Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
What to see: Huge school of sardines right in front of the village, macro, turtles, plane wreck and occasional whale sharks. Wall dives at Pescador Island with schooling jacks and trevalli as well as some macro
(The dive shops might offer visits to Oslob to see whale sharks. Don’t go!)
Diving: Shore entry to get to the housereefs at most dive shops. Short boat rides in small boats to the other dive sites. The divers are usually brought back after each dive.
Level: From entry-level to experienced diver, there are different types of dive sites around Moalboal. It is a good place to take a course too. For experienced divers the sardines and Pescador Island are the most interesting sites.
Who should go there: Divers who want to experience a massive school of fish and like the variety of dive sites. The marine life besides the sardines is not too fancy but does offer a bit of everything.
How to get there: Flight to Cebu and either transfer or bus (from South bus station, 2 1/2 hours) to Moalboal
Where to stay: Accommodation in all price ranges is available in Moalboal. The accommodation and dive shops are scattered along the beach. I found it useful to stay in the southern area of Panagsama Beach as the sardines were hanging around right in front.
Where to dive: Cebu Dive Centre, Sea Quest Dive Center, Neptune Diving Adventure and Savedra Dive Center are located at Panagsama Beach with a range of accommodation and food options near by, but no beach. The other dive shops are organised with beach resorts. These are the Blue Abyss Dive Shop, Love’s Beach & Dive Resort, Quo Vadis Dive Resort, Turtle Bay Dive Resort, Magic Island Diving Resort and the Asian Belgian Dive Resort.
Rates: Shore dive from USD 20, boat dive from USD 25
Climate: Around 27°C all year round, the least rain falls from January till April
Water temperature: 29°C in summer, 26°C in winter
Visibility: 10 to 30 m
Season: Diving is possible all year round. More rain is expected from May till April, the visibility does not change a lot with the seasons.
Favorite dive sites: The sardines!!!
I arrived by bus from Cebu and stayed at an economic hotel at Panagsama beach. To find a place to dive with I went shopping around. I asked for prices, group size and tried to get a feeling for the staff. I ended up diving with Sea Quest Dive Center. They are a very professional and friendly operation I can fully recommend. I paid PHP 1100 (USD 25) per guided dive with a private guide just for my buddy and I.