MANILA, Philippines – Cebu, an island province, abounds with white beaches and marine sanctuaries. Up north is Bantayan Island’s white beach, a crowd favorite, and Malapascua, a choice diving destination, especially if one is keen on shark sightings.
The south of Cebu also has much to offer, and Moalboal, three to four hours away from Cebu City, is among them. With numerous diving and snorkeling sites, white beaches, and a relaxed vibe, Moalboal is arguably one of the south’s best.
With over 10 dive sites teeming with marine life, divers are in for a treat. Snorkelers won’t be disappointed as well, as the reef drop-off is relatively near the beach.
Pescador Island is one of the best dive sites, with coral gardens, schools of fishes, turtles, and sharks. Pescador became known for a sardine run the past few years, where a swarm of fishes could be seen moving almost as one creature underwater.
See the sardine run here:
There are also occasional whale shark sightings in Pescador, though seeing one still depends on chance – and luck.
Snorkelers who do not want to join the boats arranged by dive shops can just snorkel by the reefs just a few meters from the beach, where corals and fish are aplenty. Snorkeling can be done from either or both Panagsama (Basdiot) and White Beach (Basdako).
For those who want to kill two birds with one stone by exploring Moalboal’s dive sites while taking diving lessons, there are established dive sites offering courses.
And speaking of beaches, Moalboal’s White Beach has a perfect stretch of powder-fine white sand great for barefoot walking. While there are areas with rocks on the water’s edge, the other side is smooth sand. Waters are crystal clear, too. And on the horizon you can see the bluish outline of Negros Oriental, less than an hour’s boat ride from Santander, the southern tip of Cebu.
The accommodations along White Beach are pricier than at Panagsama Beach, though, which is a tricycle ride away. While Panagsama also has white sand, most of its shoreline was blown away by a typhoon in 1984.
If you’re staying at Panagsama, it is best to spend at least half a day at White Beach to have time both for relaxing on the sand and exploring the reef.
Evenings are perfect for lying down on the sand and stargazing. You can also watch the shell gatherers, and sometimes fisherfolk, at work. You can even take a walk along the beach at low tide and check out the sea’s nocturnal creatures.
Apart from water activities and chilling on the sand, there is not much to do in Moalboal, unless you count eating and drinking. Those who want to splurge or save money have restaurant and carinderia options. Bars and sari-sari stores sell liquor.
Don’t expect a slamming night life like Boracay’s, though. A drink—or several drinks—with new friends while recounting the day’s underwater adventures and misadventures is more likely.
There are also small shops selling beachwear and souvenirs. Locals are friendly and helpful, and will do what they can to answer your questions and make you feel at home.
So, if you want a beach bumming and diving—or snorkeling—experience in one, why not put Moalboal on your list? – Rappler.com
Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.