It’s more fun in the Philippines! That’s why we had to return to the Philippines for the third time. This time we picked a snorkelling and waterfall paradise of Moalboal in the south of Cebu island. Diving with sea turtles, sardine balls and others definitely make for a great trip and getaway not only for Christmas!

A peaceful morning in the middle of the ocean. Just you and the smoothly gliding sea turtles in Moalboal.
It’s more fun in the Philippines again!

Read more about our previous trips to the Philippines here:

Top Getaway Spots in Coron

Kayaking Paradise in El Nido (only in Czech)

How to escape tourists in El Nido (only in Czech)

Snorkelling, waterfalls and snorkelling again…

In Moalboal, and generally in the whole south of Cebu, there are plenty of snorkelling sites and waterfalls which are only a short drive distance from the city. We picked some less touristy activities during our one week stay in Moalboal. If you don’t fancy organized tours like we do, you can simply follow some suggestions below to save some bucks but more importantly to enjoy the places by yourself.

Where to snorkel in Moalboal: Swimming with turtles around Tauig Resort area

One of the best snorkelling spots were around Kasai Resort area. It’s 25 mins walk (or 10 mins by habal-habal taxi) from the downtown Moalboal. We highly recommend staying at Tauig Resort, which has a private beach and you can go snorkelling early in the morning and sea turtles and other marine life. We saw around 5 turtles on average snorkelling morning. It’s a little remote so you will have the reef only for yourself, unlike in the downtown.

Short activity: Swimming with sardine runs

Chasing sardines is not as easy as we thought. They are damn fast and always form great shapes as they run away.
Sardines in detail. Sometimes cameras can take photos better than what naked eye can see. This was one of the examples.

Day trip: Whale sharks and Inambakan Falls

Whale sharks watching is a controversial activity for sure. We won’t discuss whether you should or shouldn’t but if you decide to go, here are some details. There are a lot of people queuing up for the activity, so better get there early. Our friends reached from Moalboal by 6 am and waited for 2 hours, we arrived at 9 am sharp and waited “only” an hour so it might get better to be a little late.

The gentle giant.

To comment on the experience, we were quite overwhelmed. First, when we jumped in the water and spotted the whale shark, we could only stare while being hit by other tourists freaking out. The whole activity takes around half an hour and if you want to snorkel and enjoy it, take photos, make sure you are not in the way of any boat or shark, you are not being hit by other tourists, it’s really a lot to soak in! Although the photos look like it was a personal encounter with the sharks and no one around, it was actually a mess! Probably just once in life experience…

  • How far is Moalboal from Oslob: 2 hours full-throttle on a scooter (a beautiful and well maintained coastal road with a lot of turns), one full tank (3 litres, around 150PHP) to get there
  • Entrance: 1000 PHP per person (foreigner)
Luckily whale sharks are vegetarians. This guy looks pretty “hungry” and Kate has respect.
Gentle giants appear and disappear in the sea depths very quickly. To have a private session is a matter of luck.
The whale sharks feeding on plankton fed by the local fishermen. Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s difficult to judge as they used to kill them for fins before the booming tourist industry and laws came in.

Inambakan falls are a cascade of around 4-5 waterfalls and locals will try to sell you a guide if you want to reach all of them or want to do cliff jumps. We opted out and went on our own, the first two levels are really beautiful and high water columns falling into the aqua blue water ponds. Upper layers are smaller waterfalls, with a great ending of the last fall – there is a small cave right behind the falling water. The activity took around 2-3 hours and we really didn’t rush. The waterfalls are situated in the hilly centre of the island, so there are nice views on the palm forests all around. A great wind down after the crazy morning with the sharks…

  • From Moalboal to Inambakan Falls: 1 h 20 minutes on a scooter, the same road as to whale sharks
  • Entrance: 50 PHP per person, 15 PHP per vehicle for parking
Last level of Inambakan. Cool spot with plenty of mosquitos behind the scenes.

Hiking Moalboal: Casino peak for the sunset

If you are still left with a lot of energy, you can visit the Casino or Osmena peak on the way home. We left Inambakan around 4:00 PM. Be careful though, because on the map it looks almost like it’s on the way between Inambakan and Moalboal but it’s all the way up, curvy and less maintained road. We overestimated ourselves a little and arrived right after the sunset (although we could see it nicely from the motorbike everywhere around).

Casino peak offers a great view on the “chocolate hills” similar to the ones in Bohol as many says. We arrive around 6:30 there are climbed from the backyard of a friendly family to the peak in around 20 minutes in flip flops. Don’t recommend this as the rocks are quick sharp. It was a perfect spot to end the day with great views and silence. No tourists around at all! The way back took around 3 hours (we decided to take the longer but better road around the east coast rather than going through the hilly, curvy road straight to Moalboal), so the whole Casino peak adventure is for another good 5 hours after the waterfalls. Totally exhausted but WHAT A DAY!

  • Entrance: 50 PHP per person, 15 PHP per vehicle for parking
  • You will need to buy at least one full tank after Inambakan – 150 PHP because it’s a hilly area, lots of ups and downs
The show was over. We didn’t make it in time for a perfect sunset but still could enjoy the chocolate hill’s beauty. All alone.

Kawasan falls

The last adventure out of Moalboal was the Kawasan waterfalls. We heard a lot of noise about the canyoneering based on which we decided not to join the crowds. However, we wanted to visit the falls so we grabbed the scooter and off we go! It’s again a cascade of 3 waterfalls, all of them easily accessible. All of them packed with tourists, but the first one overpacked so we move ahead to another. The best experience was at the last waterfall where there are a swing and a blue lagoon you can swim in. It’s well worth a little climb and it’s a place where the canyoneering guys will end up. It was a rainy afternoon and made for a nice 4 hours trip (slightly less than 2 hours for both ways and 2 hours at the falls). We’ve seen better waterfalls like Inambakan with fewer people but it was great to visit and certainly a good afternoon spent.

  • Entrance: 45 PHP per person, parking 50 PHP for scooter (might have been a scam), if you decide to jump you have to get a guide at 500 PHP but we didn’t

Where to eat in Moalboal: Best pizza in town

After every trip we did in Moalboal, we eventually ended up eating PIZZA as a celebration. Out of the many “famous” restaurants we tried, we were pretty disappointed with the quality. All the beach bars downtown serve what tastes like cheap frozen pizza with a price tag around 350+ PHP. To save you from disappointment, we can only recommend two REALLY GOOD PIZZA places:

  • Mayim Beach Bar – this is a perfect price value ratio restaurant, they have their own wood-fired stone oven and the pizza, as well as slushes, tastes great. Hawaiian 250 PHP. Sea view as a bonus.
  • Trattoria Altrove Moalboal – this is a more pricey and fancier place but the pizza is also made in the stone oven and the portions are bigger than the above. We tried the same restaurant in Coron and the taste was slightly better there, but overall very good. Hawaiian 410 PHP.

If you missed the stories from our previous trips to the Philippines, you can read more here.

Top Getaway Spots in Coron

Kayaking Paradise in El Nido (only in Czech)

How to escape tourists in El Nido (only in Czech)