Just before the whole world went into lockdown at the beginning of this year, I found myself in the Philippines. Yes, I was even stuck in Asia during the Corona outbreak. Just as I arrived in Cebu City and continued to Moalboal, I got the news from my taxi driver: The Philippines will be in a strict lockdown within a few days. After 8 months of traveling I still didn’t feel like going home quickly, so I stayed in Moalboal for a few weeks until my rescueflight.
That’s how I got to know this coastal town very well. Moalboal is a popular backpackers spot and it has a very nice atmosphere. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Moalboal!
Before I traveled to the Philippines, I already roughly devised an itinerary, but now I’m going to save if for next time!
7 things to do in Moalboal
1. Snorkeling with turtles and sardines
One of the coolest things to do in Moalboal is completely free (if you already have a snorkel yourself). Which is snorkeling with the many turtles and sardines. One of the best places to do this is from a small rocky beach next to Chili Bar (a very nice bar by the way).
When you can walk into the water with your snorkel you’ll spot your first turtle before even knowing it! When you swim a bit further, it quickly starts to get much deeper. There you will find the huge family of sardines. You can see notice them deep down thanks to the reflection of the sun. I loved seeing it!
It’s not necessary to book a tour, unless you want to dive.
2. Kawasan Falls
One of the most popular attractions in Moalboal is the photogenic Kawasan Falls. The falls are mainly known for adventurous canyoning. If you would like to do this, book your tour preferably at the entrance and not in advance, so you’ll save a lot of money.
Even if you’re not interested in canyoning, the waterfalls are beautiful to visit. Keep in mind that it can be very busy.
3. Cambais Falls
If you find Kawasan Falls too busy, visit the less touristy Cambais Falls. The falls are quite easy to reach by scooter. It’s about an hour’s drive from Moalboal. Next it’s about a 15 minute walk from where you park your scooter.
Since the Philippine government had decided to close the tourist sites, the Cambais Falls were actually closed as well. Via an alternative route along small waterfalls I eventually ended up at the Cambais Fall. After a pleasant chat and an innocent look, the locals let me through for 10 minutes. Who can say they had such a beautiful place all to themselves!
4. White beach
Moalboal is a coastal town and therefore there are several beautiful beaches within reach, such as White Beach to the north. We drove our scooters to one of the resorts, ordered a drink and spent the whole day relaxing on the beach. Amazing!
5. Lambug Beach
Another lovely beach is Lambug Beach, which is located a bit further south. It’s more than half an hour away by scooter, but the route is very beautiful.
6. Casino Peak
From the Cambais Falls, it takes about half an hour to drive to Casino Peak. It’s not a very popular place, but it’s very beautiful. This viewpoint was actually not on my list at all, but I came across it by chance.
It took me about 20 minutes to reach the viewpoint. Have you ever heard of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol? Well this view matches pretty well!
7. Osmeña Peak
The view from Osmeña Peak, on the other hand, is even more beautiful. This viewpoint is located at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters and it therefore takes a little more time to come up, namely 30 – 60 minutes. But I can assure you that the view is well worth the effort.
At the entrance it’s said that you need a guide. However, this isn’t necessary at all, because the route is well indicated. In addition, you’re not the only one walking up, so there are plenty of people to follow.
Pro tip: If you want to drive back to Moalboal from the Osmeña peak, choose the blue route below (1 hr 35 min) The middle gray route (1 hr 37 min) may seem more convenient and is also less kilometers, but I can tell you out of experience that this isn’t a smart idea.
The road was fine at first, but the quality quickly deteriorated to the point that we only drove over loose stones. Going back was not an option, because then we had to go up the mountain with all those loose stones.
We had to get off the motorbike continuously and slipped away several times. At one point we found ourselves in the middle of the jungle far away from civilization and also without data to call. If we’d had a flat tire at that moment, it might be the end of the story. We only had a few Oreo cookies and 1 bottle of water left.
When we saw a black snake slithering over the path in front of our feet and meanwhile were bitten by mosquitoes, we were completely fed up. But there was no other option than to continue because it was getting dark. After a few hours of plowing, just before sunset, we finally reached an asphalt road again and saw houses. Once but never again!
Tips for accommodations in Moalboal
Moalboal is a popular backpacker destination, so there is plenty of choice from several nice guesthouses and hostels
I stayed in a dorm of Crazy Bears Hostel the longest. The rooms are very neat and the bar in the courtyard offers very cheap drinks. They also feature double rooms and even a few apartments where I stayed for a week with 3 other stranded backpackers.
Chief Mau Moalboal Hostel is also recommended. They have both double rooms and dorms with 6 or 8 beds. In addition, this hostel is the closest to the center of the village and to the sea.
If you are looking for a party hostel, then Hangover Hostel is the right place for you. The hostel has neat dorms and a cozy atmosphere.
Best bars en restaurants in Moalboal
Typical Filipino dishes and large portions, that’s Tiki N Turtles. During happy hour you can feast on dirt cheap delicious rum colas.
The most delicious pizza you can eat at Trattoria Altrove Moalboal. Not exactly cheap, but definitely worth your money!
B-B’s Cocina Restaurant & Bar offers a great choice of cheap Filipino meals and delicious smoothies.
Mila’s Store has a fairly extensive menu for delicious Filipino dishes and that for a small price. They also have delicious desserts and smoothies.
Cravings for Western food? Then check out Smooth Cafe Moalboal. You can try their tasty sandwiches, vegan burgers and delicious cakes.
I mentioned it earlier in this post: Chili Bar, the place to have drinks and play a game of pool in the evening. There is a super chill atmosphere and you’ll meet some new people for sure.
How to get to Moalboal
From Cebu City Airport, take a Grab for about 400 pesos for a ride of about an hour. Then you can take the bus to Moalboal for 156 pesos (less than €3) + 50 pesos for your luggage. The bus takes about 3 to 4 hours. Next you have to take a tuk-tuk for about 150 pesos that will take you to the center of the village.