (~P60.00) or pumpboat (~P50.00), terminal fee included. It would be better to catch a boat to Bato,  since it is nearer to Moalboal. Upon reaching the Port of Bato, take a trike (~P20.00) to the highway where buses to Moalboal pass. Bato to Moalboal is around 2 hours by bus, fare is approximately P60.00.

Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental is accessible from Manila via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Via Land/Water

Cebu and Dumaguete being the two possible gateway to Moalboal are accessible via ferry ride from different ports of call in the country. Numerous shipping lines link the two cities to the others, these include SuperFerry, Negros Navigation, Sulpicio Lines, Cokaliong Shipping, Montenegro, SuperCat and OceanJet, among others.

By land from Mainland Luzon, Cebu can be reached by bus from Batangas via RORO passing Masbate or by traversing the Eastern Philippine Highway passing to Bicol, RORO to Samar and Leyte before crossing via RORO again to Cebu.

Where to Stay

The Panagsama Beach in Basdiot and White Beach in Basdako are where tourists usually stay in Moalboal. Panagsama Beach is home to a lot of hotels and dive shops, while the White Beach is for beach lover and laid back type tourists. For backpackers and budget travellers, Lakwatsero.com personally recommends Moalboal Backpackers Lodge, which just opened in May 2009. They have dormitory rooms for as low as P200.00/night/person and private rooms for as low as P450.00 per night. The whole area is wi-fi free.

For booking, reservation or more information, visit their site: www.moalboal-backpackerlodge.com, or contact them thru:

Moalboal Backpacker Lodge
Panagsama Beach, Basdiot
6032 Moalboal, Cebu
Landline (GLOBE): +63 (0)32 474 3053
Mobile (GLOBE): +63 (0)905 227 8096
Mobile (SMART): +63 (0)908 607 6240
E-mail: info@moalboal-backpackerlodge.com
Skype: moalboal-backpackerlodge

There are also a lot dive shops and and hotels in the town.

The school of sardines in Pescador Island

Activities

  • Diving/snorkeling: The dive sites of Moalboal include Pescador Island, Sunken Island, Kasai, Plane Wreck, Tongo and Sampaguita among others, plus the marine sanctuaries in Basdiot and Saavedra.
  • Beach bumming in Basdaku
  • See the church ruins of Old Moalboal Church
  • Beach sports: volleyball, frisbee
  • Eat fresh seafoods in the restaurants in the area
  • Spelunking in Busay Cave
  • Side trip to Kawasan Falls in Badian
  • Visit the old churches of Boljoon, Oslob, Dalaguete, Carcar, Sibonga and Argao, all in Southern Cebu.

Tips

  • There are a lot of restaurants and kitchenettes in the area, but prepare to shell out at least P100.00 per meal, but the servings are quite big. Check out Little Corner Restaurant, they offer some great seafood dishes.
  • For divers, the most popular dive shop is the Savedra Dive Center in Panagsama. There are three scheduled dives per day, 7AM, 10AM and 2PM. They offer discounts for locals. Savedra Dive Center is a premier dive shop that puts safety above all.
  • Another great choice is Cebu Dive Center, they offer cheaper diving rate without sacrificing safety, and they are really fun to be with. Shout out to DM Geom :)
  • For no divers, Cebu Dive Center and other resorts organize island hopping and snorkeling open tours
  • First trip of vans from Cebu to Moalboal and Moalboal to Cebu are both at 6AM, the last depends on the passenger volume

*First publication: September 17, 2009 / Updated and republished: March 21, 2011

28 Comments on “Travel Guide: Moalboal

  1. Pingback: Travel Guide to Moalboal - Lovin PH

  2. Pingback: Backpacking Itinerary Bacolod-Dumaguete-Oslob-Moalboal-Cebu, May 2013

  3. Hi,

    Ask ko lang po kung sino pwede macontact for boat rental? First time lang namin to go here for snorkeling sana kaso di namin sure sino pwede macontact and saan ba specific na ok pumunta. Sa mandaue rin kame naka check in so not sure kung sa moalboal kame mag stay for the night. or kelangan ba mag check-in din sa mga malapit na lodge dun? Thanks!

  4. Hello,

    ask ko lang po.. naka booked na po kami dun sa panagsama beach (basdiot).. going to white beach (basdaku) ilang kilometer po bah? malakad lang po bah? o dapat sasakay pa?

    hope to hear from you.

    thanks.

  5. when is the best time to go there, what month yung mababa lang ang tubig tapos makikita mo na agad yung corals ? :)

  6. Hello,

    Pupunta kasi kami sa cebu this coming april 12-15. tapos naghahanap ako ng mga tour packages specially sa beach or any adventurous na tlagang mageenjoy kami ng GF ko. Nkita ko itong http://www.action-philippines.com then nakit ko na magaganda at mura yung packages nila. meron ka ba na masasaggest sa amin na nga places na mura na hindi kami mapapagaastos ng mahal pagdating sa mga trasportation? kasi yung moalboal malayo at mahal yung transpo.

    thanks

  7. How white is the sand in Moalboal’s White Beach? I’m not really interested in diving, I just want the white sand. Is the beach as beautiful as Santiago White Beach in Camotes? We just plan to do a day trip and Camotes Island is a bit far.

  8. Hi! we are going to visit Cebu for 2012 Sinulog Festival..we want to add kawasan falls in our itinerary. Is it advisable to book hotel near in falls to stay overnight or better in moalboal? How many minutes from Moalboal to Kawasan? Any resort / hotel that you can recommend?

    We also want to try snorkling but no decision yet where to do this. which is better, moalboal or camotes island? .

    we will be in Cebu for a week so we want to maximize our stay to vist beautiful places there..hope you can help us to make our itinerary..

    Thanks.

    • Moalboal is on the southwestern coast of Cebu while the towns w/ old churches stated above are located on southeastern side. It would take you at least an hour b4 reaching Oslob town (the nearest). The road from Moalboal going south to Santander then going north passing the eastern part of Cebu is one of the most scenic roads ive been to here in the phils. Worth to have a road trip on this part of Cebu.

  9. do you have any information on how to return to mactan airport? Via bus or Van? thank you!

  10. actually, i’m avoiding mainland Cebu kasi we’ll go there on February eh..(1 month after Dumaguete lang.. hehe) so, i wanted sana to explore Dumaguete & nearby attractions without going to Cebu.. pasensiya na sa kulit.. salamat ulit..

  11. maraming salamat sa info.wag kang magsasawang sumagot sa mga questions ng mga fans… hehe godspeed..

  12. hi angel! we’ll be going to Dumaguete in January.i’d like to visit Moalboal, too, since u said its only 3hrs away. however, none of us are divers.. but we enjoy snorkling a lot..do u still recommend Moalboal for us or can u recommend other sites to visit in Dumaguete since it’s a 4day vacation..

    • wow toni, panay gala. well sa apo island pa lang sobrang panalo na ang snorkeling and maganda din naman ang beach, medyo malayo layo na ang moalboal but if you are into long travel, okey din. may ibang mga sites sa province, like waterfalls and etc that you can visit too, and if kulang pa, mas malapit ang sumilon island of cebu, then kung may time pa, hop on to southern cebu mainland for the old churches insantander, oslob, etc :))

  13. Pingback: Tourist Friendly Cebu | Lakwatsero

  14. Pingback: Featured Spot: Kawasan Falls | Lakwatsero

  15. …hoping to be back in moalboal to explore more of pescador island and discover the airport. :)

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