Why Moalboal and where to stay
I was in Moalboal for four nights and five days while visiting the south island of Cebu in the Philippines. Moalboal is the perfect location to base yourself while exploring southern Cebu. There is food and internet. It is close to all major tourist spots in the Philippines like famous waterfalls and beaches. There are also some nice resorts for those who want a more comfortable stay.
I stayed at the Blue Orchid Resort in Moalboal, which turned out to be the perfect base for all my excursions on the island!
Where to eat in Moalboal
Joining me on my trip was my friend Brad Chilby, a landscaper photographer from Sydney, Australia. It was Brad's first trip to an Asian country, and he was very concerned about where to eat and drink. Coming from India, I was not at all worried about food in the Philippines. All our meals were either at McDonald's or the resort where we were staying. McDonald's always seemed super crowded with a mix of people - tourists, foreigners, and Filipinos. The fish burgers were delicious (and I think I am going to have one even as I write this post!). A couple of times, we also drove to the neighboring town of Panagsama that has a unique mix of restaurants serving traditional and international cuisines. I was feeling sorry for Brad. He only ate potato wedges for dinner one time while I enjoyed my delicious lasagna. For the rest, we munched on Australian energy bars and cookies that Brad had brought with him from Sydney!
Where to get coffee in Moalboal
I was able to get coffee only once at the local 7-Eleven. It was black without milk, and I bought a small packet of coffee-mate to go. When I went back there on another day, the coffee machine was not working, and when I went to another 7-Eleven, they didn't carry coffee. I think your best bet is to make your coffee at your hotel and bring it in a thermos with you.
Where to get money in Moalboal
I had withdrawn some cash from the ATM at the Mactan international airport in Cebu, but it was not enough. I still had to pay the resort and the tour guides. However, getting money from an ATM in Moalboal was not an easy affair. One afternoon our tour guide took us to all the ATMs in town, and not a single machine was working. I had to finally pay the resort through Paypal (that incurred a surcharge), and wait another day to go back to the ATM in Moalboal to pay our tour guides. (Information on the tour guides and the driver I hired at the end of the post).
Things to do in Moalboal
There are several things you can do in Moalboal like going island hopping in Pescador, exploring Lambug Beach Road, White Beach, and Panagsama Beach. The town of Moalboal itself is worth exploring if you are an Australian or a European maybe. For me, it was a regular Indian town, but for my friend, he had never seen anything like it. The roadsides were lined with fruit and vegetable stalls, and there was also an open market selling fish. We wanted to go to Pescador and had prearranged a boat; however, the weather changed, and a typhoon was predicted canceling our plans for island hopping. I had to settle for a coconut water drink outside a roadside stall instead, while Brad was happy taking long-exposure shots of the traffic!
Other things to do around Moalboal
As I already said, Moalboal is a great town from where you can fully explore the south island of Cebu. Kawasan Falls is a drive of about 30-40 minutes, while Inambakan Falls and Binalay Hidden Falls are about an hour and a half away. Oslob, Sumilon Island, and the historic Boljoon Church can make a nice day trip from Moalboal.
What I did in 4 days in Moalboal
The first day we spent touring the famous waterfalls of south Cebu. Starting from Kawasan Falls, we drove to the Inambakan Falls and ended our day at the Binalay Hidden Falls. The only food we had the whole day was chocolate cookies and energy bars that Brad had brought with him from Australia! It was a day, unlike any other. I had swum in the Kawasan Falls; experienced canyoneering for the first time in my life, almost drowned in the water at the Inambakan Falls, and swung on a tyre at the Binalay Hidden Falls! We ended our day drinking coconut water, freshly plucked by our tour guides from the enormous palm trees lining the dirt trail to the Binalay Hidden Falls. It was also Brad's first coconut.
Seven things to make a note of while visiting Cebu:
The people are very helpful and friendly.
Not all 7-Eleven's have coffee.
ATMs in Moalboal are super unreliable. You might want to withdraw cash at the Mactan International Airport.
When you don't know what to eat, Mcdonald's is always a great idea.
You cannot leave the island without drinking coconut water from coconuts freshly plucked from the trees.
At least once, you have to eat at a traditional Filipino restaurant standing on stilts in the sea.
You have to get a photo of you in the traditional Filipino boat out in the sea.
Tour guide and driver, contact information
For my trip to southern Cebu, I hired private guides whom I found online through another travel blog. They are young Filipino boys and licensed canyoneering instructors in Kawasan and live in Badian. They know the island very well. I also hired a driver who lives in Moalboal. They were all helpful, decent people, and we were fortunate to find them. Here are their contact numbers:
Mike Vincent, and you can get in touch with him on Whatsapp at 09363859321 or through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mikevincent.africano.9.
His friend Wilson was the one who took us canyoneering. Wilson's phone number is 09975063173 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wilson.capacio.
The driver's name is Bogs, and his phone number is 09677201369.