Difference between revisions of "Moalboal"
Revision as of 03:13, 25 February 2013
Moalboal is a small town on the South-West side of Cebu island. It's mostly used as entry point to Panagsama Beach, where are most of the resorts, restaurants, bars and dive schools.
The easiest way to join Moalboal is from Cebu City. The 80km road is in good condition, even in the second part in the mountains.
Most of the resorts/dive shops in Moalboal propose to hire van from Cebu airport to Moalboal. Be ready to pay around 2500PHP for this 2,5 hour trip.
Taxis cn be hired at Cebu Airport for 2,400 pesos (fixed rate as of Nov 2012). Many of the hotels and guest houses in Panagsama Beach will send a car or van for pickup for about 2,000 pesos.
Then take the bus here (the main company is the yellow color buses of Ceres Liner). Be sure to use an already almost full bus to avoid waiting. The no-aircon (most are like this) travel will cost you 107PHP (Jan 2013) + 10PHP of terminal fee if you don't pay directly in the bus. Air on buses are 111PHP (May 2012).
Coming from Dumaguete, it is possible to take the ferry boat between Siluban (ca PHP 100 by tricycle from the city center) and cross to Lilo-An on Cebu island. There, take another tricycle (around PHP 50) to the nearby bus station. Ceres busses headed for Cebu city stop there regularly, and some of them go via Moalboal (ask the driver). The bus fare is PHP65 (aircon, july 2012)
Note: there are no ATM's in Panagsama beach so bring enough pesos for your stay. There is, however (2012), an ATM in the 360 pharmacy in MoalBoal town (about 4 km from the beach, reachable by tricycle). Although sometimes doesn't work.
The easiest way to go around is to use tricycles. From Moalboal to Panagsama Beach, the usual fare is 50PHP by day, but you will have to bargain during long hours to get that. Don't pay more than 80PHP though...To White beach most people were paying 100-150PHP in May 2012.
Kawasan Water Falls
The Kawasan water falls (a three step waterfall) is located in the rain forest approximately 20 km south of Moalboal (past Badian). If you take the bus from in front of the public market in Moalboal (near 360 Pharmacy), you can ask the bus driver or ticket collector to drop you off at the right place. The bus ticket from Moalboal to the water falls or vice versa costs PHP 19.00. You also need to pay an entrance fee of PHP 5.00 and will get an official receipt. Be careful of the 'guides' offer. The walk up to the fall is very easy and you do not need a guide.
Getting to the falls is approximately a 30 minute ascent through an impressive landscape. You can take a nice cooling swim in the natural pools, or take a raft out to the falls. There are resting place tables for a charge, some small restaurants and very simple accommodation available.
The falls can sometimes be a bit crowded (especially on weekends) so if you're looking for more of a nature experience, check out the guided canyoning tours that are offered by some resorts in Panagsama. Tours start in the morning, above the waterfalls, and you make your way down wading along the river, swimming through deeper sections and jumping down waterfalls. Takes about one day, around php 2,500 per person.
About 7 kilometres north of Panagsama you'll find White Beach or Basdako, meaning 'Big Sand', a nice white sandy beach lined with a beautiful coral reef about 30 meters out. Pack your mask and snorkel. White Beach is a popular spot to visit, especially during the weekend, so if you're looking for more quiet beach life go during the week or make your way a bit further north up the beach.
There are a couple of restaurants along the beach and also a few resorts if you would like to stay for the night. To the south you have the high-end Dolphin House Resort (from about php 5,500/night) and a bit further north Blue Orchid Resort (from around php 3,500/night) and Club Serena (from around php 5,500/night). There are also some cheaper options for the budget-minded traveller, Barefoot White Beach Resort (around 2,500/night) and HK Beach Resort (around php 2,000/night) are both good options.
Not far out from the beach shore in Panagsama Beach, there is a drop-off. Near that area there are countless reefs, with soft and hard corals, many different species of fish. Sometimes you can spot lion fish, water snakes, and with some luck turtles. White Beach is also a good spot for snorkelling if you want to combine it with relaxing in the sun.
Most divers come for the more famous diving spots in Pescador Island, which offer terrific diving. However, there are a lot more spots do discover around the Moalboal peninsula. In some areas there are fish sanctuaries, and there is a marine preservation program in effect to encourage fishermen not to fish with nets.
Dives usually cost around 1500PHP with gear. There are a few "local owned" dive shops that are 1100-1200 PHP per dive. Most of the dive shops operate 3 dives per day and you can even do your own diving schedule on low season!
If you are not a diver yet, a beginners' course will set you back about php 14,500 to 19,000 depending where you go. It's a good idea to look around for a good deal, but make sure to look for the PADI or SSI certifications of the dive shops as they are a guarantee that the equipment and staff meet certain standards. Set aside about 4 days for the course.
Although in Moalboal the most popular tourist activity is Scuba diving, there are a lot more outdoor activities to explore. The area is great for hiking, moutainbiking and canyoneering, and there are many natural wonders like caves and waterfalls to explore. There are a few companies that arrange adventure tours. In Panagsama you'll find Planet Action Adventure  that offers a diverse program, and Freediving-Philippines  that also arranges freediving courses.
Freediving is becoming more and more popular in Moalboal, because the area offers great conditions for the sport. Close to the shore, the reef drops off to about 40 meters (sometimes more) and the water is usually calm and clear. There are several diveshops that offer courses and training session.
You can buy any kind of souvenirs on the beaches and locals will remind you if you forget ;)
Maya's Mexican is in the main Part on Panagsama Beach and does excellent Mexican food - a nice change. They do superb fresh shakes (mango) and have a great BBQ. Chili bar also does good food, and has the best pizza in Moalboal according to a sign outside (many are inclined to agree). If you venture a bit further south along the beach you'll find Arista Restaurant, which sits right on the waterfront. They have a decently priced Filipino/German menu, and great service to go with the good food.
A place that can be a bit hard to find, but that's well worth the effort is Food Stop, just next to the road between Moalboal and Panagsama. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but they serve generous portions delicious Filipino and Asian dishes for php 150 each.
Another culinary delight is to pick up a freshly grilled chicken in Moalboal town. You'll find a good place on the left just down the road from the public market, across from the fruit stands. One chicken is php 160.
There are a lot of restaurants along the beach where you can have a drink with a sea view. Chili Bar in Panagsama Beach is the most popular one and usually full of people all year around. You will find two billiards table there (as in almost all the other bars around) and there's a tournament on wednesdays. Across from Chili Bar is 7 Sins Bar, also with a pool table and lots of seating.
As you come down to Panagsama from Moalboal and the road turns left, continue straight on down to the beach and take a left to find Ester's Bar. The nice sea view is accompanied by friendly service.
On Saturday nights, there is a disco in Pacitas, just a short walk south along the beach from Panagsama's center. There are also very often discos organised by locals in different locations. Ask around where it is, everybody knows. On your way to Pacitas you can also stop off at Andi's Talisay for some late night singing at their open-mic night.