Going on a Moalboal trip and want to know all the best things to do in Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines? We have you covered! Below you will find our guide to exactly what to do in Moalboal, Cebu to plan your ultimate trip.
Moalboal (pronounced M-owl-b-owl) is truly the adventure capital of Cebu. We’ve stayed here four times in the last 9 years and still find new thrills to enjoy each time we visit.
Located approximately 2 hours south of Cebu on the west coast, Moalboal is renowned for White Beach, easy-to-reach reefs and nearby Pescador Island – all home to amazing marine life – and so many turtles that you literally become nonchalant at spotting them!
We’ve seen turtles in pairs swimming under our kayaks, listened to their heavy breathing as they gasp for air above the calm seas, swam and snorkeled with them, spotted them from restaurant balconies, and even seen a massive one swimming at night, lit up by fluorescent plankton… awesome stuff! So, if you love turtles, get yourself to Moalboal now.
And once you’ve tired of the underwater world, there’s the hills that run the spine of Cebu to discover. Enjoy epic horse rides or ATV fun, as well as exploring innumerable waterfalls and rivers. Challenge yourself by canyoning at Kawasan Falls, ride a 1km zipline, or try less exertive fun such as archery and electric mountain bikes.
Regardless of your age, Moalboal has something for all, and with endless sunny days plus a gorgeous laidback feel to a town that’s crisscrossed with country roads and full of welcoming friendly locals… it’s no wonder we’ll be heading back there again real soon!
Below, you will find our top things to do in Moalboal 2021 travel blog with everything you need to know about the best Moalboal, Cebu activities, what to do in Moalboal at night as well as the top Moalboal tourist attractions for your ultimate holiday!! There is also a handy map of the best places to visit in Moalboal, Cebu.
Top 15 Best Things To Do In Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
Here are the best things to do in Moalboal, Philippines. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe.
Stroll Along The White Beach
Not too much thought went into naming White Beach… a brilliant white strip of sand that – thanks to tidal movements – is a crested sandbank at times.
Moalboal, renowned for its reefs and sea life, is strangely bereft of beaches, unlike similar spots such as Coron or Palawan. Thus White Beach is rather famous in the area and can get very busy with locals, especially at weekends.
You’ll find a laidback air to the spot, and there are no high class facilities. Instead there’s many local beach huts to rent (full day approx 600php) and communal BBQ facilities where you can grill your own pork and chicken. Friendly dogs wander around, a few chickens too sometimes! And local women pass by selling freshly cut fruits – dragon fruit, mango and papaya – and some candies too.
The sea laps away at the beach, brilliantly blue in the sunshine, with the dramatic hills of Negros across the channel enhancing the view. The shoreline drops away slowly. Thus it’s safe and fun for children and the reef is perhaps a 5-mins swim out, super easy to snorkel here if you feel inclined.
We snorkeled here with our children who were impressed with the dramatic drop off! We saw lots of colourful reef fish and a few more unusual finds, such as box fish and an elegant white pipefish that swam alongside us, equally as curious in us it seemed.
A visit to White Beach is a must when staying at Moalboal, definitely one of the highlights of our trip and we returned a couple of times during the week. Friendly locals, dogs galore (we adore them), usually some tunes playing from the groups enjoying a day at the beach… and it’s nice and safe with the local coastguard’s Barracuda boat patrolling the area. Hire a rubber ring and float on the ocean, basking in the gorgeous sunshine!
Visit in the afternoon to catch what we feel is one of the most awesome spots in Cebu (equally on par with Boracay in our opinion) for sunset viewing. Turning all shades of reds and pinks, the sky seems almost on fire, and the beautiful Negros hills stand out as if ablaze. A stunning way to end a day at the beach.
Dine or Stay At Panagsama Beach
Panagsama Beach is quite the anomaly, as there’s hardly any ‘beach’ here. However, it’s fair to say that Panagasama is the main beach location of Moalboal (with the real town of Moalboal being 15 minutes away). Lacking sand (hence the popularity of nearby White Sand Beach), what you’ll find are a couple of rough and broken roads filled with backpacker and cheaper-style hotels, dive shops, plus some terrific restaurants.
We dined a couple of times here for lunch, finding one sprawling bar with two billiard tables and some great tunes. Built half over the water (as are the majority of the restaurants along the shorefront) and this being Moalboal, we spent most of lunch spotting turtles gliding below the balcony or watching their heads popping up, gasping for air.
Along the shore road in Panagsama you’ll easily spot the dive schools, with MB Ocean Blue Dive Centre adjacent to the small jetty where you can spot the famed sardines shoal (find more below on that). And they all offer trips out to nearby reefs and to Pescador Island if you’re here for the scuba.
We visited during COVID times, thus Panagsama was very quiet but previously it’s been a busy centre, with many foreign tourists coming for the diving and cheap accommodation. It’s definitely a lively, fun and centrally located place to make your base for any Moalboal vacation.
Hot off the press, we heard from one restaurant owner that the entire frontage of Panagsama was due to be demolished – making way for a real beachfront. As progress/change in the Philippines is far from fast-coming, I wouldn’t expect anything to happen too quickly…
Go Canyoning At Kawasan Falls
In previous visits to Kawasan we’ve just experienced the falls at the lower stage, where you’ll find – quite honestly – a couple of ugly restaurants and usually too many people to make the experience enjoyable. Yet Kawasan Falls at Badian (30 mins from Moalboal) are stunning and well worth a look if you’ve never been before.
But this trip, with our children at an age where we felt was appropriate (11, 12 and 13 years), we signed up for the Canyoning experience. And at 49 years old, fairly overweight and quite far from fit, I wasn’t sure what to expect… But let me say right now, this was one of the best experiences of my life. Awesome simply doesn’t cover it!
Again, thanks to the lack of tourists due to visiting during COVID times, we had the entire canyon area to ourselves – in more than two hours of trekking, climbing, sliding, swimming and jumping, we saw no-one!
Hard to even put into words the beautiful scenes we saw during the adventure with massive cliffs covered in lush vegetation, the brilliantly blue cold water of the river, and many humongous boulders that we had to climb over, around and sometimes under! You could well imagine Jurassic Park had been filmed here!
But the adventure starts way before the river. As you ride with your canyoning team up into the hills, eventually you reach the dropping off point, where a 1km zipline has recently been installed.
Now, being scared of heights this was my own personal challenge to face and, again, it was fabulous! You ride the zipline (500php for adults or children) in tandem and there are parallel lines, hence a group of four can enjoy it together. You’re placed into a strong and buckled “bag” that lowers you into a superman position, ready for your flight. And 1, 2, 3… off you go, whizzing across the valley and back up the other side, saving around 30 minutes of trekking prior to the canyoning experience.
However, needless to say, if you don’t fancy the zipline you can still enjoy the trek.
Laughing and adrenaline filled from the zipline, the next challenge is 60-80 steps up a very steep hill. Take your time here by making out that you’re stopping to enjoy the scenery! Once at the top, you’re on the crest of a hill that offers dramatic views and this is a great place for some pics.
From then on it’s 2 hours of downhill canyoning along the Matutinao River within a very secluded canyon. You definitely need to have some level of fitness, yet there are easier options (smaller jumps, walk-around paths, and slides instead of high jumps) and our guide said he often brings his 6-year old son through the canyon so don’t worry about your children. In fact, as we found out, it’s the adults that are slower, who give more consideration to launching themselves from 8-metre jumps or swinging on ropes!
There’s around 1.5 hours of climbing, swimming and jumping along the river before you reach stage 3 of Kawasan Falls, the highest section. Here there’s the option of the 8-metre jump or a wonderful naturally-made rock slide that drops you into the bluest of fresh lakes. There’s also a great tarzan rope swing that the kids loved.
On down to stage 2 of the falls, which we found empty of people. There’s three dramatically flowing waterfalls at this point emptying into a mini-lake, and it’s a particularly lovely spot for a swim after all your earlier adventures, safe in the knowledge that you’re almost back down and have nearly made it!
Reaching the base of Kawasan Falls is rather an anti-climax, as you’re surrounded by other tourists, lots of cemented areas and dirty restaurants. …a far cry from the natural surroundings you’ve been immersed in all morning.
Pumped with adrenaline, a wonderful sense of achievement and super hungry for lunch… a morning canyoning at Kawasan Falls is the best of things to do near Moalboal.
We chose to do this trip with Planet Action Adventure as we’ve used them often for Moalboal activities and have always been very impressed.
Aim Your Best At Archery Asia
Fancy yourself as a budding Robin Hood or perhaps your kids are more inclined to think of Merida from Brave… Either way, Archery Asia is a great new addition to the fun at Moalboal.
Located only a few minutes drive from Panagsama Beach, the setting is a dense palm tree forest, enhanced by the wooden-theme of the wonderful bar/reception area and locally styled overnight camping nipa-huts.
But we weren’t here to check-in, we were here to shoot some arrows in the jungle!
Never having tried before, we were a group of seven and chose to have 5 arrows (attempts) at each of their five shooting ranges, for a total cost of 1800php (so that’s 175 arrows). Plus, they gave us each 5 arrows extra for the initial practice range.
Basic and cheaply run, the equipment is surprisingly modern and you’re also kitted out with a safety armband before heading off into the jungle… Armed and dangerous!
The first range is the free practice site and here the instructor talked us through using the arrows, the ideal bow positioning and leg stance, before letting us have our (pathetic) attempts. Needless to say, we didn’t hit any bullseyes at this stage! But what we did have was buckets of fun, laughing at how erratically our arrows flew, seemingly heading in random directions. We won’t be signing up for the Merry Men too soon!
What followed was an hour of fun amongst the coconut palms and mango trees, where unusual targets (cheaply made) had been set up. Can you hit the small deer in the rear? How about the massive spider caught in its own web? Or what about hitting the bullseye or the small pig-like animals?
And then, once you’re supposed to be getting the aim of it, the final round is a suspended tennis ball that is, erm, ever so slightly moving in the breeze… Thus ridiculously hard to hit, but an excellent finale!
And after, hang around the bar – set out with Thai-style floor mattresses at low tables – and play a game of billiards or darts, or ask for some pellet guns to fire at their small funfair-style shooting range.
Similar to the canyoning, our kids excelled at this much more than the adults did!
Refresh At Inambakan Falls
One of a handful of wicked waterfalls in the Moalboal region, Inambakan is a stunning 100-ft fall that plunges into a pool so blue it almost looks fake!
As with other waterfalls in the area, the surrounding jungle makes the scene extra special, but Inambakan has 5 different levels which you can explore over 1-2 hours, taking you to different pools and waterfalls – a little similar to how Kawasan has multi-levels. So don’t just stay at the main falls, explore!
This is actually one of our favourite waterfalls in Cebu – for the sheer length it drops and the blueness of the pool. In fact, I heard someone suggest it resembles blue-Gatorade… well, isn’t that the truth!
The falls are located far south, around one and a half hours from Moalboal, in the small village of Ginatilan. Tie in a visit here with Kabutongan Waterfalls – only 15 minutes apart – on the way to Oslob. Expect a small entrance fee of around 50php and then simply follow the well marked trail (ignoring the option of paying for a guide unless you fancy the company, as really not needed).
A stunning location, you’re sure to take lots of photos so keep your camera/cell phone fully charged and an eye out for fun cliff-jumping spots.
Walk The Kabutongan Falls Trail
Near to Inambakan Falls, Kabutongan Falls is hidden away in the forest area of Barangay Looc of Malabuyoc. What makes these waterfalls special is the trek of approximately 45 minutes that leads you there, passing various smaller cascades and gorgeous freshwater pools.
Off most tourist paths, this falls is less visited than others we’ve mentioned, yet it gives you a more rugged experience and is rawly beautiful. Expect to pay around 10php entrance here and you’ll be accompanied by a guide.
Once you reach the falls, there’s a brilliantly blue/green deep pool that’s enclosed by a naturally formed stone wall. A secret tip is to check out the small cave-like cavern that hides behind the main cascade. Local legend has it that there’s a small passage here that leads to an underground waterfall.
We’ll leave it with you to see if that’s true or not!
Take A Sunrise Hike To Osmeña Peak
Osmena Peak in Dalaguete is known as the “top of Cebu”. The highest point on the island, at a little over 1000 metres above sea level, the views on a cloudless day are epic. Stretching one side to the chocolate hills of Bohol and on the other to the dramatic volcanoes of Negros, it’s no wonder a visit here is on most Cebu bucketlists.
Yet, if you’re similar to us and not overly fit or perhaps travelling with kids, the good news is there’s a cheat way to reach the top which is surrounded by jagged peaks of limestone cliffs.
What’s important is to time your trip well, as hiking even this short 20-30 minutes trek in the daytime sun would be far from pleasant. Thus, reaching the peak at sunrise is the norm, but obviously involves a very early start!
You can drive yourself by motorbike to the start of the trekking point, but we wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll be starting out around 4am from Moalboal in pitch dark and heading up winding mountain roads that are often unlit and become increasingly unmade. It’s much simpler to find a local tour company or rent a van-with-driver for this.
But you don’t need a guide for the trekking section, as it’s well signposted and… really … the only way is up! Fingers crossed for a fog-less 360-degree view once you reach the top. Along the way, you’ll need to climb over a few rocks but there’s seriously nothing intense (much easier than the canyoning), thus achievable by almost anyone.
Visitors to Cebu almost always focus on the beaches and wonderful marine life, but a trip up into these small mountains shouldn’t be missed. Spectacular views, wonderful nature and refreshing breezes make it an invigorating experience. Remember to take a water bottle, jacket (as it can feel nippy early morning in the hills), and ideally wear long trousers and good walking shoes (no flip flops). Include sunscreen and sun hat if climbing later in the day.
And if you’re really up for a special day, tie this into the start of your Kawasan Falls day out (there’s even a 5-6 hour hike from Osmena direct to Kawasan).
Experience The Moalboal Sardine Run
One of the cheaper things to enjoy at Moalboal, you don’t need a boat to see the famed sardine shoal. Simply head to Panagsama Beach and in front of a couple of the dive schools you’ll spot a small jetty with a round seating area at the end. Underneath or nearby to this, you’ll usually find the shoal.
If you’re not confident in swimming, to wear a life jacket (and of course snorkel & mask) and then you can easily swim out from the small beach area or jump from the cemented walkway.
And then… it’s eyes down and get ready for a shock as you realise just how many sardines are around you! Similar to something from a Nat Geo programme, you can find a shoal of over a million sardines. Swarming in a circular motion, with slightly larger fish darting in and out, this is epic snorkeling for very little effort!
Supposedly viewable all year round, the sardines are choosing to stay in the spot (rather than being hand-fed in the manner of the whale sharks at nearby Oslob), and the locals have decided to ban net-fishing to ensure the safety of the shoal.
And if you’re a diver, even better. In fact, I doubt there’s a simpler diving experience to view such a mass of fish. Just swim out from the shoreline with your instructor and enjoy a wonderful dive amongst the swirling sardines – an epic marine life Philippines experience!
Sardines are completely harmless. However you experience them – by diving or snorkelling – as you move amongst the swarm they part, disperse, and reshape behind you. With the water temperature around 30 degrees and with amazing visibility, this is a pleasant way to see such a shoal – perhaps just keep an eye out for small stinging jellyfish as we had a few encounters. But, more positively, we spotted lots of turtles in this area, feeding on the sea-grass close to the shore.
Go Diving At Moalboal House Reef
A large percentage of foreign visitors that make it to Moalboal come for the diving. Globally known for its amazing reefs and abundant marine life, Moalboal boasts an impressive house reef.
Bang in front of Panagsama Beach, home to the famed sardine shoal, the reef is easily accessible for shore diving – day or night. It’s as simple as walking across a small beach, placing your fins and masks on, and you’re at the dive site. Does diving come any easier than this?
And you’re in for a treat, even this close to the shore as the reef runs approximately 30 metres out and has a wall that drops off vertically down to 60 or 70 metres/500 feet. There’s an abundance of healthy hard corals – some of the best in the area – and sea fans, sponges, and (of course!) turtles. Large, small, in pairs or more… turtles are everywhere!
Plus look more closely and you might see hairy squat lobsters, ornate ghost pipefish, giant frogfish, sexy squat shrimps, peacock mantis shrimp, candy crabs and pygmy seahorses… and so much more!
And as you dive deeper, expect to see tuna, jacks and if you’re really lucky, whale sharks. And at night the reef becomes alive with blue-ringed octopus and leafy scorpionfish, or the unique mandarin fish.
It’s fair to say that diving at Moalboal is incredible!
Explore The Underwaters Of Pescador Island
Ahhhh, Pescador Island. It holds a magical spot in my heart as the marine life simply can’t be beaten. A small outcrop that pokes up in the middle of the ocean, in the Tanon Strait between Cebu and Negros, approximately 20 minutes from Moalboal, Pescador is a famed marine park.
Named in part from the Philippines’s Spanish colonial heritage and particularly for the abundance of fish that live on the surrounding coral reef (Pescador means fisherman in Spanish), the island attracts endless boats of divers and snorkelers.
The sea floor drops away to over 300 metres deep, yet the island is fringed by a shallow reef only 3-10 metres wide that slowly – and spectacularly – drops away to depths of 55-metres plus. Thus for snorkelers, they can discover the top of the reef, watching innumerable shoals of tiny glistening fish in bright blues and oranges swaying in the ocean currents.
And divers can explore down, with the main point of interest the cathedral cave – a great swim-through starting around 30 metres deep with several exits at 18 metres. This is stunning diving and deservedly one of the prime dive spots in all of the Philippines.
You’ll see many lionfish, scorpion fish, clown fish and different coloured trumpet fish. Spot larger fish, such as groupers, schools of fast-moving tuna, and bigeye trevally. And look carefully to spot great barracudas, glistening in the sunbeams that penetrate the clear water.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the resident white-tip sharks or even hammerheads in the cooler deep water. There’s Snapper Point, home to black and white snappers, black snappers and red snappers.
Pescador Island offers truly phenomenal diving and should be high on any list of things to do, Moalboal.
Admire Larger Marine Life At Ronda Bay Marine Sanctuary and Swim With The Turtles At Tuble Marine Sanctuary
Almost all the shore line of Moalboal offers amazing snorkelling and diving, and you’ll find that various parts have been sectioned off to help protect the reef and marine life. Two of the most well known are:
- Ronda Bay Marine Sanctuary
One of the first sanctuaries to be established in Moalboal, this is unofficially known as the Saavedra Marine Sanctuary (named after the local Barangay). There’s a wonderful slope that’s covered in corals then a steep wall at 18 metres that drops down to 55 metres.
What makes this a unique dive site is that the wall is covered with giant fan corals – more than a hundred of them – and you can view a lot of macro life within the nooks and crannies. Hang around long enough for blacktip reef shark encounters. Plus at any time of year you can hope to see barracuda, trevally, sweetlips and tuna. But for macro-lover’s this is a paradise dive site.
- Tuble Marine Sanctuary
Roughly 10 minutes north of Panagsama Beach and next to White Beach, Tuble Marine Sanctuary is another wonderful reef wall that is home to smaller marine life – pygmy seahorses, nudibranch, squid, puffer fish and much, much more.
But the highlight here is for snorkelers, as the relatively shallow waters make it a perfect spot, and it’s home to many hawksbill and green turtles. In fact, Moalboal is famous for being home to so many turtles that it’s almost impossible not to see a dozen or more during your visit. But if you’re struggling to see them, stay near to the shallows or just before any reef drop-off and for sure you’ll get lucky.
We’d guess it’s almost impossible to think about what to do in Moalboal Philippines without pencilling in at least 2-3 days of snorkeling!
Horse Ride With The Cowboy At Giddyap Mountain Resort
An ideal add-on for after your Osmena Peak hike, why not enjoy an early breakfast and horse ride in the hills of Cebu at aptly named Giddyap Mountain Resort. One of the new things we added to our What To Do, Moalboal 2021 itinerary!
If you love nature, you’ll love this place. Set in the hills with views of both mountains and out to sea and Pescador Island, Giddyap is a cheap stay-cation overnight resort. However, the main attraction for day visitors are the horses.
At 500php per ride, you can join their ‘Cowboy’ for a roaming ride around the farm and mountain. Unfortunately only staying within the compounds of the resort, this is still a lovely ride and is available daily 8am-4pm.
Hang around the resort to enjoy their pool, karaoke bar and – if visiting in the afternoon – don’t forget to catch the explosive sun set views!
Chill Out At Lambug Beach
We never visited here during previous Moalboal trips, yet – according to one Cebu website – the beach is currently ‘trending’. How that happens, not too sure, but we added it into our What To Do Around Moalboal itinerary!
Similar to White Beach, you’ll find a pristine beach that shines brightly against the blue ocean. Definitely a pretty spot, it’s worth a visit if you get tired of White Beach. Again, you’ll find some bamboo huts – mostly in better condition or newer than those at White Beach – and you can also pitch your tent here if you fancy overnight camping.
There’s a small entrance fee, 45php when we went, and you pay around 500php for the beach cottage. Bring your own snorkelling equipment as there’s nothing to rent here, and an easily reachable reef to enjoy. Or perhaps choose to join locals singing karaoke or just linger for the splendid sunset.
Lambug Beach is also a perfect place to relax after any Kawasan Falls trip, as the beach is just south of Moalboal town proper, at Badian. You’ll find a couple of local stalls selling snacks or candy, but it’s best to take along your own food and drinks. Outside of that, there’s really nothing there except local fishermen and their colourful boats.
A simple paradise bay, full of coconut palms and white sand. A ‘take photos, leave no footprints’ idyllic mostly unknown spot.
Say Hello To Whale Sharks At Oslob
Whether to visit the whale sharks at Oslob is an enigma. When it comes to social media postings I find myself often negatively reviewing or criticizing this activity on environmental grounds, and yet here’s the thing. Every time family or friends come to stay we visit there.
And why? Because it’s hard to ignore that seeing 8 or 9 ginormous whale sharks up close is a once in a lifetime moment. And thus you close your mind to the reasoning that they’re only hanging around Oslob due to being hand-fed by local boatmen. Right, there are no cages, they are free to go at any time, and yet… So we can argue the positives and negatives endlessly!
And what of the experience? Your enjoyment is completely down to how many other tourists are doing this on the same day. If, as we’ve found, you’re in line with 100-200 other visitors, all decked out in the obligatory life jacket and waiting in line to sign release papers, queuing to listen to the mandatory safety video, standing in line to pick up (extremely well-used) snorkelling equipment, before – yes, you guessed it – waiting in line to section off into small fishing boats for the 5 minute ride out to see them… well, there might well not be cages but it sure feels much like a zoo!
But at times when we’ve been without other tourists (try early morning), it’s an ok experience and the enjoyment of seeing the whale sharks far outweighs the effort involved.
Once you finally reach your designated spot in the ocean, only a few metres from the shore line, you’re placed in line with other boats and can choose to remain in the boat or jump out to snorkel just next to it (you are not allowed to swim haphazardly around). And you wait, as local fishermen ‘guide’ the whale sharks (by endlessly throwing feed into the water) towards you. And they are massive, awesome marine animals that are wonderful to see up close (you could easily – but must not – reach out and touch them)!
And then it’s back into the boat, back to shore and queue to exit the car park. Worth it? I will leave the decision up to you.
You can build a visit here into your Oslob to Moalboal itinerary with an approximately 2.5 hours drive between the two towns along a beautiful road that hugs the coast all the way down and around the southern point of Cebu. And don’t forget to add in some of the waterfalls along the way that we’ve already mentioned.
Trek And Swim At Aguinid Falls
Here we go with yet another multi-tiered waterfall in the south of Cebu which can be tagged onto Kabutongan and Inambakan Falls if you’re heading right down to the tip of Cebu (ie. around to Oslob).
Found in the tiny village of Samboan, it’s just 30 minutes from Oslob and approximately 1.5 hours from Moalboal. The first time we visited here there was a simple entrance fee of around 50php and very little guidance. However, things have changed and there’s quite a business happening here now, with 300php entrance and compulsory safety equipment (wet shoes, helmet and life jacket), plus you must join a couple of guides (and tip them too).
And off you go, to explore not 3 or 5 tiers, but an 8-tiered waterfall. Yes, 8 levels… it’s absolutely astounding the size of this one! However, at the time we visited only 6 can be reached as they are still working on building a trail to the higher points.
Contrary to the other mentioned waterfalls, this one is quite hard work, and we found it fairly physical as we had to jump, cross cascading falls and even climb ropes (along a rock face with chiseled foot marks) at one point. Definitely another activity that makes Moalboal the adventure capital of Cebu!
If you adore being hidden from the world under a canopy of dense forest, dipping into flowing waters, climbing rocks, exploring caves and more… This is an epic Falls experience which is slightly similar to the canyoning at Kawasan, yet perhaps more exhaustive as you’re heading upwards this time. …but don’t worry, there’s a simple path to bring you back home at the end!
Moalboal Things To Do Map
Best Place To Stay In Moalboal
Deciding on where to stay in Moalboal can be a headache, as the actual main town of Moalboal is away from the main beach/reef areas, and you’ll see unfamiliar names such as White Beach, Saavedra, Panagsama and more.
Thus we’ve tried to narrow down some choices for you, no matter what your budget, your holiday style or who you are travelling with. In fact, we’re sure that you’ll easily find a great place to stay in Moalboal.
Below, I’ve listed a few different places to consider including a budget, mid-range and more expensive option.
Without a doubt, this is our top pick for the premier resort in Moalboal. Just walking through the grounds to the reception you feel calmed by the trickle of water flowing between the many ponds that are filled with colourful fish and koi carp.
You’re hit by the perfume of many flowers and the cooling sea breeze… plus enticed by the sweet jangle of shell curtains that hang around the secluded massage cabins.
A picturesque hotel, Maldives-like in feel, you’ll find curving pebbled pathways leading you to little bungalows that are covered in flowers and hidden under palm trees. Designed in bamboo and wood, the interiors are natural, complimented with crisp white bedsheets and walls, and modern bathrooms. In total 30 bungalows curve around the large pool, some with garden or pool views.
There are standard rooms with a communal balcony and deluxe bungalows with their own private terrace. Suite bungalows have half a second floor (mezzanine) and can sleep up to 4 people plus have a large living room, balcony and terrace. There’s also a recently added 3-bedroom villa which is truly like having your own house and private pool in paradise!
The hotel has a wonderful dive school onsite and a beautiful ocean-view restaurant that serves traditional Asia and international food. It’s also ideally located, with a wonderful reef in front and inbetween White Beach and Panagsama, and Pescador almost directly in front.
With a wonderfully quiet and serene feel, make Dolphin House Resort Spa your first choice of accommodation in Moalboal!
MID-RANGE – Quo Vadis Dive Resort Review
Another diving-focused hotel, Quo Vadis Dive Resort is a PADI resort. Covering all your diving needs – from beginner to professional – there’s a lot more to the hotel to enjoy!
Built on the waterfront, many of the rooms and bungalows (mostly with traditional nipa roofing) are no more than 20-metres from the water, meaning spectacular sea views and awesome sunsets. Rooms are fairly basic, with an emphasis on wooden, natural furniture. They are offered to fit most budgets, from economy, non-air con rooms to mid-range seaview rooms and bungalows, to their most luxurious Premier Suites. These include a private balcony and face the ocean, on a 10-metre cliff, providing uninterrupted views.
Enjoy a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers, a bar and poolside bar. Relax in hammocks in the garden or dine at their seaview restaurant, a wonderful setting to catch the famed sunsets.
Only 5-10 minutes walk to the famous Panagsama Beach (with the sardine shoal), the hotel is again well placed for your stay. You’ll find complimentary Wi-Fi access, parking and the hotel offers Cebu airport transfers and local tours.
BUDGET – Mayas Native Garden Resort Review
Our budget option is slapbang in the middle of Panagsama Beach, a perfect spot to find dive operators and great restaurants.
Mayas Native Garden Resort offers five small native and traditional style cottages, with modern amenities. Basic interiors are surprisingly spacious for the low rates, and they’re all enclosed within a tropical garden that is visited by humming birds. As the resort is just 40-metres from the ocean, it’s ideal for ease of swimming and snorkelling on the local reef.
There’s a small restaurant that’s usually filled with backpackers and divers mulling over their earlier adventures, enjoying the awesome sunset.
Simple, rustic and quiet, make Mayas Native Garden Resort your budget choice in Moalboal!
How To Get To Moalboal
It’s easy to get to Moalboal by bus or car. If you have your own car, great! You are good to go.
Upon arrival at the Cebu International Airport on Mactan Island, you can take the public transport by riding a taxi or hiring a car to the Cebu South Bus Terminal then ride the bus to Moalboal which should take you more or less 4 hours of travel time.
You can also opt to reach Moalboal via a private van transfer from the airport taking around 2.5 hours.
If you need to take a bus, click here for the latest timetables and bus prices.
You can also hire a car or van to get you there by clicking here.
Moalboal With Kids
As mentioned, this visit to Moalboal was with 3 children (11, 12 and 13 years old), but we’ve been there many times over the years when the kids were younger. And everyone loves Moalboal, it’s just simply great fun thanks to all the activities on offer.
Over the years we’ve tried horse riding in the mountains, picnics in the hills with locals, electric mountain bikes, and visited some wonderful caves for spelunking. Now that the kids are slightly older we included them this time at the archery, on the zipline, and for the fantastic canyoning. I can quite honestly say that the canyoning was the best of anything they’d tried – the ease with which they tumbled from rocks, swung on tarzan ropes and slid down natural rock slides was great to see, their enjoyment obvious from the squeals and endless pleading to do everything again and again!
And then there’s the awesome marine life, with early morning dolphins, awesome snorkelling, boat rides out to Pescador Island and those wonderful turtles. The kids were amazed by the turtles, how easily they could swim alongside them and how many they could spot (20 sightings from the balcony of our rented house within an hour!).
Moalboal is a wonderful place for kids that adore nature and love the sea.
It’s fair to say that as a family we’re big Moalboal fans! No visit to Cebu is complete without a few days here!