Two Days in Moalboal

Two days in Moalboal

Moalboal is a lively town on the southeastern side of Cebu Island.  The Panagsama Beach area is lined with restaurants, bars, dive shops, and cheap hostels.  Though small, the Panagsama area sports a bustling nightlife with an eclectic mix of backpackers, divers, and locals.  The town serves as a great home base from which to explore the numerous beaches, waterfalls, and hikes in the area. Moalboal is also incredibly accessible via yellow Ceres buses that run constantly throughout the day; making it a great place to add to an itinerary of Cebu and the Central Visayas.
 
Here’s how we spent our two days in Moalboal:

Day 1: Cambais Falls

Our first day in Moalboal we rented a motorbike and headed about an hour south to check out Cambais Falls; a less well-known neighbor to Kawasan Falls.  Cambias is comprised of three falls with deep, cerulean pools perfect for swimming and jumping.  Besides a few locals we had the entire place to ourselves.  The locals were kind enough to show us where it was safe to jump from and we spent a wonderful afternoon jumping, swimming and taking pictures. (local guide recommended but not required)
 
How to get there:
 
Option 1:  Rent a motorbike and drive south from Moalboal.  After about an hour of driving, you’ll get to the small town of Alegria where there are countless Kawasan Canyoning tour companies.  Drive for another couple of kilometers past Alegria then take your first left-the road should immediately start going uphill.  A word of warning: The last 3km of road is steep, and mostly unpaved, so drive with caution.  If you are confident in your driving skills I would recommend renting a semi-automatic XRM scooter so that you can shift into a lower gear when going up and down the steep sections.
 
Option 2:  If you don’t feel comfortable driving on a dangerous road then hop on a yellow Ceres bus heading south and tell them to drop you off at Alegria.  From there you can easily hire someone to take you there on the back of their motorbike.  Just make sure that you arrange roundtrip transportation from Alegria because there isn’t much traffic on the road.
cambias falls moalboal cebu

Day 2: Kawasan Falls and local "movie theater"

After going back and forth, we finally decided to pull the trigger and do the Kawasan Canyoning tour that you see advertised all over Moalboal.  We were unsure at first if we should do the tour because the 1,500 peso ($30US) price tag was a little above our daily budget.  We also heard from several people that you could essentially do the tour in reverse, starting at Kawasan, instead of finishing there, for free.  The possibility of skipping the tour and saving some money was enticing, but we had experienced the pitfalls of going without a guide in Indonesia and decided to fork out the cash and do it legit.  The price is the same everywhere you go and every company offers the exact same tour so there’s no need to shop around.  The 1,500 peso fee includes roundtrip transportation, helmet and lifejacket (and proper shoes if needed), a guide, and lunch.  The start of the tour is a 30-minute trek to the beginning of the canyon; at the bottom of which is a river that runs to Kawasan falls.  Once you reach the canyon, you jump, swim, slide, crawl, and hike your way down the river until you reach Kawasan.  The trip features a number of gorgeous falls dumping into cerulean blue pools.  The highlight of the trip for most people (myself included) are the numerous cliff jumping spots along the trip.  They vary in size from 3 to 15 meters with some jumps (small ones) being mandatory, but most are optional.  The trip was one of the coolest activities we’ve done so far on our travels and was worth every penny.  Similar canyoning treks cost hundreds of dollars on Bali so in retrospect, $30 was a pretty reasonable price for what we got.

canyoneering at kawasan falls moalboal cebu
All the guesthouses and hostels offer canyoning trips, so chances are wherever you stay can set up a tour for you.  If not, Chief Mau hostel on Panagsama road does canyoning trips every day. 
 
After a full day of canyon trekking, we were both pooped and in the mood for a more low-key alternative to a night of Red Horse fueled partying.  It just so happened that right across from Chief Mau Hostel-where we stayed, was an internet café/“movie theater”.  The movie theater was simply a room with a projector along with a couch and some comfy cushions.  For 100 pesos you could rent out the room and pick from the hundreds of movies available on the computer.  It’s nothing fancy but it was exactly what we needed after a day of adventuring. 
canyoneering at Kawasan falls

Watch a recap of our time in Moalboal here

Other Considerations

Two days simply isn’t enough time to do everything in Moalboal, here are some other popular considerations in Moalboal that we didn’t have time for.

1. White Beach

white beach moalboal cebu

The Philippines are a bounty of riches when it comes to pristine beaches.  If you are in the mood for some soft sand between your toes; then head north from Moalboal to White Beach.  From talking to locals and other travelers; it’s supposed to be a less touristy version of Boracay’s White Beach.  We had just spent the better part of two months relaxing on beaches in Indonesia, so we opted for a more adventuresome route while we were here.  Had we more time, we definitely would have checked out White Beach.

2. Snorkeling/Diving

sardine run in moalboal cebu
Another big box on the Moalboal checklist is snorkeling/diving for the famous sardine run that takes place just off the coast of Panagsama Beach.  Apparently, there is a school of over a million sardines that can be seen via snorkeling or diving.  Not gonna’ lie, the pictures on the internet look epic, but looking out from the shore the water is dirty and murky.  We had plans to dive at Apo Island and in Coron, so we took a pass on the sardine run.

3. Osmeña Peak

osmena peak moalboa cebu

Osmena Peak is the highest point on Cebu island.  Located about a little over an hour south of Moalboal; Osmena offers some of the best views on the island.  The peak is located further up the road from Cambais Falls.  We had planned on driving up to the peak after checking out Cambais but a thunderstorm was rolling in and we decided against it.  It looks like there are trekking options available, but if you are short on time you can hire a habal-habal (local tricycle) driver to take you up to the peak from Moalboal.

I highly recommend adding a stop in Moalboal to your trip if you are going to Cebu.  You should plan a minimum stay of two days, with it being possible to do everything 4 days.  This town has a nice energy, good food, good bars, nice beaches, and plenty of activities.  If time wasn’t a factor for us we probably would have stayed for at least a week.  Alas, time is money; we only had 30 days in The Philippines and a lot we wanted to see.
2 days in moalboal

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