Filipinos celebrate Philippine Independence Day every 12 of June. It’s obviously a holiday – a non-working holiday in the country. We honored this mostly in a formal way, when I say formal it’s like taking the excitingly-no-boring-long queue parade, hearing government official uplifting words and participating any other political activities. It’s not normal (at least in my observation) for Filipinos in every household to have its own party, we kind of observing independence day without too much alcohol and party (except when we go out from the house to commemorate this kind of occasion or simply for a holiday break or bar parties in big cities). Unlike any other countries (which I’ve read and heard from other travelers, correct me if I’m wrong, no violent reaction please) they have their own set of huge parties everywhere on their independence day. I’m not against this we have our own way to celebrate (I secretly wish we do the same way they do for a change).
This year, I traveled again during this break with another group of friends, and my close friend Margot finally decided to revisit Moalboal in Cebu to do other activities that she hasn’t done. I vividly remember that I was also traveling last year in a beautiful Islas de Gigantes, dedicated the independence day with 2 other mates.
We set our decision for Moalboal to grant my friend Margot’s request. I confidently organize tours in this area, even if I revisited interminable times, I’m still in awe whenever I drop in. Since I’m a water lover (don’t be confused, I’m not a diver nor a freediver yet), I’m always delighted to see things underwater and Moalboal is by far one of the best to do this. Here are my personal preferable things to do in Moalboal for an overnight stay.
Yes! There are thousands of dolphins in the area which is named as Tanon Strait, although these dolphins are more popular in the facing Negros Island, yet, we still be able to see Spinner dolphins along Tanon Strait near Moalboal, but, it merely depends on the weather too, they are wild and natural, their time is unpredictable though mostly active during early in the morning, yet, Tanon Strait is the dolphin’s huge playground which we cannot envision their exact location, patience is widely tested to search for dolphins but heaven-on-earth feelings when you get to see one. These dolphins are lively and playful. Unfortunately, during our stopover this time, there was no show up of Dolphins. However, this doesn’t happen all the time, in my countless visit here, I seldom experience a no-show-dolphins. (Photo posted here is the one I took months ago during one of my work as a tour guide)
2018 Update: I originally didn’t include Kawasan Falls in this list of things to do in Moalboal since it’s not exactly in the town itself. Still, if you stay a night in Pangasama you can quickly get to the falls from there. In fact, it will take you much less time than taking the bus directly from Cebu city. You can even combine a quick stop at the falls with a visit to Oslob since it’s right between these 2 locations.
Moalboal is primarily a diving destination and that’s what this article focuses about. Still, Kawasan Falls offer a good alternative to people who don’t like diving, or for families with small children. If you are feeling adventurous, take out the Kawasan canyoneering tour instead. This one leaves from Moalboal itself and takes only a few hours to complete. Trust me, it’s one of the most fun and exciting activities you’ll ever find in the Philippines.
With more than 2,000 species of fish in Moalboal, many of which are on Pescador Island. This very small island has fantastic corals which covered the sandy slope. Its visibility can reach of up to 40 meters, although, boatmen and guides reminding me constantly every time I visit that currents should be observed as it’s moving in different areas in every season. Nevertheless, the alluring beauty of this island is unimaginable. Pescador is only less than 1 km in size, unoccupied, with 2 access steps and of course a lighthouse
Unlike in Apo Island Negros, where turtles are visible just 3 meters away from the land, Moalboal has its own turtle sanctuary too, located near the Panagsama beach probably 500 meters away to the south side. In this area, you need to swim to the sanctuary, if you hired a boat for the island hopping, this is easier for you will stop at the area directly. I usually see a maximum of 3 huge turtles within reach, but this time, we saw 4, 1 of which was gigantic. There’s massive of corals and fish aside from watching visibly the turtles.
The place is known for its sardine run. Billions of sardines actually. The location is just in front of Panagsama beach also known locally as Basdiot. I personally liked interacting with this silver-gray-look of sardines, they seemed dancing in the water. About 30-50 meters away from the shore, you can be able to witness the charming sardines in its deep sea.
I fondly call this as “my own sanctuary” since the first day I disembark the place years ago. They’re so many beauty lurking beneath the depthless surface. An unexplainable feeling whenever I’m in this sanctuary, and I’m glad Margot loved it the way I do.
The island fronting Moalboal is Negros island, a mountainous place where the beauty of the sunset is in this area, which noticeable at the white beach (locally known as Basdaku). I also love the ambiance of Hale Manna Resort watching the sunset in front of the island. White beach or Basdaku is also a place for karaoke, camping, playing volleyball, snorkeling, swimming and resting in the wide space of the beach with numerous local rooms that are open for tourists. It is also where most of the boats docked or anchored in.
I did all of these for an overnight stay, or which merely can be done for one day. I spent on an average of Php 2,000.00 inclusive of food, accommodation, transportation (to and from Dumaguete City), water and fee for all activities. Speaking of food, we splurge Php 300.00 each of us for our dinner, so, if you are such a frugal one like me, you’ll spend lesser than the average one day expense.
Oh.. BONUS! Speaking of Food or where to eat? There are many carenderias (or small local restaurant in the white beach) and several restaurants in Panagsama beach. We tried Chili’s resto in Panagsama for dinner and carenderia in White beach for breakfast and lunch.
For FREEDIVERS and DIVERS, Moalboal is also best for one-day activity.
P.S. There’s insufficient supply of water in the white beach, thus, most of the toilet or shower room owned by the residents here (or comfort room) requires a minimum fee for usage.
Author: Ferna Mae
Ferna is a spontaneous traveler from the Philippines who had a great experience traveling her own country first before she embarked to other countries. She thrives to be more independent in her own skin. Connect with her at email@example.com