Diving with sardines in Moalboal

Diving at Moalboal, Philippines.

For anyone visiting Cebu Island, Moalboal is one of the stops that should not be missed. It is known for its good dive spots and it is also the cheapest place to go diving in the Philippines. Moalboal also offers excellent snorkeling and free diving areas just a few meters from the shore.

How to get to Moalboal

Moalboal is 80 kilometers west of Cebu City. In the city, go to the South Cebu Bus Terminal and just ask the drivers for the bus going to Moalboal. It usually takes 3 hours to get there. It is the cheapest way to get threre – 75 pesos for a non-airconditioned bus, and 115 pesos for an air-conditioned one.

Diving with turtles at Moalboal

Where to stay in Moalboal

We only stayed in Hotel Sister’s Inn (we booked through Booking.com), just a few meters from the Panagsama beach and the snorkeling and diving spots. We paid 750 pesos for a fan room with kitchen that is good for 2 people. However, there are plenty of budget to high-end accommodations, fronting the coast and snorkeling spots.


Moalboal Dive shops

Dive shops are everywhere in Moalboal, located conveniently in front of the beach and dive spots. I did my dive with Quo Vadis Dive Resort. They have new equipment and good dive instructors. I did 5 dives with them, 1350 pesos for each dive.

Dive Spots in Moalboal

Moalboal offers a great variety of dive spots. Night dives are also popular there as well. Here are some of the dive spots that I went to during my time there.

House reef and Sardine Run

The shallow reef just a few meters from the shoreline is filled with colorful corals and various species of fishes, and a couple of turtles here and there. The house reef is also good for snorkeling. Then there will be a sudden drop where you’ll see jacks, mackerel, and other bigger fishes.

The sardine run is unique. Millions of sardines form a giant ball underwater, visible even when snorkeling. They group together to form different shapes. Mackerels and jacks can be seen going through this big school of sardines, hunting the sardines.

Pescador Island

Pescador Island, which is just a 15-minute boat ride from Moalboal offers several dive sites around it. Each dive there will give you different things to see each time. You’ll see a wide variety of hard and soft corals, and a very diverse species of fishes. One of the dive sites features a cave, while in another you will dive on to a plateau.

Tuble Dive Spot

I don’t think I’ve never seen so many turtles in my previous dives than in Tuble. Several turtles are found resting, swimming away, or feeding. In addition, the dive spot also has a very healthy aquatic life.

When you’re not diving

Rent a motorbike for 400 pesos/day and drive yourself to the beaches in Moalboal. Or better yet, drive 15 kilometers south to Badian town to do the Canyoneering in Kawasan, which I highly recommend to anyone doing a South Cebu trip.

Overall Experience

I’d definitely recommend anyone who wants to dive to go to Moalboal. It is cheap and you will find many interesting dive spots. A few minutes of driving will take you to its white sand beaches. Further south, you can take a quick day trip to Kawasan Falls.

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Text by Jen Yap, photos by Martien Janssen