The Diving Adventures continues!
It would be a shame if I, a Cebuana and diver, do not dive in my home base where it is said to be one of the best diving spots. And since there was free 2nd ticket TigerAir promo for OCBC cardholders (website), Francis and I grab the chance to sate our diving appetite. We left Sunday 27 April for 3 days in Moalboal, weekday dive to beat the crowd. Roundtrip 127 SGD. Best diving months are April to June.
Moalboal is a quiet town south of Cebu. Getting there is easy as long as you have the time. How to get to Cebu and more on Cebu info, you are refer to my previous post: click here
Btw, as of now, 1 SGD = 35 PHP. Not bad conversion!
Once you arrive in Mactan Airport, you can head to Moalboal by:
- By car either renting or if you have your own. Since I don’t drive, I can’t give directions but it should be straight forward as there is only 1 main road
- By taxi. You will need to haggle on the price as meter will not be used here. Average cost is 3k php for 2 hour ride.
- By bus. Travel time is 3 hours since it will it will continue to pick up passengers en route. There will be a 5-10 min stopover at the middle for bathroom break or grabbing quick bite.
- From the airport, you need to take the taxi to the South Bus Terminal. You can find yellow or white taxis when coming out from the Arrival exit but since airport yellow taxi is more expensive, you can across over to the Departure Hall and grab any white taxi. Make sure that the driver turns on the meter. Fare will be 200PHP average.
- Once in the terminal, look for the yellow Ceres bus and Moalboal sign. The bus sign may say heading to Bato or another town South of Cebu with superscript via Moalboal. Check with the driver just to be sure and confirm the price and time of departure. As of now, it is 120php one way for air-conditioned buses. The bus will leave either when the bus is full or at departure time. The conductor will collect the fare during the travel.
- Be alert of the last hour of the ride. The conductor will ask if anyone is dropping off in Moalboal. If nobody answers, the driver will just speed through. You can also remind the conductor in advance.
- You are finally in Moalboal but wait a second! The beach is nowhere to be found! You need to take a tricycle ride to Panagsama Beach. Tell driver your resort and he will take you for 100-150PHP (yes it is a ripoff considering that is equivalent to taxi fare). Travel time is just 10mins or depending how far your resort is.
- To head back, just go back to the main road and look for the Ceres bus stop sign to wait for the next bus. There is usually someone manning the post and can advice you the next timing.
Whats in Moalboal?
There are 2 things it is famous for: diving and snorkeling. You will not see nice white sand beaches if that is your idea of relaxing in the beach, unless your resort is near the White Beach area. Most of Moalboal beach shores are rocky but the water is great to see fishes and corals. You are free to swim and snorkel by your own or you can also tag along dive boats for deeper waters.
There are many dive shops in the area. We chose Blue Abyss Dive Shop in terms of price and reviews. Most dive shops also offers accommodations but Blue Abyss was fully booked by the time we requested for reservation. We end up staying in Marcosas Cottage Resort. The plus is that our resort is just 2 min walk to the dive shop.
Price is 2 dives/day is 2,822PHP if paid by cash. There are 3 dive masters, but I would recommend for newbies, look for Gary. If you want to take underwater pictures, look for Jun. If you want to do free and easy, the German guy can be your guide (sorry, I forgot his name). We took dive insurance with Dive Assure for 37.76 SGD.
The resort was alright. Rate 7,200PHP for 3 nights. Resort was cottage style. One thing we found it annoying was the blanket provided. It felt like jeans or tarp covering you.
Food will be decent or so-so depending on where you are. Most of them are family-run business that took the tourism opportunity. After trial and error, we managed to find 3 places that satisfied my palette: Blue Abyss Restaurant, Cucina Italiana Marina and Last Filling Station. These resto were around the dive resort area. Opposite the Last Filling Station was the Maya Native Garden which was top#3 in TripAdvisor for good Mexican food. We didn’t get to try it since no one was in a mood for Mexican but please do let me know if the food is good.
Beside the Last Filling Station is shop for outdoor activities like kayaking and mountain biking in case you want more than just swimming in the sea. click here for the website
Watch the sunset around 6-7pm. The scene is breathtaking.
We took a side trip to the Kawasan Waterfalls. It is a 40min tricycle ride + 10 min walk. We got roundtrip for 500PHP after negotiating. The driver would wait for us to come back and we pay him when we arrive back at the hotel. The water was clear, cold and refreshing. Be sure to go there on a sunny day. The combination is delicious. Most picnic or sitting spots are for a price so ask before taking a nice sit on those benches. You can even stay overnight near the falls. Climb up to see the higher mini falls that lead to the main one. Be careful as stones can be slippery. Overall a nice and refreshing side trip.
Word of Advice:
Many have been asking if it is safe to travel in Philippines. Generally, yes as long as you are careful with your belongings and surroundings. The people are quite helpful but some will take advantage of you if you are too gullible or absent-minded (pardon my choice of words). Playing with your phone while walking in the street is not advisable unless you have the “ancient” Nokia phones. Wear nothing too flashy as you will attract more than just opposite sex admiration.
Moalboal is dependent on tourism, so you guys are safe there. They work to protect their livelihood 😉