|Moalboal: A Personal Perspective
|Source: The Philippine Diver
|Author: Monie M. Hechanova
Just 2½ hours southwest of Cebu City is the unobtrusive town of Moalboal.
Easily accessible via land, the trip is similar to the Manila ? Anilao route, minus the
?South Suffer? highway traffic. We have done countless of trips to Moalboal
averaging about 10 weekends a year. There have been times when we?ve hopped
on a plane from Manila to Cebu taking the last flight out on Friday night or early
Saturday mornings. From the airport, there are Hi-aces and Tamaraws for the Don
Juans as well as jeepneys for the less sybaritic. The hi-aces rent from Php 2,500
to Php 3,000 for a one-way trip per vehicle while the jeepneys rent from Php 800
to Php 1,000. The roads are will-paved enabling a truly leisurely and scenic drive.
You can also take a regualr bus service from Cebu?s South Bus Terminal
Moalboal?s coastline is replete with resorts, restaurants and dive shops, along
what the locals familiarly call Panagsama Beach. For the upper end, rooms can be
rented at around Php 750 to Php 2,500 per night (air-con included) while on a
lower scale, non-air-con rooms can be rented from Php 250 to Php 500 per room.
Among the resorts are Eve?s Kios,k with spartan and clean rooms, Cabana Lodge,
with beach-side rooms and Whispering Palms Resort located some 15 minutes away
from Panagsama Beach. Whispering Palms has a fantastic view of the sea facing
Badian Island with the most beautiful moonrise view.
Home-cooked meals can be had at the enticing price of Php 40 to Php 60 per
person while the more lavish ones go for Php 100 to Php 200 per person. A favorite
restaurant of ours is the Italian Corner where pizzas and pastas are prepared by
their friendly Italian owner and cook, Dino, who regales you with his cooking
secrets and romantic Italian tales. The pizzas are baked in an authentic
stone-wood oven right before your very eyes.
Diving in Pescador Island is definitely relaxing. Only some 15 minutes away by
pump boat from Moalboal, it is one of the more popular dive sites in the area.
Other dive sites that merit attention are Tongo Point, White Beach, The Marine
Sanctuary, Cepton Point and Badian Island. There are hardly any currents
year-round. It can be explored any time of the year. We have done about a
hundred dives in the surrounding areas and have yet to encounter any
heart-racing, breath-gasping currents. On a lucky day, visibility can reach forever
with a group of gray reefs and white tips to boot. It is a paradise for underwater
photographers because the sites are teeming with awesome giant gorgonian fan
corals, anemones and a wide variety of fish, turtles and nudibranchs. And the
night diving transports one to dreamland.
There are several dive operators in the area, such as Nelson?s, Neptune and
Savedra Dive Centers. Cost per dive ranges from Php 400 to Php 600 (depending
on distance) including tank, boat, weight belt and dive master. We have often
opted to do about 3 to 4 dives on a Saturday, while squeezing in 2 dives on a
Sunday. For schizos such as us who lead two separate lives, that of a beach bum
on weekends and a corporate rat on weekdays, we have flown out from Cebu to
Manila on an early Monday morning flight, complete with office attire, to get to the
workplace by 8am.
Moalboal was introduced to me by Stephen Castillo of Cebu City?s IPI/Sunpride (&
Massage Parlor) fame together with soul buddy Bobby SB (for San Buenaventura if
you please), two very passionate underwater photographers whose photos are
featured in this issue. With just Php 3,000 in my pocket, I have basked in the
magic of many a Moalboal weekend fully recharged, sun tan and splendid memories
Hop on a bus, Gus. Get on a plane, Jane. Take a ship, Skip. But just get there
while you can. No regrets. Promise!
[ Moalboal Wiki ]