TABLE OF CONTENTS
Scuba diving Moalboal, Philippines means huge school of sardines right in front of the village, macro life, turtles, plane wreck and occasional whale sharks.
Wall dives at Pescador Island with schooling jacks and trevally as well as some macro critters is an experience that I recommend. From entry-level to experienced divers, there are different types of dive sites around Moalboal.
It is a good place to take a course too. The sardines and Pescador Island are the most interesting sites for scuba diving, for any experienced scuba diver.
The Visayas region of the Philippines has long been a mecca for scuba divers, with enthusiasts arriving from all over to experience the teeming underwater realm beneath its waters.
Moalboal used to be a fishing town with bountiful harvests until it was discovered by dive explorers in the 1970s – one of the first places on the island to be developed primarily for scuba diving.
Moalboal faces the Tanon Strait, a deep channel that separates the Islands of Cebu and Negros. The coastlines are distinguished by sharply sloping drop offs, so the vast majority of dive sites in the Moalboal area are wall dives along the coastlines.
Great scuba diving in Moalboal
The Sardine Run: Right in front of white beach, is the famous school of sardines. This giant bait ball is so big that it blacks out the sun if you’re diving under it, and you can watch the school dance and dodge the barracudas and occasional thresher shark. The Sardines are even close enough to the shore that snorkelers can see them too.
Pescador Island: Besides Sardine Run, the dives around Pescador Island are the highlight of scuba diving Moalboal. Your dive resort will make Pescador a day trip, and you will get to do 2 or 3 dives around the island, depending on current. You’re going to see some amazing reef, macro critter, turtles, and countless other species.
The House Reefs: The reef drops off right in front of most of the Dive Centres along Panagsama Beach. Schools of jacks and tuna hunt on the reef covered in hard, soft and fan corals. There are resident frogfish and turtles. Even whale sharks have been seen on the fringing reef while scuba diving Moalboal. At night dives you can see decorator crabs, cuttlefish, snake eels, sea snakes and more. Depth is about 5 – 55 metres.
Marine Sanctuary: There is a gigantic sea fan forest between 25 – 40 metres. Amongst the enormous fan corals are lionfish, leaf fish, harlequin ghost pipefish, and the long-nose hawkfish. Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish and white tip sharks also frequent the area. The current can sometimes be strong at the top of the reef. Depth 8 – 45 metres.
Sunken Island: Experienced divers will love this dive site while scuba diving Moalboal. The top of the island starts in 22m and goes down to more than 250m. At the top are big shoals of fusiliers chased by jacks, big lionfish, moray eels, redtooth triggerfish, bannerfish, Spanish dancers. Several whale sharks have been encountered here. Currents can be fierce.
Tongo Point: Cracks, ravines, small caves and some swim through line this steep wall. Inside the caves spot turtles, juvenile barracuda, shoals of razorfish, leaf fish, harlequin ghost pipefish. Bring a torch. Mandarin Fish hide in the shallows, deep in the coral. Depth: 5 – 55 metres.
Moalboal Travel Information
How to get to Moalboal
In almost all situations, you will first need to get into Manila, and head south from there to the Batangas, and take a ferry from there. For locals and budget travelers, the most common mode of transport is by bus.
There is a bus terminal along Taft Avenue, Pasay City. This is nearest to the Ninoy Aquino International and Domestic Airport. The other bus terminals are in Cubao (Quezon City), EDSA corner Kamias Street (Quezon City), Alabang (Muntinlupa City).
Travel time by bus is about 2 hours, although depending on traffic, you could add another hour just getting through Manila. The fare to Batangas Pier should only cost between $30-$5.
If you are scuba diving Puerto Galera, you probably want to stay in Sabang as opposed to White Beach. The boat from the Pier to Sabang should take 1-1.5 hours, and cost about $10 per person. From there you can ask a trike to take you to your hotel.
There are terminal and environmental fees on one side or the other of the ferry stops, but they are each less than $1.
If you are taking a rental or private car from Manila, then you need to head to Batangas Port, not Pier, and take the car ferry.
The ferry takes you to Calapan, and you can drive to Puerto Galera from there. Passangers fees are around $3, and a car fee is about $30, with those same small fees.
Other things to do and see in Moalboal
Besides snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving, there are many activities which can keep you engaged in Moalboal.
You can hike along the Kawasan River, through out the jungle, discovering quaint villages and finally reach the Kawasan Falls.
If you are high on adrenaline rush, you can chose from canoeing, kayaking, rafting or mountain biking.
You can even trek through jungles to visit the highest peak in Cebu, the Osmena Peak.
You must visit the orchid farm. There is an orchid farm and gallery in Moalboal that features hectares of orchids and other tropical plants and a swimming pool.
Check out Lambug Beach, if you want a paradise by yourself. While there is no accommodation, Lambug beach can give you a nice break without noise.
Motor biking and mountain biking. If you want to explore the town, there are motorbikes and mountain bikes you can rent in Moalboal.
Best times to visit Moalboal
Diving in Cebu is good all year round. The visibility is not much affected by the seasons, ranging anywhere between 10m on a very bad day and 30+m on good days.
December to February, the temperature in daytime is around 32C. Temperatures in night time drops to 23 – 25C. There are occasional rain showers. The water is a bit cooler, 26 – 27C.
March to May, the temperature in daytime about 32C. It does not cool off very much in the evening; you can expect also 30 – 32C during most of the nights. The water is only a bit cooler, 27 – 29C. It rains very seldom, sometimes not in weeks.
June to November, the temperature in daytime about 32C. Cebu and the Visayas have not a strong rainy season. Usually it’s bright sunshine in the morning and a short but strong and refreshing downpour in the afternoon. After that, sunshine again. Water temperature is 27 – 29C.
Philippines visa info for Americans:
In Philipines you will get a 30 entry on arrival, no visa needed ahead of time. if you want to stay longer that the 30 days, Philippines has the easiest (by FAR) extension in all of Southeast Asia.
You can extend by one month at a time for a few months, without leaving the country, and after a few months the give you a Philippines Id, and offer 6-12 month visas. The one month extensions usually cost around $60 or less.
To get the extension find a immigration office in either Manila or Cebu City, and other cities around the country. They will hold your passport for a few business days, and thats it. Very easy process for divers that can’t get enough of scuba diving Philippines.
Critter highlights in Moalboal:
Scuba diving Philippines offers so many different types of dives, from muck, reef, drift, wrecks, walls, sharks and much more. In Moalboal, you will find a few of these in one.
Pescador island and some of the other great dive sites around Moalboal, are great examples of what a healthy reef should look like, and as a diver, you will want to experience them/
A few critters you’ll see while scuba diving Moalboal:
– Plenty of nudibranch species.
– Plenty of octopus. They are most see during cephalopod season, and are shy, but they have been seen.
– Blue ring octopus
– Cuttle fish.
– Ornate ghost pipefish, as well as robust ghost pipes.
– A variety of frogfish species. Cutest critters, or ugliest?
– Ribbon and moray eels.
– Giant batfish
– Turtles. More than can be counted on some dives
Where to stay in Moalboal & who to dive with:
Near White Beach, is the most hustle and bustle, with pretty good restaurants and show and dive centers or tour operators. For those just here for diving, there are some great dive resorts on the outskirts of town.
There are a number of great dive resorts in Moalboal, with good gear and boats and crew, and we will give out top favorite pick below. You can also search through more hotels and dive resorts in Moalboal HERE. Let us know if you stayed at our top pick, and what you thought!
Our top pick of who to dive with in Moalboal:
TURTLE BAY DIVE RESORT! We dove with Turtle Bay, and loved their staff, boats, rooms, restaurant dive crew and more. Not to mention that they have a great house reef! MORE INFO.