The Philippines is more than just the megacity Manila it’s full of surprises, from the incredible waterfalls to the tropical islands you are sure to run into a new adventure around every corner. After traveling Dumaguete for a month we knew we couldn’t miss Southern Cebu. Home to some of the best Cebu diving, the famous Kawasan falls and the Sardine run Moalboal you are sure to have a Full packed Moalboal itinerary.
Below we will guide you through everything you need to know about the Sardine run in Moalboal. This is a year-round Phenomenon that is something you must not miss when traveling Moalboal or Cebu.
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Moalboal sardines and how to find the sardine run Moalboal
Finding the Sardines can be a little challenging if you don’t go to the correct beach. Thankfully you can ask locals for help they’re very friendly I think it’s apart of the Filipino culture. Also, we have already made that mistake so it should be very easy for you! Located 15 minutes outside of Moalboal is a beach called Panagsama Beach. This is where you can find millions of sardines swimming in waves just off the coral reef. You need to swim out from the beach until you see the break and that where they are (You can’t miss it).
Cebu to Moalboal
Bus to Moalboal from Cebu City
Getting From Cebu City to Moalboal is actually pretty easy. With Moalboal being home to the most famous waterfall in the Philippines ( Kawasan Falls ) they do have a direct bus that travels there daily. From the Cebu City South bus terminal they have direct buses that go to the Moalboal bus terminal for a very affordable price. This is the same bus that takes you from Cebu city to Dumaguete. This 4-hour journey can be as little as 120 PHP ($2.50 USD)for a local bus with no air conditioning or you can ride a little more comfortable with air conditioning for 150 PHP ($3 USD). Both buses stop every 20 minutes or so to pick up more passengers so make sure you get to the station early so you can get a seat.
Private Car to Moalboal from Cebu City
If you have some extra cash and would like to get the most comfortable ride to Moalboal possible you can take a private car. This journey is by no means the cheapest but it is faster. Only taking 3 hours to get there by car, you can save yourself an hour and have maximum comfort the whole way. Most city Taxi won’t take you but if you book grab it can cost as little as 3000 PHP ($57.81 USD).
Oslob to Moalboal
Another very popular spot in Cebu is Oslob. Many people visit here to swim with the Whale Sharks and see the waterfalls. Although we do not suggest seeing the whale sharks in Oslob due to ethical reasons we do suggest seeing the waterfalls here on your Oslob tour. If you are coming from Oslob and looking to travel to Moalboal there are a couple of different ways to get there.
Bus from Oslob to Moalboal
If you are going to take a bus this will be the most crowded but the cheapest way to get there. This journey takes around 2.5 hours. When u leave from Oslob, take a bus south to Bato station. This is where you will have to get off and changeover to the bus that goes to Moalboal. It’s the Barili-Cebu South route. It’s very easy and if you need directions the locals are super friendly and won’t mind helping you. To be honest, if you plan to spend a couple of days in Moalboal (we highly suggest it if you are Moalboal diving) than I highly suggest doing Moalboal Cebu first before Oslob. Getting a bus ride from Oslob back to Cebu City is easier and trips are regularly taken.
Private Car from Oslob to Moalboal
To be honest I don’t think this is possible. I do however think you may be able to get a trike or hire someone from your hotel in Oslob but there is no grab in southern Cebu or Taxis. The only option you have is a bus or trike.
** If you have extra time and want to see more of the Philippines make sure you don’t miss El Nido and Coron. These are two of the most popular spots in the Philippines and for a good reason.**
Sardine Run Cost
Ok, so this is the best part and one of the reasons Moalboal Philippines should be on your list no matter what your budget is. Moalboal snorkeling is completely free if you bring your own snorkel. However, if you don’t bring your own snorkel that is ok, they are very cheap. You can rent a snorkel from any of the various shops along the beach for as little as 100PHP. If you would like Fins that is an additional 100 PHP ($1.93 USD).
Sardine run diving
Diving in Moalboal Cebu is from what we hear unforgettable. As we have not personally been we can only tell you prices. From our research diving can range from 1350 PHP ($26 USD) to 1530 PHP ($29.50 USD) depending on if you are day or night diving. This cost includes all your gear and guide, including your tank, fins weights and everything you need.
What to expect at Sardine Run Moalboal
When we were first on our way there we had no idea what this was going to be like. Pictures just don’t do it justice. Have you ever seen that clip from Finding Nemo where all the fish are in the tube (traveling the highway)? It’s like that! We were in complete shock, at the sheer beauty in the waves of fish!
With millions of sardines forming wave-like shapes in the ocean you can just swim through them. They are completely harmless and tons of fun to swim through. As you swim through the waves they form tunnel-like shapes and just form back together when you get to the other side. Moalboal Sardine Run Snorkeling was a must not miss if you are in Cebu and was the main highlight of our trip.
It wasn’t always like this. In recent years the sardines have migrated from the nearby island to the shore of Moalboal. They form these waves like shapes mainly for protection from the larger fish.
Where to stay in Moalboal
When staying in Moalboal they have tons of options for accommodations that range from a Moalboal hostel stay to nice Moalboal resorts. Most of the time if we are looking for a hotel or hostel we use Booking.com. They always make sure we are covered in case of miscommunication, overbooking or just not satisfied. The two closest places in both budget ranges are Adams View Hotel which is only 700M from Moalboal and Smooth Cafe Hostel which is only 3 KM away. Whatever you choose, make sure you find something that’s closest to the beach because once you are on the beach you can really walk the entire town.
Check down below for all available options.
We hope this guide was helpful for you to prepare for your trip and you have a great trip to Cebu! This island really does have some of the most magical attractions including our favorite waterfall Inambakan falls. If you just have to see Kawasan falls make sure you visit the upperpart for some of the best cliff jumping.
Let us know below if you have any more questions or if we missed something!
Thanks for reading!