moalboal cebu

Explore the many diving spots of Moalboal in Cebu. Find out where the best diving sites in Moalboal are. Where and when can you see the famous sardine run? What are the other activities to do, and local delicacies to try? Here is your guide to all the best dive sites, inland activities, and food that Moalboal has on offer. Mark this page as one of your favorites, because we’re dishing out the best of the best in this seaside town!

Moalboal, Philippines is a tiny coastal resort town at the southwest section of Cebu. With a local population of just 32,300, it is steadily gaining popularity among divers and travelers for its rich marine life, particularly the sardine run.

This small peninsula jutting out of mainland Cebu is the only place in the Philippines where you can see the magnificent sardine run throughout the year. Divers from the Philippines and around the world come to this little seaside town just to swim with these silverfish. But that’s not the only thing to see and do in Moalboal, Philippines!

There are a lot of dive spots in Moalboal where you can find a wide variety of marine life. Aside from diving, there are also inland activities you can do, food that you can gorge on, and beaches where you can relax with your friends while holding a bottle of ice-cold beer in your hand.

A holiday in Moalboal will leave you craving for the laidback small-town life. Whether you're looking to take a break from the busy city life or keen on exploring the wonders of nature, here are the top things to do in Moalboal, Philippines that you should include in your trip.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Discover Rich Marine Life at Pescador Island and Other Moalboal Diving Spots 

sardine run moalboal

Vibrant corals; fishes of all shapes, sizes, and colors; seahorses; tuna; white tip sharks; and pawikan (sea turtle) can be seen just beneath Moalboal’s waters. Experienced divers and underwater photographers will be able to take amazing photographs of the sea creatures that are primarily active at night, such as cuttlefish, squid, and other reef fish. Newbie divers and non-divers can also go snorkeling in the shallower parts of the reef.

Majority of the resorts in Moalboal arrange dive tours for their guests. Coordinate with your resort so you can get the best deal and have guides point you to the nicest spots in each dive site. Here are some of the best dive spots to include in your Moalboal dive list.

1. Swim with Millions of Sardines at the Moalboal Sardine Run at Panagsama Beach

Ever dreamed of swimming with a giant school of fish? Moalboal will make your dream come true with its dense concentration of sardine swims en masse along a reef wall 30 meters off Panagsama Beach.

The Moalboal Sardine Run pretty much stays put in the Panagsama Beach area throughout the year, so you can go visit this unique natural phenomenon at any time. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to see a thresher shark looking to have some sardine for dinner!

2. Follow the Reef Off the Coast of Pescador Island

Moalboal, Philippines is one of the Visayas’ best reef diving sites, and one of its most beautiful dive sites is in Pescador Island. The tiny island’s reefs gently slope downwards; soft coral covers the first 5 to 10 meters offshore, then suddenly drops to 40 meters forming a hard reef wall. Hundreds, if not thousands, of fish species, make their home on Pescador Island's reefs.

Experienced divers can go to the Cathedral, an open-top underwater cave located on the west side of Pescador Island. The Cathedral also has a wide variety of corals, fish, and even octopus and eel.

3. Meet Starfishes at Lambug Beach

About half an hour by tricycle from Panagsama Beach is the quieter and calmer Lambug Beach. This tiny strip of white beach has very clear waters filled with starfishes of all sizes. It’s a great beach to hang out, swim, and spend the day with kids. There are also cottages dotting the beachfront that you can rent for the day.

4.  Dive at Moalboal House Reef

In Moalboal, you do not need to travel far by boat just to reach a dive site. Moalboal’s House Reef is just a few meters offshore, so you can walk from the beach and plunge straight into the dive! If you’re worried about the quality of marine life you can see from a reef so close to shore, don’t fret! Even at this distance, you will see abundant coral, colorful sea sponges, various fish, octopus, and more.

5. See Bigger Fish at the Ronda Marine Sanctuary

The Ronda Marine Sanctuary, a 15-20-minute boat ride from Panagsama Beach, is one of the best dive sites to see larger marine creatures such as the Ghost Pipefish, giant sea fans, barracuda, trevally, tuna, and more. You can also see smaller fishes frolicking in the soft and hard corals.

6. Go Snorkeling at the Tuble Marine Sanctuary

green turtle moalboal

After checking out the Ronda Marine Sanctuary, head over to White Beach and visit the Tuble Marine Sanctuary. Its relatively shallow waters make it a perfect snorkeling site. Even at just 10 meters deep, you can already see a wide variety of marine life, including the Hawksbill Turtle and Green Turtle. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot a butanding (whale shark)! The Tuble Marine Sanctuary collects a PHP 25.00 fee per person.

7. Explore the Dive Walls of Kasai Reef

Also located near Panagsama Beach is the Kasai Reef. At this dive site, several canyons and caves teeming with fish, coral, eels, sea snakes, and rays are waiting to be explored. Watch out for the round batfish, oriental sweetlips, spotted hawkfish, bicolor parrotfish, and porcupine fish on your dive at Kasai Reef.

8. Dive with Baby Fish at the Tongo Marine Sanctuary

The shallow waters of the Tongo Marine Sanctuary, 2kms away from Panagsama Beach, is the perfect home for juvenile fish. Spot the gold body trevally, ornate ghost pipefish, table coral, and electric fire clam shell on your dive at the Tongo Marine Sanctuary. You might be able to catch a sardine run here as well.

9. Visit Other Dive Sites Around Moalboal

There are many other dive sites around Moalboal that you can explore. Located just north of the White Beach is the Airplane Wreck site, where the remains of an old two-seater aircraft lie on the reef. Corals have now started to grow on the aircraft. Talisay Wall has a slope and a wall, as well as several caves that can be explored. You can spot green sea turtles and Mandarin fish at Talisay Wall, among other marine animals.

Sunken Island in nearby Badian town, is mainly for experienced divers only. It is an underground mountain between Cebu and Negros Islands, where you can see Giant barracuda, tuna, and Bigeye Trevally.

Venture Inland for these Day Trip Attractions in and Near Moalboal

moalboal beach

Not into diving? Don’t worry, there are other activities you can do during your visit in Moalboal, Philippines. There are also must-visit attractions nearby that you can add in your itinerary. Simply hop on a tricycle and ask the tricycle driver to take you to these sites:  

1. Chill Out at Moalboal White Beach

The sand might not be as white or as powdery as the famous Boracay beach, but Moalboal’s White Beach is still beautiful. White Beach is about 20 minutes away by tricycle from Panagsama Beach. It’s a bit more crowded than Lambug Beach, though you can still easily find your own spot to sit and sunbathe. It is also a good place to catch the sunset. There is a minimal PHP 5.00 per person entrance fee to get into White Beach.

2. Have a Beer at Panagsama Beach

Panagsama Beach might just be a small strip of sand that is more of a jump-off point for those who are setting out for dives with sardines, but it is also full of restaurants and bars where you can chill and have a drink (or two) with friends. This is also where most of Moalboal’s nightlife is concentrated.

3. Go for a Swim at Kawasan Falls in Badian

One of Cebu’s top attractions is the Kawasan Falls in Badian, about 40 minutes away by tricycle from Panagsama Beach. Upon arriving at the drop-off point to the falls, you need to walk for 20 more minutes to reach the falls.

The hour-long journey, however, will be worth it once you see the Kawasan Falls. The pool underneath the waterfall is an inviting shade of bright turquoise. You can rent a raft, so you can paddle right under the falls. You can also go for a swim in the pool (the waters are quite deep, so renting a life jacket is recommended), or even just sip on fresh buko (coconut) while seated on the rest area.  Entrance fee to Kawasan Falls costs PHP 40.00 per person.

4. Push Your Limits by Canyoneering

cebu canyoneering

If you’re up for a bit more of an adventure on your trip to Kawasan Falls, try canyoneering in Alegria. The activity will involve trekking and exploring the dense forest and jumping off cliffs into the turquoise waters. Along the way, you can try to swing from the rope a la Tarzan and jump into the river below. End the canyoneering tour by chilling at the Kawasan Falls.

Book Your Stay at These Well-Known Moalboal Beach Resorts 

moalboal beach resorts

Majority of Moalboal’s coastline is rocky, and most resorts and inns are located further inland, but there are some beach resorts that give you direct access to the open sea. Here are some of the top Moalboal beach resorts that you can consider if you want to just unwind by the beach.

1. Have Your Own Private Dive Site at Blue Orchid Resort

Located along the rocky coastline just past White Beach, the Blue Orchid Resort might not have that sandy beach you can walk on, but you can go off snorkeling practically straight from the resort. The resort also has a pool you can dip into on the days you might want to take a break from the sea (though it’s hard to imagine why!).

2. Return to Rustic Living at Moalboal T Breeze Coastal Resort

Nipa-style accommodations interspersed with the surrounding gardens make the rooms at Moalboal T Breeze Coastal Resort your very own isolated paradise. Like most resorts in Moalboal, it is a snorkeling and diving resort that offers diving tours to guests. Its beachfront also serves as the perfect spot for guests to chill after a long day out touring around Moalboal and nearby towns. The resort also has its own restaurant and bar overlooking the Tañon Strait, as well as the neighboring Negros Island.

3. Relax with the Whole Family at Parrot Resort Moalboal

Just a 5-minute walk away from Panagsama Beach, the Parrot Resort Moalboal’s family-friendly accommodations and amenities make it a great option for those traveling with kids. Its neat and clean rooms come equipped with complete amenities such as air conditioning, refrigerator/minibar, satellite TV, and wi-fi access. Some rooms have a private veranda facing the swimming pool.

4. Dive Straight into the Sea at Oceanfront Paradise Resort

Aptly named, this boutique resort is located right in front of Panagsama Beach and offers direct access to the ocean. The resort looks more like a large vacation home rather than a hotel, which will help make you feel right at home. It has spacious rooms that come with a seating area and a minibar. There is also a swimming pool in the property, and wi-fi access is available throughout the resort.

5. Learn How to Scuba Dive at Neptune Diving Resort Moalboal

Neptune Diving Resort in Panagsama Beach is a popular place among divers as it is also a 5-star PADI Instructor Development Course Dive Center. This Moalboal beach resort also offers scuba diving courses for all levels. The resort has 9 rooms, all fully furnished and equipped with a private toilet and bath, air conditioning and ceiling fans, and reliable internet access.

Have a Great Meal at These Restaurants in Moalboal

moalboal restaurants

Because of the tourism boom, there are now many restaurants in Moalboal that serve various cuisines ranging from Asian (Filipino, Thai, Indian, Indonesian, etc) to European cuisine (Italian, Spanish, British, German, etc). Of course, make sure that you try local eats such as fish sinigang and fish kinilaw. After all, you’re in a tropical paradise, so better load up on some of the freshest seafood you can find!

Here are some of the top restaurants in Moalboal that you can check out, especially after hours of diving, trekking, and canyoneering:

1. Get Your Fill of Fresh Local Seafood at Little Corner

Craving for some seafood? Head to the Little Corner and order your fill of Filipino and Western dishes! This restaurant serves the usual Filipino favorites like the shrimp sinigang (PHP 230.00) and fish sinigang (PHP 350.00), a local sour hot soup. But they also have a long menu of Western dishes such as beef stroganoff (PHP 270.00) and pork schnitzel (PHP 200.00). Or you can pick the seafood of your choice and they will cook it for you in different ways. The price depends on the amount and the size of your chosen seafood. Little Corner is open daily from 6:30 A.M. to 1:00 A.M.

2. Order some Arab-style Pizza at The Pleasure Principle Resto-Bar

This European fusion restaurant in Moalboal serves up an interesting mix of Filipino, French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine, among others. Order the Arab-style pizza (PHP 330.00), made with ground beef and Middle Eastern spices. For dessert, order the very indulgent Kama Sutra Pancake (PHP 195.00), which comes with bananas fried in butter, flambéed with rum and drizzled with cream. The Pleasure Principle Resto-Bar is open daily from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.

3. Try Asia on a Plate at Lantaw Restaurant

Located above the Neptune Diving Adventure Shop, Lantaw Restaurant offers an extensive menu of Asian dishes, including Filipino, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, and Chinese food. The servings are quite generous, which is perfect especially when you come in on an empty stomach. Try the chili shrimp (PHP 240.00), nasi goreng (PHP 180.00), fish kinilaw (PHP 200.00), and the squid spicy salad (PHP 225.00). Lantaw Restaurant is open daily from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.

4. Enjoy Filipino Classics at Ven’z Kitchen

Ven’z Kitchen is a local, family-owned restaurant serving Filipino cuisine to hungry divers returning to Panagsama Beach. Try their pork kare-kare (PHP 180.00) and chicken/pork adobo (PHP 170.00). Vegans and vegetarians will love their meatless options as well. Try their eggplant sisig (PHP 150.00) and veggie kare-kare (PHP 180.00). For seafood, place your orders at least 4 hours in advance.

The owners at Ven’z Kitchen also offer cooking lessons, for those who would like to try learning how to cook Filipino food. Ven’z Kitchen is open daily from 10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. Cooking lessons are scheduled at 11:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.

5. Sample International Cuisine at The Three Bears

Reasonably priced with ample servings, The Three Bears restaurant is a hit among Westerners in Moalboal. Order the Three Bears Chicken (PHP 200.00), which is a chicken breast fillet stuffed with bacon and cheese then fried, King Prawns (PHP 250.00) sautéed in butter with garlic and chili, or the Sausage, Egg, and Chips (PHP 180.00). They also serve vegetarian dishes. Try the Vegetarian Pizza (PHP 270.00) and the Seasonal Salad Bowl (PHP 180.00). The Three Bears is open daily from 12:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.

Plan Your Trip to the Diving Paradise of Moalboal!

With the rich and diverse marine life, a unique and enchanting natural phenomenon, constant sunny Moalboal weather, and beautiful sites, it really is a paradise for freediving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

At first, this seaside town might seem just like any other sleepy provincial town, but Moalboal has, in recent years, become a lively, busy rural town that’s always ready to welcome intrepid travelers, novice and professional drivers, and certified thrill-seekers.

A vacation in the Moalboal peninsula will surely leave you sun-kissed, awed by underwater treasures, and definitely wanting to explore the Philippines more.

Booking that trip to Moalboal, Philippines soon? Don’t forget to bookmark this page to serve as your guide to Moalboal tours and activities available so you can squeeze in as many attractions you can visit during your trip!