moalboal-sardine-run

Why Moalboal is Cebu’s Next Adventure Destination

by Anj Santos

Cebu is world-renowned for its white sand beaches, spectacular diving sites and bustling energy. There’s Malapascua in the north for thresher shark sightings, Bantayan further up for blinding white beaches, and good ‘ol Mactan for island hopping and city life.

South of Cebu is Moalboal (mo-ahl bo-ahl), a sleepy town 3 hours away from the city, which is now a fast growing tourist hub. It doesn’t have awe-inspiring beaches and malls and bars to speak of, for its real beauty is hidden under the sea and deep within the forests. Straight up, it’s not a place for lazy beach days – there is some physical effort and sweat equity involved in truly enjoying what it has to offer. If you’re after more than just a trip and want an adventure, Moalboal, Cebu sure delivers!

Here are some of the activities waiting for you in Moalboal, Cebu:

1. CANYONEERING

Canyoneering or canyoning involves travelling down streams, creeks and boulders in between mountains. The excursion would involve trekking and climbing, and depending on your trail, some free jumping into water and rappelling from waterfalls.

The easiest trail in Moalboal is Kawasan Falls, which does not require the use of climbing gears. It does involve swimming through rapids and fresh water pools and jumping from several waterfalls. It’s a good start if you’re new to canyoning.

For a more challenging trail, there’s Montaneza Falls, which involves rappelling down five different waterfalls. And if even that seems boring to you, there’s the Tizon Falls trek, where you first have to do a 2-hour mountain range climb to get to the canyon. The highlight of this trek is not one, but two, 30-feet waterfalls that you have to descend from.

2. RIVER CLIMBING 

Matutinao Valley in Moalboal, Cebu
Photo by Storm Crypt / CC BY

The reverse of canyoning, river climbing is more physically challenging as it involves free climbing up boulders on a river, swimming against currents and hurdling over the occasional tree log. Matutinao Valley’s lush habitation is perfect for this activity, and those who take part are sure to meet monkeys, lizards, and other forest animals along the way.

3. SPELUNKING AT BUSAY

Busay Cave in Moalboal, Cebu
Photo by Raelene Gutierrez / CC BY

If you’re into trekking and climbing but prefer not to swim, try spelunking. Spelunking, or simply, caving, is the process of exploring or walking through a cave. Mt. Lantoy in Argao or Busay Cave in Busay are both good options, but go for the less challenging Busay if you are going with kids. While no swimming is involved, there’s still knee- to hip-level water inside the caves so do bring clothes for change.

Planet Action Adventure is the first adventure tour company in Moalboal, Cebu. It offers a range of adventure activities around the island, including canyoneering, river climbing, spelunking and mountain biking. | 0917 583 0062 | planet@action-philippines.com

4. SEE THE FAMOUS SARDINE WALLS AT PESCADOR ISLAND

sardine wall at pescador island, Moalboal, Cebu
Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri/ CC BY

Of the many activities in Moalboal, catching the majestic wall of sardines underwater is arguably the most popular. Most often seen in Pescador Island off Panagsama Beach, the walls are said to go as high as 25 meters, shadowing the water from the sun completely!

The sardine run would definitely be the highlight of your dive trip, but Pescador Island is also teeming with marine life to make the rest of your trip worthwhile. Located along Tanon Strait, the biggest marine protected area in the country, its sloping reefs are home to soft corals, sponges and a variety of lobsters, stonefish, and octopus. Thresher sharks also dart in and out to chase the sardines.

Asian-Belgian Dive Resort and Kasai Village Dive and Spa Resort are the best-rated diving resorts in Moalboal. Both offer scuba diving trips, gear and courses and are certified by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).

4. FREEDIVING

Freediving in Moalboal, Cebu
Photo by Klaus Stiefel / CC BY

For those who have little to no scuba diving experience, the seas of Moalboal can be enjoyed without gear. Freediving, or diving into deep waters with a single breath of air, was first established locally here in Moalboal, Cebu. There are now several dive centers that specialize in the sport, with courses ranging from 1 to 3 days. With a healthy marine life just a few meters away from the shore, you can enjoy seeing various kinds of coral beds, tropical fish, sea turtles and sometimes even the sardine run, through freediving.

Freediving Philippines is the first and leading freediving school in the Philippines. Led by Austrian Wolfgang | 0928 263 4646 | info@freediving-philippines.com

5. MOUNTAIN BIKING AT BATAT BATAT

Mountain Biking Moalboal, Cebu
Photo by Polky Yu / CC BY  

If you’d like to rough it by mountain bike instead, the rice terraces of Batat Batat have the right mix of challenging downhill and single trails amid lush vegetation. The trail ends in a natural swimming pool at the foot of the terraces, so make sure to bring swimming gear too.

Planet Action Adventure offers mountain biking tours through the Batat Batat Rice Terraces to Kawasan Falls trail.

HOW TO GET THERE:

From Manila, take a flight to Mactan, Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines or AirAsia. A flight from Manila to Cebu takes 1 hour.

From Mactan airport, you may choose to go to Moalboal by taxi, bus, van or boat:

By bus – Take a metered taxi to the Southern Bus Terminal in Cebu City and take a Ceres or Librando bus line. A bus leaves every hour. The bus ride will take 2.5 to 3 hours and costs P120 per person.

By boat – From Dumaguete City, you can take a ferry from Tampi to Bato or from Sibulan to Liloan, then a tricycle from Liloan to Bato. Then, take a Ceres Liner bus from Bato to Moalboal.

From Bohol, you can take LITE shipping from Loon to Argao, Cebu. Then take a taxi from Argao to Moalboal, from P550 upwards.

By taxi – You can arrange for a taxi from any point in Mactan through Cebu Airport Transfer.

By van – Some resorts offer van pickups from Mactan. Call your chosen resort to inquire of this service.

Once in Moalboal, take a tricycle to Panagsama Beach for about P100. Give the tricycle driver the name of your resort or accommodation.

WHERE TO STAY:

Hale Manna Resort
Brgy. Saavedra, Moalboal, Cebu | http://www.halemanna.com
A mid-range B&B with private villas, this is recommended if staying with family or children.

Club Serena  Resort
Basadku, Moalboal | http://www.clubserenaresort.com
The exclusive resort has 12 cottages and a range of tours to choose from.

Moalboal Backpackers Lodge
Panagsama Beach, Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu | http://www.moalboal-backpackerlodge.com
The hostel offers the best budget accommodation starting at P275 for a dormitory bunk.

Main image: Photo by Erwin Poliakoff CC BY

2 thoughts on “Why Moalboal is Cebu’s Next Adventure Destination”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *