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Moalboal Cebu Travel Guide: Sardine Run, Diving + Best Things to do

Moalboal in Cebu: A Must-See Snorkeling and Diving Destination

Moalboal Travel Guide photo by Tirachard Kumtanom via Pexels

Your Travel Guide to Moalboal Cebu This 2023

Wherever you go in Cebu, there’s always something for every kind of tourist. For those who want to relax and laze on the beach, North Cebu’s Malapascua is an ideal destination. But if you’re up for some water adventure, head south to Moalboal.

Moalboal Travel Guide photo by Tirachard Kumtanom via Pexels
Moalboal Travel Guide photo by Tirachard Kumtanom via Pexels
Moalboal Cebu Travel Guide
Moalboal Cebu Travel Guide

Moalboal (pronounced as Mwal-bwal), is a coastal municipality in the southwestern tip of Cebu. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cebu, particularly for adventurers who like to explore its underwater splendor. Though it doesn’t have the powder white sand beaches that other islands offer, Moalboal still has a lot to give in terms of adrenaline-rush experiences. Here are some of them!

What To Do in Moalboal, Cebu

There are plenty of activities to do whatever type of traveler you are in Moalboal, Cebu. From diving to hiking, here are some of the adventures you can’t miss out on in this town.

Diver in Moalboal by Jerome Kim
Diver in Moalboal by Jerome Kim

Witness the spectacular Sardine Run

About 30 meters off the shores of Moalboal is where the magic happens. Witness thousands of sardines right in front of your eyes when you book a sardine run tour in Moalboal! The best part is that you can see this at any time of the year. Head to Panagsama Beach and see a school of sardines swim deeply to feed themselves. It’s also very accessible, and you don’t need to be a professional diver to see this. Just put on your goggles and dive. Note though, that you can’t touch nor harm the sardines and other marine species. Come to Panagsama Beach from November to May when the water isn’t murky and you can see the sardine run more clearly.

A view from the top of Pescador Island by Ken Suarez via Unsplash
A view from the top of Pescador Island by Ken Suarez via Unsplash

Explore the Diving Sites of Pescador Island

Known for its teeming marine life, Pescador Island is a favorite go-to destination for all kinds of divers. With a vibrant coral garden, unique caverns, and abundant marine species, its diving spots are truly remarkable, making it a diving haven for many local and international divers. Many dive resorts surround the area so you won’t have a hard time finding accommodation and a diving tour when you visit Pescador Island. If you prefer a day trip, you can also arrange a tour in advance. A dive boat will take you to the dive site, where you can encounter many sea creatures like pufferfish and sea turtles.

Kawasan Falls by Jake Irish via Unsplash
Kawasan Falls by Jake Irish via Unsplash

Hike in Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls is located in a nearby town called Badian. But many people take a detour going to Kawasan Falls, composed of three waterfalls that you can visit through canyoneering. It’s an uphill climb from one waterfall to another, making the journey itself already an adventure. Aside from the waterfall itself that cascades turquoise water, Kawasan Falls is surrounded by limestone canyon walls and verdant trees making the whole view picturesque. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the best way to enjoy your Kawasan Falls adventure is by cliff jumping. From the tallest cliff jumping spot at 11 meters, you can jump and plunge into the deep waters for a photo! You can also use a swing near the manmade waterfall for a fee.

To go here, take a Southbound bus from Moalboal and ask to be dropped off at Kawasan Falls. Get off at the entrance and you can walk and hike towards the falls. Another option would be to rent a scooter from Moalboal. Note that you’ll have to pay an entrance fee of P55* to visit the falls.

Swim with the turtles by Olga ga via Unsplash
Swim with the turtles by Olga ga via Unsplash

Snorkel with the turtles

You don’t have to deep dive to see marine animals in Moalboal. Just bring out your snorkeling gears, hop on a boat, go to the best snorkeling spots, and you’re good to go! Aside from the famous sardine run, you can see giant sea turtles when you snorkel at Turtle Bay. It’s known to be the best place for snorkeling in Moalboal. As you meet these cute turtles, you’ll also see some of the most colorful coral gardens you can ever see in your lifetime! If you’re lucky enough, you may even spot some whale sharks. It’s definitely an underwater paradise you should totally visit in Moalboal. Snorkeling boat trips are available in Moalboal, which can accommodate up to 12 pax.

Moalboal White Beach by Inah Soniega via Unsplash
Moalboal White Beach by Inah Soniega via Unsplash

Chill out at Moalboal White Beach

Also called Basdaku Beach, White Beach is the ideal place to lounge around and relax as you continue your Moalboal adventure. It’s a white sandy shore where you can sunbathe, laze around, and go for refreshments. You can also kayak, play volleyball, or snorkel, as they rent out equipment per person. Don’t miss the stunning sunset view here too!

Where to Stay in Moalboal

Turtle Bay Dive Resort in Moalboal
Turtle Bay Dive Resort in Moalboal

Diving Resorts

If diving is your main reason to visit Moalboal, better stay at dive resorts in Moalboal. There are first-class dive resorts and PADI five-star ones, so you’ll definitely have a great time diving or learning how to. These resorts offer activities such as snorkeling, diving, or motorcycle tours to guests. Here are some of our recommended dive resorts in Moalboal:


Experience living like a local when you choose homestays as your preferred accommodation. It’s mostly homes made of nipa huts and uses local furniture. It’s very relaxing and homier, usually situated on the oceanfront or near the garden for a pleasant experience. Also, it’s much cheaper!


Solo travelers usually prefer inns more than resorts because it’s more affordable and ideal for solo travelers. Plus, you can even meet fellow diver friends here! It has the comfort of a hotel without having to be very expensive.

Cebu Seaview Dive Resort, Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines by Rowan Heuvel via Unsplash
Cebu Seaview Dive Resort, Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines by Rowan Heuvel via Unsplash

Tips and Guides

  1. Protect marine life. Do not touch coral reefs or go near the sea creatures you encounter. A hefty fine will be imposed for those who damage the coral reefs of Moalboal.
  2. Make sure to bring your own diving suits or snorkeling gear. Rental is available, but it would be better to have your own for sanitary reasons.
  3. Cash is king, so make sure to bring enough cash to sustain you throughout the whole trip. ATMs are available for your convenience.
  4. The best months to visit are from December to May when the weather is fine. To make the most out of your Moalboal trip, the ideal stay is three days and two nights.
  5. Moalboal is a small town with a number of tourist spots, so expect crowds during peak season. If possible, wake up as early as the sun rises to enjoy your trip with fewer tourists around!

How to Go to Moalboal

From the airport, take a cab going to Cebu City South Bus Terminal. Take the bus going to Moalboal, which is usually a three-hour ride. Get off at the Moalboal bus stop. From there, you can hire a tricycle to go to Moalboal beach, or ride a motorbike (habal-habal) instead. You can also take a taxi or ride a van going to Moalboal, available in the terminals.

Explore Moalboal and its nearby towns when you visit Cebu soon! Do you know other exciting activities to try in Moalboal that are not listed here? Share it with fellow travelers by leaving a comment below!

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Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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