The island of Cebu in the Philippines has some extraordinary outdoor adventures to offer. And the best activities are all within a close area.
Cebu is now easily accessible with its international airport. So, I had to take just one day off work and have 3 great adventure days.
Upon arrival, it looked a bit chaotic. Little information for tourists but as soon as I spotted the driver who would bring me to Moalboal I knew I was in good hands. The driver introduced himself and the car had the necessary conveniences including bottled water. We then drove straight to Moalboal. Everyone in the Philippines speaks good English so communication is not an issue. We had to cross the town of Cebu City once to reach south and then drive past a nice mountain area to get to the west side of the island.
On the way, we stopped in a town called Carcar which had some great snacks. One such snack, Chicharon, deserves a special mention. It is some kind of fried pork skin. We were told that Carcar is famous all over Cebu for the best Chicharon.
Once we arrived in Moalboal, I checked into Ivonnes Apartelle, our hotel. It was very clean and not at all noisy. That was an added advantage since we had been told noise can be an issue sometimes as people love cockfighting and the cocks wake up very early.
The same day I explored the permanent massive School of Sardines just off the shore in Moalboal. For some reason, they are there every day since many years. With our GoPro camera, we got some amazing videos. It’s not hard to find the school and you can see them even from the surface while snorkeling. No need to book a SCUBA dive.
After the sardines, we realized that the corals are very healthy too. And all this happens just 20m away from shore. No need for a boat or any other transport. 5 minutes walk from the hotel, get your gear and that is it.
Next day we planned a rappelling adventure with Cyan Adventures. I don’t want to spoil it, but it is simply an amazing experience. Challenging, but not too hard. It’s likewise beneficial for non-swimmers, but you should not be afraid of heights since some of the rappels are 20m+.
In the evening we went for a massage, which was just 3 minutes away from our hotel. The best thing about Moalboal is that everything is so close. No need for any transfers.
Our last day started very early. We got picked up at 6 am to drive to Cebu City to do an easy jungle trekking and caving adventures. At first, we thought “How can there be adventures close to the city?”, but we were proven wrong. I am going to present a detailed version of this experience as it is kind of special.
Just about 30 minutes from the bustling city of Cebu is a protected jungle area. Within this area are many caves. It is not technical caving, so no worries. The nice thing is that all caves are one way and it gets harder as we move from cave to cave. So, it feels more like exploring and also the trekking in between through a pretty amazing wild jungle adds to the fun. We did not see any big animals, but the guides showed us some interesting looking insects. The 3rd cave then had something special. After about only 5 minutes walking into the cave, it gets narrower. Truly speaking, I was hesitant to go on, but then when I saw the guide disappearing into a hole that was really small I just went on. I had to slowly push myself through to make it. Some of the other guests just watched me with a surprised look and decided to turn around. I met them 2 minutes later at the other end of the cave. I looked like a smiling pig. Dirty from top to bottom, but smiling. 🙂 On the way back we stopped at another cave. This one was developed, so it didn’t appeal to me at the first glance. However, after about 10 minutes we reached the end and it was crazy. There was a 15m high waterfall in the middle of the dark cave. Equipped with waterproof flashlights from Cyan we were allowed to bathe ourselves under the waterfall. It felt like in the movie “Lord of the rings”.
Below is my Itinerary for these 3 days and 2 nights in Cebu, Moalboal
Day 1 – Arrival and Sardines
- 9 A.M Arrive in Mactan, Cebu, which now also has international direct flights from many Asian countries.
- 12 AM Transfer with nice aircon van to Moalboal and check in your hotel.
- Lunch in one of the local restaurants
- Afternoon, check out the amazing corals and snorkel the sardines of Moalboal.
- Evening stroll around Panagsama which has plenty of souvenir shops and restaurants
Day 2 – Canyoneering
- Amazing breakfast at “The French Coffeeshop” in Moalboal
- 8:45 check-in for the Malabuyoc Canyoning with Cyan Adventures
- Whole day technical canyoneering with rappelling down 20m high waterfalls
- Plenty of snacks during the tour
- 3 pm late lunch right on the ocean
- 5 pm back in Moalboal to relax and chill out with a massage
Day 3 – Whale Shark Encounter
- Next morning start early at 6 am to drive back to Cebu City for our final Caving tour with Cyan Adventures
- Afterward head back to the airport and fly home
- Flight home
Things to bring
- Bring light clothes but also 1 pair of long pants for the caving
- Sandals, but also closed sports shoes for the caving
- Snorkeling mask and fins if you have, but they can also be rented
- Power adapter
- Unlocked phone – local sim cards are quite cheap
- Immersed in millions of sardines that form clouds and tornados underwater
- Amazing technical canyoneering adventure in the jungle
- Easy and fun caving very close to Cebu City – try to squeeze through “The Gap”
- Great French breakfast
- Safe and reliable transfer with aircon vans
- Amazing corals just 50m from the hotel
- Cheap accommodation
- Bookable as package
- Hassle free
For me, the Sardines experience – even if it’s just a small fish- was the best of the whole trip. Imagine being in the middle of millions of sardines that form spirals, tornadoes and other forms around you. It just feels kind of psychedelic. And about the canyoning, I can only say: Just do it. 🙂
I will definitely come back to Moalboal to explore some other adventures this place has to offer.
Cebu City Caving
Ivonne’s Beach Apartelle,
Panagsama Beach, Moalboal
6032 Cebu, Philippines