Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

by - November 30, 2018

I spent 4 nights and 3 days here and it was incredible. I really recommend putting Moalboal on your list, especially if you like snorkelling and/or diving. It was my favourite place of my entire SE Asia trip. 

The town itself is small and there isn't much there. There is an ATM in the pharmacy (not sure what bank) and apparently there is another somewhere but I didn't see it. From the beach front (where everyone stays and I recommend you do), you need to get a tricycle to the pharmacy. I would advise to just take cash with you: is just easier to bring as much cash as you think you'll need.

Things to do:


I strongly recommend diving here, even if you've never dived before. I did a dive with the sardine run and it was one of the best experiences of my whole trip (probably the best). I did this with Cebu Dive Centre (CDC) and I do really recommend them. There are loads of dive shops around and I'm sure they're all just as good but I just happened to use CDC. They were really helpful, and even lent me a snorkel in the morning of my afternoon dive free of charge. They also have great facilities (coffee, tea, bathroom, and a safe place to leave your stuff) they let you use free of charge if you dive with them.

  1. Dive with qualification: P900 + P100 environmental fee + P300 equipment hire
  2. Refresher dive: P3000
  3. Dive without qualification (DSD): P3000
They do diving at their house reef with the sardines (which I did) and it doesn't require getting on a boat, or they do dives all along the coast line from their boat, including Pescador Island. You can do a discovery dive there (which can be your first ever dive) and that's P3000, or you can even get your qualification there: either PADI or SDI (not sure the prices). 


Moalboal has probably the best snorkelling I've ever done. You can still see the sardine run from snorkelling off the reef. Essentially in Moalboal you walk straight onto the reef, and then about 10-15m out (depending on the time) there is a wall and it becomes very deep, and the sardines are there. Everyday. You are guaranteed to see them.

The other amazing thing about snorkelling in Moalboal is there are turtles. There is a small patch of beach by Chilli's Bar, and every afternoon when the tide is high, the turtles come up to the reef and feed there on the sea grass. Again, you are pretty much guaranteed to see them (I saw them everyday). It's awesome. 

You can hire snorkels from CDC or from pretty much anywhere for P100 for the day.

Kawasan Falls:

Beautiful waterfall about 30 minutes from the town. You can do canyoneering if that's your thing, or just go to the falls as a visitor. I didn't do the canyoneering because it takes all day and I wanted to swim with the turtles in the afternoon, and Anna had hurt her leg so she couldn't do it anyway and so sorry, I don't know what it costs. We did go to the falls though and they were beautiful. We got a tricycle from our hostel and back for P800 (between 3 people) and our driver waited for us while we were there. If the driver is asking for more, just haggle a bit - some wanted P1,300, others P1,000, so either haggle or just find someone who will do it for less. P800 is a good price. The entrance fee to the falls was P45 (67p). When you arrive there will be loads of people there offering you a guide: just say no - you don't need one and it's just a waste of money.

We paid P50 for a locker (between 3 people) and if you swam out to a certain depth, you have to hire a life jacket (I think this was P100 but can't quite remember). We didn't bother as it seemed like an unnecessary expense. 

Where to stay:

Chief Mau. Everyone stays there: it's great. Very relaxed, room are reasonable and pretty good. Facilities are also fine. Anna and I had a double room with a shared bathroom (between 12) and it was good. Didn't see the dorms but heard they were pretty nice. Has a nice bar and serves breakfast (not included). It's 1 minute from Cebu Dive Centre and about 5 minutes (max) walk from Chilli's Bar, and so is basically right next to the sardines. I would recommend booking in advance if you can because it is very popular: as I said, everybody stays there.

Where to eat:

There isn't a huge selection but places I recommend are:
  • Ven's Kitchen: opposite adjacent to Chief Mau. They have an extensive menu and everything sounds great. There are lots of vegetarian/vegan dishes, as well as lots of meat and seafood. I had a vegan aubergine dish and a vegan curry and both were delicious. It is popular so get there early (6-6.30) for a table (or late i.e. after 8.30pm). Very reasonably priced (cheaper than other options in Moalboal): around P150-250 for a meal with a soft drink. 
  • Shaka: same as in Siargao - smoothies and power bowls. Also located just down from Chief Mau. Great for breakfast or a lunchtime smoothie. P200 for a smoothie or P250 for a bowl.
There are others so feel free to explore but Ven's was my favourite for dinner by a mile.

Ethical Wildlife Tourism:

I just want to say something quickly about the relationship between the tourists and the wildlife in Moalboal.

Firstly, don't touch the turtles. Don't be that person. I saw people do it twice and asked them to stop both times (first lot ignored me but the second lot clearly just didn't know not to and were apologetic). It's a protected area and they are protected so you can be fined for touching them, but regardless of that, you are in their environment and so should respect them. Don't get too close, and just observe them without affecting what they're doing (as you would with all marine life). Just because some animals aren't aggressive, doesn't mean they don't deserve the same respect. I'm sure if you're reading this blog you already know all this and don't need to be told, but if you see people disrespect the wildlife don't be afraid to speak up: chances are they just don't know not to!

Secondly, do not go to Oslob. 

I intend to write a whole post about this at some point, but for now, all you need to know is: don't do it. 

If you do ANY research on Oslob, you will quickly learn that the whale sharks there are mistreated, and are not migrating because they are being fed. Feeding wild animals should always be an immediate red flag: it is a direct disruption of ecosystem processes and can have huge impacts! Whale sharks are migratory species that undertake huge migrations, and so preventing this could have repercussions across very large areas of ocean and for a great number of species. 

Don't turn a blind eye. There are plenty of places to see these creatures around the world without negatively impacting them or the natural ecosystems they are a part of. Ethical wildlife tourism is the only Wildlife Tourism that should exist: be a part of the solution and not the problem. There is no valid argument that will ever convince me that you are right to go to Oslob while they continue to feed the sharks, so please, don't go.

Final thoughts:

To end on a positive note... ENJOY Moalboal! You will not regret it and it is definitely worth the trip, and is one of my new favourite places of all time. For a £2 bus from Cebu (read more here), you'd be crazy not to go.

Sunset from the beach by Chilli's Bar

Extra notes:

I didn't do this so I can't give any details, but I believe it is pretty easy to get to Bohol from Moalboal - and you can book this from Chief Mau.

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