Moalboal Itinerary & Travel Guide

Author Carina Klein
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Guide to Moalboal backpacking including the best things to do in Moalboal and a Moalboal itinerary.

During our 30-day backpacking trip to the Philippines, we spent one week in Pangsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu and loved it. Here’s our no-fluff travel guide:

8 Best Things to Do in Moalboal

These are the best Moalboal tourist spots and activities:

1. Moalboal Sardine Run

The sardine run is the highlight when snorkeling Moalboal. It is super easy to see the sardines by just swimming out from the shore. There’s no need for a guide unless you want a photographer or you’re really not a confident swimmer.

The location of the sardines constantly changes a bit. If you rent a snorkel (around 100 PHP), you can ask them where to go. If you have your own snorkel, just look where the other snorkellers are.

By the way: We promise you that it looks way more impressive in real life than in the picture we took. We’re still learning underwater photography 😅

Picture of Moalboal Sardine Run
Moalboal Sardine Run

2. Moalboal Turtles

Turtles are the second big attraction when snorkeling in Moalboal. We easily found a turtle every time we swam out. The best spot to see turtles is in front of Chili Bar.

Bucketlist2life tip: When in doubt, check where other snorkellers are hanging out to find turtles.
Picture of Turtle in Moalboal
Turtle in Moalboal

3. Badian Canyoneering

Canyoneering at Badian is another highlight in Moalboal. Climbing and swimming through the canyon is great fun. It’s a half-day activity but we were quite exhausted afterwards.

Baucketlist2life fact: All the jumps are optional – if we could do it, so can you!
Picture of Carina at Badian Canyoneering
Carina at Badian Canyoneering

4. Moalboal Waterfalls

There are a ton of waterfalls around Moalboal.

The most famous one is Kawasan Falls. This is also the end point of the canyoneering at Badian and hence pretty crowded.

Mantayupan and Montpellier are some of the nicest waterfalls in the area and are significantly less crowded than the Kawasan Falls.

Smaller waterfalls like Cambais or Kanlaob have their charm because you can have them completely for yourself if you’re lucky – and we were.

Bucketlist2life tip: Of course, you can rent a scooter to go to these waterfalls. As we are not brave enough to drive ourselves, we hired an easy rider. This was perfect because he was really knowledgeable about the area and recommended the smaller waterfalls.
Picture of Kanlaob Falls Moalboal
Kanlaob Falls Moalboal

5. Moalboal Beaches

There are two main beaches in Moalboal Cebu: Pangsama Beach and White Beach. While Pangsama Beach is mostly rocky, White Beach is sandy. It’s not the most stunning beach in the Philippines but it’s the nicest beach you can easily reach from Moalboal. You can either rent a scooter or hop on a tricycle to get here.

Bucketlist2life tip: Tip: A tricycle might be the cheaper option if you only want to visit White Beach.
Picture of White Beach Moalboal
White Beach Moalboal

6. Moalboal Pescador Island

While you can theoretically book Moalboal island hopping tours, we think the name is a bit misleading. Unlike other destinations in the Philippines like Palawan, there are not a ton of paradise islands dotted around Cebu.

Island hopping tours visit Pescador Island which you can not even step onto. Nevertheless, Pescador Island is a snorkelling and scuba diving paradise and we strongly suggest you visit the island underwater.

7. Moalboal Diving

Moalboal lives and breathes scuba diving. There are countless dive resorts and dive shops. We did our advanced open water diver with Neptune Diving Resort Moalboal and can fully recommend it.

Picture of Carina scuba diving in Moalboal
Carina scuba diving in Moalboal

8. Hiking Moalboal

There are two famous hikes around Moalboal: Casino Peak and Osmena Peak. We chose Osmena Peak because it’s an easier hike. After a short 15-minute climb, you’ll be rewarded with coast-to-coast views across the picturesque hilltops of Cebu.

Bucketlist2life tip: You need a guide for this easy hike. We don’t know why but at least ours took amazing pictures.
Picture of Hiking Osmena Peak
Hiking Osmena Peak

Moalboal Itinerary

Moalboal is a great addition to your Philippines itinerary:

Moalboal Day 1

Go Canyoneering at Badian in the morning.

In the afternoon, grab your mask and snorkel and head to Pangsama Beach to see the sardine run and turtles.

Moalboal Day 2

Rent a scooter or hire an easy rider to explore the area. Hike Osmena Peak and chase some waterfalls.

Head to White Beach for sunset.

Optional: Moalboal Day 3

If you’re a scuba diver or want to try it, Moalboal is the place to do so. We would suggest a boat dive over a shore dive. The best dive spot in the area is Pescador Island, especially if you’re advanced and can go down to the caves below 18 m.

If you don’t want to dive, Pesacdor Island is also a worthwhile snorkelling excursion.

Picture of Sunset at Moalboal Pangsama Beach
Sunset at Moalboal Pangsama Beach

Moalboal Travel Guide

Is Moalboal Worth Visiting

Moalboal is absolutely worth visiting! Moalboal snorkeling as well as Moalboal scuba diving are amazing. There are also great land activities like hiking or chasing waterfalls.

Picture of Pangsama Beach Moalboal Cebu main road
Pangsama Beach Moalboal Cebu main road

How Many Days Do You Need in Moalboal

You need at least 2 full days to check out the Moalboal sardines and sea turtles, go canyoneering, and explore the area.

Of course, you need more time when you want to go scuba diving. We spent a whole week in Moalboal and didn’t get bored.

Picture of Moalboal Kawasan Falls
Moalboal Kawasan Falls

How to Get to Moalboal

Moalboal is super easy to reach. We have written a complete blogpost on how to get from the closest airport in Cebu to Moalboal.

Where to Stay in Moalboal

We would strongly recommend staying at Moalboal Panagsama Beach: It’s where the famous Moalboal sardines run takes place. There’s also loads of tourist infrastructure.

We stayed at The Backyard Inn and loved it. I also did my Advanced Open Water Diver with the owner Andreas and can fully recommend scuba diving with him.
Picture of Dorm at the Backyard Inn
Dorm at the Backyard Inn

Best Restaurants Moalboal

Here’s where to get some of the best Moalboal food:

  • Ven'z Kitchen for Filipino food.
  • Shaka Cafe for smoothie bowls.
  • Mila's Restaurant for cheap local eats.
  • Lantaw Restaurant for food with a sea view.
  • Hungry Monkeys for international and Filipino food.
  • Jp's Burrito Bar for burritos (obviously).
  • Three Bears for burgers.
  • El Mercado for a variety of (hipster) street food.
Picture of Smoothie bowl at Shaka Cafe
Smoothie bowl at Shaka Cafe

Moalboal Nightlife

Head to Chili Bar if you want to party at Pangsama Beach.

What not to Do in Moalboal: Whale Shark Snorkelling in Oslob

While most tourists “support whale shark provisioning, despite being aware of ethical issues with this activity”, we did not participate in this unethical activity and will neither recommend it to you.

Even if you don’t particularly care about the welfare of the whale sharks, you should be aware that you’ll be in the water with loads of other tourists - potentially kicking you and the whale sharks. An experience which does not sound very appealing to us.

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