Date > 2022 > Dec
Activity > Traveling | Freediving
Dec 4-9, 2022
Moalboal with Elizabeth
Location : Moalboal, Philippines
I really had no plans for Moalboal. But somehow, my snorkeling gear which I haven't seen in 5 years were returned to me. Then my friend from Chiang Mai, Elizabeth, scheduled a trip to Moalboal to get her Open-Water Certificate. From Cebu, my only reply to her was, 'Let's travel together'.
At about PHP 150/pax, Laguno Hostel was the cheapest I saw on Agoda although it was located at the Moalboal town center and not at Panagsama Beach. That's ok. It would still be cheaper even if I pay a round-trip motorcycle ride to the beach. It turns out the posted rate was an error (it should have been PHP 288/day), but the owners honored the Agoda rate. The owners are not cut-throat businessmen. It's actually a family business run by decent people - husband, wife and kids. They've been helpful and forthcoming. I particularly enjoyed the many talks I had with husband and wife, Juan and Maria.
In hindsight, the location of Laguno is ideal if you want to explore the neighboring towns and their attractions. It's a few steps from the public transport, there are eateries everywhere and regional cuisines can be had. You can get bargains too. In Panagsama Beach, everything is expensive. Motorcycle and tricycle fares have doubled after the pandemic - even locals are crying 'foul'! Anyway, if you plan on going to Moalboal, I highly recommend Laguno Hostel.
Freediving with the Sardines at Panagsama Beach
It was only on my 3rd day that I saw Elizabeth after she finished her Open Water Certification. We snorkeled at Panagsama Beach to frolic with the sardines. The sardine bowl did not disappoint. They came by the hundreds of thousands in a fluid undulation not unlike the swaying of the Aurora Borealis - even a prima ballerina could not muster such graceful perfection. I took a few freedives, but I didn't want to push it - it has been over 5 years since my last freedive. I had to acclimatize my body to the extended breath-holds and the pressure.
For the most part, my 5-day stay was about walking about town, sampling homecooked food in cheap carinderias and catching up on my blogs. I was happy staying put. One day though, I went to the neighboring town, Ronda, to check out what they had. Little did I suspect that meeting the local shaman would decisively alter my travel course.
The next time I saw Elizabeth was on her way to Oslob. She had to take her bus at the town center where I was staying. We managed to go to the public market for some native hot chocolate drink, sikwate before our goodbyes. We've said goodbyes so many times...in Chiang Mai, in Cebu City, here in Moalboal...that I don't believe any of our goodbyes would be the final one.
Odd that I came to Moalboal to be with Elizabeth but in the 5 days I was there, we only saw each other twice...briefly at that. Well, that's life. Or to put it more accurately, between two seasoned travelers, independence is a trademark.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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More on Moalboal:
Moalboal Google Map
Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
- Sardine Bowl - millions of sardines milled around in front of Panagsama Beach
- Pescador Island - short boat ride, famous dive spots
- Panagsama Beach - sardine bowl, white sand beaches and the hub of tourism/expat activity in Moalboal
- Basdaku White Beach - stretch of long white sand beach in Basdaku
- Scuba, Freediving and Snorkeling - the entire Moalboal peninsula is a massive coral reef with depths reaching 300m
- Laguno Bed & Breakfast - towncenter location, short ride to sardines, whalesharks, canyoneering, hikes
- Editha's Southsea Holiday Houses - quiet, detached houses, beachfront location, mature community, long-term tenants
Tongo Point Rd, Moalboal, 6032 Cebu
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).
More on Cebu Province:
Suggested Destinations in Cebu
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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