Extensive travel guide to Moalboal in the Philippines

Sunset

Moalboal is not the most touristy place in the Philippines and yet it is definitely worth a visit. This city is located in the South of West of Cebu Island. We definitely advise you to add this place to your itinerary :). It’s a great place for snorkelling – it really felt like swimming in a giant aquarium. It’s magic – you can swim so close to them 🙂 . Really you are only a few centimetres away! Moalboal is also a perfect place for a day full of adventure with canyoning in the Kawasan waterfalls.

We spent 3 days in Moalboal. As usual, we are telling you everything about our trip there. What to do and to see in Moalboal? How we organised our 3 days? We have listed our top 3 and our favourite restaurants etc. The key highlights of Moalboal are Panagsama Beach, Canyoneering at the Kawasan Falls, White Beach.

We suggest to spend at least 48 hours there! It was difficult to find videos or blog articles about Moalboal so hopefully this post will be useful for you.

Panagsama Beach
Panagsama Beach

Day 1 – Welcome to Moalboal – snorkelling at Panagsama beach

How to go to Moalboal?

We went to Moalboal from Dumaguete. We took a tricycle from Dumaguete city to go to Sibulan Ferry Terminal to grab the ferry to Liloan that left at 9.00am. The cost of the ferry was 140 PHP/person and the travel time is quite short, about 30 minutes. Then we took a tricycle to the Bato Bus Terminal for 150 PHP. It is only 10 minutes away from the Liloan port.

Finally, we grabbed a Ceres yellow bus. The journey from Bato to Moalboal city is about 2 hours. The bus was only 102 PHP/person with air conditioning. But just to let you know and to be prepared, the bus shakes a lot!!! 

Ceres bus, Dumaguete to Moalboal, Liloan port
Ceres Bus – Dumaguete to Moalboal

You will see at Liloan port there are a lot of taxi drivers offering journeys directly to Moalboal. However, we choose the cheapest option and travel with the bus. There is no fixed schedule for the bus but we understood the waiting time can be up to one hour. Once in Moalboal, we took a tricycle to Panagsama beach. In total it took us about 4 hours to arrive.

Where to stay in Moalboal?

We decided to stay at Panagsama beach as it is a very lively place and most importantly because we found an hotel very close to the beach.

After dropping our bags at the hotel, we explored the surroundings. It is a beautiful holiday village just like on a postcard! Then we had lunch in one of the restaurant with a nice view on the sea. It is easy to find a nice spot, as there are a couple of them along the beach. 

Panagsama Beach
Panagsama Beach

As mentioned our hotel was very well located at only 2 minutes walk from the beach. The beach is quite small though, there is not a lot of sand were you can leave your stuff. So we just brought a towel, a pair of flipflop and of course our snorkelling gear.

Panagsama Beach

Magic experience – snorkelling with sardine run

It was beautiful. Just after less than 2 minutes in the water, we could already spot our first fishes :). There are so many, most importantly there are everywhere with all kind of colours. In short, it was magic as we could swim so close to them :).

You certainly don’t need to be an experienced swimmer to see them. In addition, there is no need to pay to book a snorkelling tour because the fish runs are literally just next to the beach.

Moalboal is above all famous for the sardine run. It is funny as there are millions of them. They moved together very quickly as soon as you approach them! We also saw 2 big sea turtles. In short, what such an incredible experience! We were delighted! Then we treated ourselves with a nice dessert in a coffee.

Breathless and amazing sunset

Further, just before the sunset we flew our drone above the sea. We have astonishing videos and photos.

If you are patient and wait that the sun disappears behind the mountains, you will get breathtaking photos. The sky can turn in beautiful pink / orange / red colour. We took more than 100 photos ;)!

Then direction to a bar to finish this beautiful day. We definitely recommend this one – Esters Bar. It is a small place on the beach. Just with one cocktail you can feel tipsy… I am not kidding, they make strong cocktails ;)! They also have snacks and music. Check out our post with recommandations where to eat in Moalboal.

Finally we had diner just in front of our hotel. It was our first Western meal since we arrived … an Hawaiian pizza ;)! 

Day 2 – Canyoneering at the Kawasan Falls

We woke up early to go to Kawasan falls! Unfortunately it is not easy to find a breakfast place with sweet options open at 7.00am and the place we went to was not that great on that morning. We rented a scooter at Majona’s Motorbike which was just in front of our hotel and arrived at Badian around 8.45am.

Canyoneering is a MUST if you stay on Cebu island :). We definitely recommend to spent half day to discover the Kawasan Falls. It is a unique and epic adventure.

What an action-packed morning ! It combined – jumps up to 15 meters, toboggans, swimming, scrambling over the rocks through a trail along the river. A perfect combination of fun and laughs with iconic landscapes. The spot is beautiful with turquoise water surrounded by lush green forests and waterfalls.

You may be overwhelmed by the options and which tour to pick. We explained everything you need to know and which canyoneering tour. See our dedicated post to know about this epic day – Amazing canyoneering experience at the Kawasan Falls in the Philippines

We didn’t regret to wake up early as it was not too crowded and we really enjoyed the tour without being surrounded by too many tourists! 

White beach

On our way back we stopped at White beach. We had to pay 30 PHP for both of us as entrance fees. The beach is nice and was not too crowded. True the sand is not really white but it was relaxing to stay there for a little while. It’s not really a beach for snorkelling, there isn’t much corals there. You can find a couple of cantina and fruit shops around the beach if you’re hungry. 

Relaxing and chilling

Then we went back at our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking a shake in a bar and enjoying the beautiful view.

Panagsama Beach
Panagsama Beach
Panagsama Beach
Panagsama Beach

For the diner, we went at the Lantaw Restaurant because the view is perfect for the sunset. In addition, the food is really tasty and you can choose between Filipino / Indian / Indonesian and Chinese food. 

We finished the day by a dessert at Smooth coffee – it was delicious ! Super tasty cakes :). Unfortunately, the chef was not there so we couldn’t dry the hummus cake but it sounds tasty too ! Let us know if you try it ;).

Day 3 – Last day at Panagsama Beach and then direction to Cebu City

Last morning at Panagsama Beach

We still had one morning to spend at Panagsama beach before leaving. We enjoyed an early breakfast at Shaka. They have a great choice of fresh smoothy bowls :). For example, there is a combo 300PHP for any bowl and a coffee.

Panagsama Beach, drone view, Moalboal
Panagsama Beach

Then we did a last snorkelling session. It is impossible not to be amazed by the beauty of this spot. There are so many fishes, it is impressive.

Further we had a brunch before getting on the bus for Cebu City. We knew that we had to leave at the beginning of the afternoon as the journey to Cebu can be a little hectic ;( … !

Direction to Cebu City

First we took a tricycle from our hotel to Moalboal bus station. We were lucky as a Ceres bus was about to leave when we arrived. True this option is cheap but there is no fix time scheduled for those buses. The ticket was only 156 PHP/each. If you feel hungry during the trip don’t worry as there are many sellers that pops in the bus along the way to sell chicaron (skin pork chips), coconut pie etc. The bus also stops about half way through to go to the toilet or grab a bite.

It took us about 3,5 hours to get to the South bus terminal at Cebu City. Then we decided to take the Segbu transit tour bus to go to Mactan Cebu international airport as our hotel was close by. True it costs only 50 PHP/person but there is no fix scheduled time. In total, we waited 30 minutes in the bus before it left. And it took us 1,5 hour to get to the airport – or I should say to the stop closest to the airport, which is about 15 minutes walk to the airport or you can take a taxi to drive you there if you want.

It took us so much time just to go from the South terminal bus to Cebu airport with the bus. Hence, we recommend to do it by taxi if you can. It should be about 350 PHP.

Top 3

  • Snorkelling with colourful and so many beautiful fishes.
  • Amazing sunset – I never thought so amazing colours – pink, orange, and red, it was more than perfect!
  • Lively coastal Panagsama Beach with almost no vehicles, you can do everything by foot and it’s quite enjoyable especially when you know how bad the traffic can be in the Philippines.

Our hotel – D’Gecko

We stayed at D’Gecko hotel – it was really clean and quiet. And the location is great as it is just at 2 minutes from the beach. The rooms are also quite spacious. It feels like you are in Greek hotel due to the white and blue colour. It was about 2500 PHP / night. 

D'Gecko hotel, Panagsama Beach
D’Gecko hotel

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Phillipines has long been on my list! We live in Dubai and work with so many lovely people from the Philippines. I also love the drone photos you have shared… a great itinerary and I’ll pin this for later!

    • Thank you very much Sharon :). Yes we definitely recommend to have this country in your bucket list. The landscapes and the island hopping from one beaches to another island are amazing. We are lucky to have been able to capture it thanks to our drone :). It gives us great memories 🙂

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