Moalboal, Cebu: The Ultimate Travel Guide
Moalboal in Cebu, Philippines, is an adventure seeker’s paradise with so many exciting opportunities and places to visit, but it’s also a fantastic place to kick back and relax on the beach for a few days in the Philippines.
You’ll be canyoneering to Kawasan Falls or swimming with schools of sardines in the morning, then relaxing on a white-sand beach with a drink a few hours later!
Moalboal is also super affordable, so you won’t break the bank when visiting Cebu’s most famous beach town.
In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about visiting Moalboal, from how to get to Moalboal from Cebu City to the best things to do, top restaurants, transportation options, and the average cost of traveling to the beach town.
Where is Moalboal, Cebu
Moalboal is in southern Cebu, an island in the center of the Philippines. It doesn’t have its own airport, so your journey will begin with a flight to Cebu City.
You can take a taxi straight to Moalboal from there, but it’s exceptionally expensive. Instead, you should catch a taxi ride to the South Bus Terminal, which will cost about 500 PHP ($10).
Once at the terminal, buy a ticket for the bus heading to Bato via Barili (not Bato via Oslob/Alcoy) for around 150 PHP ($3) per person. Settle in for a scenic 3-hour bus ride to Moalboal to reach Moalboal.
Top Things To Do in Moalboal
Moalboal is a hub of activities, offering an array of experiences just an hour or two from town.
Here’s a rundown of the must-do adventures!
Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls
The journey to Kawasan Falls is an adventure that combines natural beauty with exhilaration. This is one of the most popular excursions from Moalboal and an excellent adventure for those who love a blend of thrill and nature.
Your tour starts a few kilometers upstream, where you’ll embark on a journey that includes hiking, ziplining, swimming, cliff jumping, and sliding.
The experience is about reaching the falls and enjoying the journey through the lush landscape. The trek costs about $25-35 per person.
It’s also best to book the earliest slot available to avoid the crowds. An early start (like 7 a.m.) ensures a more serene experience, as most groups begin around 10 a.m.
Visit More Waterfalls in South Cebu
Cebu is filled with so many awesome waterfalls, and a few are super easy to reach from Moalboal, Cebu!
Even if canyoneering isn’t on your Cebu Itinerary, Kawasan Falls is still worth a visit on its own.
It’s just a 30-40 minute journey from the center of Moalboal, and the beautiful blue waters and cascading falls create a serene atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the falls were damaged significantly during Typhoon Odette in 2021, but they have officially reopened as of October 2023, so you can be one of the first to see the falls again after two years of renovations.
Cambais Falls is the best waterfall in Cebu. There are multiple levels and bright turquoise waters, and it sees a small fraction of the crowds in other places around Cebu.
The waterfall cascades down a 50-foot rock wall, offering beautiful swimming spots and cliff-jumping opportunities.
The falls are about an hour from Moalboal, and you should spend 2-3 hours here to enjoy the area thoroughly.
Montpellier is a hidden gem located just 10 minutes from Cambais Falls.
You’ll park your motorbike and have to complete a short 15-minute hike through a picturesque landscape of palm trees and local villages.
At the end, you’ll find a small, enchanting pool with a waterfall dropping softly over a 100-foot rock face. You can swim out to the rock and explore behind the waterfall. It’s less crowded than many waterfalls in Cebu, especially if you visit around 4 pm.
Inambaken & Aguinid Waterfalls
Inambakan Waterfall is an easily accessible waterfall near the southern tip of Cebu. (you could also visit as a day trip from Oslob). It’s an hour and a half either way!
It is very close to Inambakan, near the island’s southernmost point. This is one of the most famous waterfalls outside of Kawasan, so it is a place to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon if you can help!
Relax on the Beaches In South Cebu!
While Cebu might not be primarily known for its beaches, Moalboal offers some hidden gems where you can relax and soak in the tropical vibes.
There are small local beaches in South Cebu, but most people prefer to visit the large white-sand beaches surrounding Moalboal.
When you need a day to relax in Moalboal, here’s where to go!
Probably Moalboal’s most famous Beach, White Beach is known for its pristine, spotless white sand and lively atmosphere.
The beach is spacious, ensuring you can find a spot for yourself even during peak season. With numerous resorts nearby, the area is well-maintained and perfect for a day of relaxation.
Access to this beach in Moalboal costs just 10 PHP ($0.20), and it’s conveniently located only 10 minutes away from the heart of Moalboal.
This beach is a local favorite, located just 20 minutes from Moalboal’s town center in the opposite direction of White Beach.
Lambug Beach boasts beautiful white sands and a more laid-back ambiance than White Beach. It’s less developed, offering a more authentic beach experience, with just a couple of food and drink stalls scattered around the coast.
Entrance is free, and there’s a nominal parking fee of 20 PHP ($0.40).
Panagsama Beach is right in the middle of Moalboal and is not the best ‘beach’ in the area.
Rather, it’s most famous for snorkeling. Tourists flock to Panagsama Beach for the chance to swim with sardines, sea turtles, and various other fish.
The beach is also a popular spot for watching the sunset, providing a tranquil setting to end your day.
Snorkel With Sardines & Sea Turtles
Snorkeling with massive schools of sardines and sea turtles is arguably the best part of staying in Moalboal!
Right offshore from Panagsama Beach, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find tons of marine life, most prominently schools of sardines.
You can opt for a full-day snorkeling tour around Pescador Island, which offers an even richer underwater experience, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s not much different right offshore.
The sight of swirling sardines and graceful sea turtles in their natural habitat is a magical and unforgettable experience.
Hikes Near Moalboal
Moalboal isn’t just about water activities; it’s also a gateway to some of Cebu’s most scenic hikes, offering breathtaking vistas of the rugged terrain and the ocean.
The highest and most famous peak in South Cebu, Osmeña Peak is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. The hike to the summit is relatively short, taking only about 20 minutes, but the views from the top are spectacular, especially at sunset.
Unfortunately, the mountain is pretty far from Moalboal (approximately 1.5 hours of travel on winding roads – that’s why most people come here from Dalaguete), but it’s still a viable and rewarding day trip.
Closer to Moalboal than Osmeña Peak, Kandungaw offers a different yet equally stunning hiking experience.
The hike to this peak is steep and can be challenging, but it’s relatively short, lasting about 30-40 minutes. The reward is a dramatic landscape view, with one side featuring a sheer drop-off that creates a stunning backdrop for photos.
This peak is less crowded than Osmeña, offering a more serene hiking experience.
Places To Eat in Moalboal
Moalboal is a popular digital nomad base in Cebu, which is probably the reason it has so many incredible places to eat in town. All these places are super close to the beach and have many options, so you’re sure to find something you like.
Smooth Cafe – This is the go-to place for those seeking a healthy, hip dining experience. Smooth Cafe stands out with its array of vegan burgers and various falafel options. Their Mexican Vegan Burger is a standout and well worth the 400 PHP ($8) price tag. Besides the great food, this cafe is a popular spot for digital nomads, thanks to its good Wi-Fi.
Shaka – Ideal for breakfast or brunch, Shaka offers a range of vegan options, including smoothies, smoothie bowls, coffee, and cold-pressed juices. Prices range from 150-300 PHP ($3-6). The smoothie bowls are a hit, but our personal favorites were the ‘Bom Dia’ and ‘Bakunawa Bowls.’
Ven’s Kitchen – A Filipino restaurant that’s a hit with the locals. It gets busy after 7 pm, so expect a bit of a wait. They serve delicious sisig, curries, and adobo at very affordable prices, with most meals under $4.
How To Get Around Moalboal
Getting around Moalboal is easy and can add to your adventure. Whether you prefer the independence of a motorbike or the simplicity of a tuk-tuk, here’s how you can explore the area!
Renting A Motorbike
This is the most flexible way to get around. It allows you to set your own pace and explore off-the-beaten-path locations. Motorbike rentals are readily available, and you can expect to pay around $7/day.
For instance, if you stay at Indino Guesthouse, they have very nice bikes to rent for just $7/day. This is probably the cheapest you’d find in town for a short-term rental. If not, there are plenty of shops renting bikes. You could try Bikesbooking.com to reserve a scooter online near Panagsama Beach.
Hailing A Tuk-Tuk
For short trips within Moalboal, tuk-tuks are a convenient and affordable option.
These motorized bikes with carriages can accommodate 2-4 passengers. Simply flag one down, tell the driver your destination, and enjoy the ride. Fares are typically quite reasonable, often just a couple of dollars for short trips.
Book a Day Tour
For travelers looking to combine transportation with a day tour, Moalboal has a lot of options.
Many day tours in Moalboal offer free hotel pickup and a guided experience that enhances your trip with local insights. Whether you are visiting Oslob to swim with whale sharks or looking to go canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, it’s an excellent option!
Day tours in Moalboal are also ideal for travelers who prefer a structured itinerary and wish to make the most of their time in this captivating region.
Daily Travel Cost in Moalboal
In Moalboal, the costs are similar to the rest of the Philippines. A private double bed will cost you $20-30, while a single bed in a hostel will set you back $7-10/night.
Western food or a hipster brunch costs $5-7 per plate, while Filipino dishes cost $2-4.
A motorbike is $10/day, and tuk-tuks are $1-2 per ride.
|Food (+ Coffee)
|Total Daily Budget
Tours are going to be the most significant chunk of your budget. Here’s the cost of some popular tours and excursions with the prices included
- Kawasan Falls Canyoneering – $30-$35
- Swimming with whale sharks – $24
- Snorkeling Guide – $7.50
- Spa/Massage – $10
Final Thoughts: What to Expect in Moalboal, Cebu
Hopefully, by now, it’ll be clear that Moalboal offers an extraordinary blend of experiences for every kind of traveler. From the adrenaline rush of canyoneering at Kawasan Falls to the peaceful moments relaxing on White Beach or snorkeling with sardines and sea turtles!
Moalboal is a destination that truly has it all.
The affordability also makes it an ideal choice for budget travelers, while the variety of activities ensures you’re not leaving with something to be desired!
Happy travels, and don’t forget to share your own stories and tips with us from Moalboal!