July 10-16, 2017
Location : Sumisid Lodge, Panagsama Beach, Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu
GPS waypoint: 9°57'00.6"N 123°21'56.8"E
Moalboal is a special place for many reasons. It's only 3 hours away from Cebu City, it's not as densely crowded as Boracay, fine white sand beach, abysmal depths to 300m, intense coral reef, tourist hub where it's easy to find resorts, restos and bars, and its signature feature - the sardine bowl.
They swarm in the millions! The sardines were first seen in Pescador Island 8 years ago but since 3 years ago, chose Panagsama Beach as their new home. They are no more than 20 meters from the beach. It's not one massive bowl but several schools that break up and converge again. I've seen adult bowls, mid-sized bowls and even juvenile bowls. They all swim in a fluid school as though there is only one intelligence controlling where they go. It is fascinationg to swim through them and not see where you are going because they so dense it felt like being in a thick fog.
The good folks at Oasis Resort in Panglao (Bohol) liked the web campaign I did for them. Now in Moalboal with their sister company, Sumisid Lodge, they agreed to let me do exactly the same thing - sweet!
Sumisid Lodge is right smack on the beachfront where the sardine bowl is. Yes, no need to take a boat ride to the sardines - they are right in front. Unlike some resorts with no beach, Sumisid Lodge has fine white sand beach for sun bathing or beach bumming. It has a wide open resto facing the sea with beach tables within a terraced fence.
If I'm not diving or exploring the other establishments in Panagsama, I simply default to its open resto by the beach to do my online stuff. An office by the beach? I'm living it!
With the expat community, vacationers and travellers, night life comes alive in Panagsama Beach. There is no problem with western type food, Italian or local cuisine. Bars are numerous with their regulars. 7 Sins Bar even accepts Bitcoin and has acoustic music Fridays. Beer in expensive bars can go as low as P45/Pilsen. Chic, Cafe Cebuana Moalboal, on stilts by the water, prices Pilsen at P50! Live band plays at One-Eyed Jack on weekends.
Walk on the Beach?
Unlike Boracay or Alona Beach, Panagsama's beach is separated by jetties along resort-property lines. Some resorts are built right up the water. Sunset walk on the beach? Not along Panagsama Beach. You might have better luck in Basdaku where some resorts do not create sand barriers, allowing the sand to shift naturally.
Cebu yogini friend, AJ, frequents Moalboal. And as good fortune would have it, she was around. She joined me for breakfast and we just hung-out for most of the day...afternoon beer and evening wine. Mostly, we lingered at Sumisid Lodge's open resto facing the water. Time just stopped as we shared stories and insight.
Moalboal seems to be attracting the good peeps of Cebu. Wei, another yogini/freediver from Cebu has chosen to relocate here in pursuit of her bliss. She was my breakfast guest and together, we discussed looming possibilities for a collaborative work.
Not wanting for my high school buddy, Ferd, to miss out on a good thing, I again invited me to join me as my guest in Sumisid Lodge. We had been snorkeling since high school. Moalboal's reef is as good as any of the best spots around. With Ferd, drift-snorkeling/freedive is fair game.
Robbie is an idealist! As Peace Corps volunteer, she'd been doing the impossible - to put up a functional library for Moalboal without the cooperation of the local decision-makers. Often, changing people's minds is a lot more difficult than the actual construction work. Good luck Robbie, I feel your frustration but I also feel your unbridled enthusiasm.
Having finished my 5 nights at Sumisid Lodge, I was on my own again to look for lodging - either a resort deal or find a cheap place. Luckily, Ferd was still around to split the cost 2-ways. Now that he's gone, I'm back to pounding the pavement again for sweet deals. Luckily, I found Rosita's Cottages.
At Rosita's Cottages, I had a small house to myself - kitchen, washroom, porch, a/c room, cable tv and wifi. Life was once again kind and generous. My cottage was a short 2-min walk to the beach where I could snorkel or do freedives. I was close to another cluster of restos and bar for a new scene. It felt like having a new life and starting all over again.
Usually, I leave the place and head-out to another destination when I run out of lodging places to stay with. But Moalboal still works out. I still want to do a few things here - make a little cash for my travels and find a suitable land for Jeanne for that envisioned Dragonfly Yoga Shala. Crossing my fingers, I begin a new day.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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Moalboal Google Map
Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
Travel Tips about Moalboal
- money changer - there are 2 money changes here in Panagsama Beach - Saavedra Cottages and the small store in front of Cora's Cottages. They both offer dismal rates. Best exchange rate is at Gaisano Moalboal town center (bring an ID!!!) followed by M. Lhuillier, then Palawan
- weather - even though it might be raining cats-and-dogs in Cebu City or in Negros Oriental, the sun is likely to be out in Moalboal. It only rains there if there is an actual monsoon. So don't let that rain scare you off from your dive trip.
- tricycle - rides could end up pricey if you don't plan for it. Best to get a price established with a tricycle or motorcycle driver as you arrive (usually P50/pax for single motorcycle ride and P100/trip for a tricycle) to White Beach. Then arrange for a date/time pick-up from your resort at that same price rate (otherwise you will end up paying for a round trip)
- folding bike - if you really want to save up on tricycle fare (which could seriously add up if you keep going back and forth from Panagsama - White Beach), bring a folding bike with you. A folding bike fits in the under-belly of a Ceres bus
- Town Center to Panagsama Beach - if you want to pay the local rate (not tourist rate) of P10/pax from Town Center to Panagsama Beach, take the tricycle behind Three Sixty Pharmacy. The tricycle will wait until its full before taking off. Tell the driver you're going to "Baybay". On the way back, from Panagsama Beach to Town Center, walk a bit here and board the local tricycle. It will wait again to fill up before taking off. Best to pay the tricycle driver while awaiting for other passengers. That way, he can't charge you tourist fare when you alight.
- Town Center to White Beach - local tricycle rate is P25/pax beside Three Sixty Pharmacy. You should see tricycles with painted signboard, "White Beach". Tell the driver you're going to "Basdaku"
How to get to Moalboal from Dumaguete:
- From Dumaguete, take a bus or jeep going north and ask to be dropped-off at the Sibulan Town Proper (~P10, 10 mins). Take the short walk to the pier.
- Take either the pumpboat or fastcraft to Liloan, Cebu (~P50, 30 mins)
- From the Liloan port, take a tricycle to the Bato Bus Terminal (~P20 if shared, 10 mins)
- From the terminal, take the Cebu City bus via Barili and ask to dropped-off to Moalboal Town Proper (P70, ~2 hours)
How to get to Moalboal from Cebu City:
- take a Ceres Bus at the South Bus Terminal going to Bato (make sure its via Barili) and get off at the Moalboal Town Center - 3 hours, P130 (aircon)
- From Town Center, take a tricycle to your resort. Town Center to Panagsama Beach (~P50 if no other passenger, 10 mins).
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