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Day trip to Moalboal and Kawasan Falls in Cebu

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My friend Joemar (Lakwatserong Irigenyo) and I had a whole free day before heading to Bantayan Island and Malapascua Island, so we looked for possible day trips from Cebu City. I’d always wanted to go to Moalboal, so I suggested that we take a private tour in Moalboal and Kawasan Falls in Badian via KKDay.

Moalboal is a municipality in the south of the province popular among snorkeling enthusiasts and scuba divers. The best things you can do in Moalboal is snorkel in Pescador Island and see the sardine run. Meanwhile, Kawasan Falls is located in Badian, about 40 minutes away from Moalboal. It’s undeniably one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the Philippines.

P.S. Heading in South Cebu? Read about our Travel Guide to Moalboal and Day Trip in Oslob.

Island hopping tour in Moalboal

From Cebu City, our KKDay guide drove us to the port in White Beach, which is the main jump-off point for island hopping tours in Moalboal.

First, we attended a quick orientation in the tourism office. It lasted 2-3 minutes wherein the officer told us what we’d be doing and a reminder not to touch the corals or the wildlife. Joemar and I agree that we could’ve done without it.

Soon, we were boarded on the tour boat.

The island hopping tour includes 3 stops: Pescador Island, Sardine Run (Pinagsama Beach) and Turtle Point.

Pescador Island

It took about 20 minutes to reach Pescador Island. It’s a small island with jagged rocks. The surrounding area is a marine shelf, which makes it a good snorkeling area. There were already several boats when we arrived, including a group of divers.

Pescador Island in Moalboal, Cebu
Pescador Island.

Around the boat, there were colorful corals and schools of small fish, but further ahead I noticed that while there’s a lot of corals, they are mostly brown. I’m not an expert so I don’t know if this is their natural color or a result of ocean warming. I love snorkeling so I’m almost always happy just floating above coral gardens, though admittedly the one here didn’t really impress compared to other places I’d been to in the past (e.g., Apo Island, Apo Reef in Mindoro and even certain areas in Batangas), so I was quick to get back to the boat.

Scuba diving in Pescador Island, Cebu
Scuba divers in Pescador Island.
Snorkeling in Pescador Island, Moalboal
Snorkeling in Pescador Island.

Snorkeling in Pescador Island, Moalboal

Snorkeling in Pescador Island, Moalboal

Sardine Run (Pinagsama Beach)

The sky had turned overcast and the waves got rough. We spent a long time getting to Panagsama Beach. Our boat turned out to be slow too, as other boats got past us one by one.

We finally stopped a few meters from the shore in Panagsama Beach, where the sardines can be seen. The sardines form a group (often called a ball) to protect themselves from predators, and here it’s possible to see them all year round. In fact, those staying in Pinagsama Beach do not have to rent a boat to see the sardine run — they can just snorkel right from the shore.

I was able to glimpse a school of sardines, but soon after I could not keep up with the ocean’s condition. The waves weren’t the problem, it was the strong current underneath. I felt like if I had stayed longer, I would’ve been pulled away and even with fins it was difficult to get back to the safety of the ladder hanging from our boat.

Sardine run in Moalboal, Cebu (Philippines)

Sardine run in Moalboal, Cebu
Sardine run. (Photo by Barbie Leones)

Turtle Spot

This is an area for turtle sightings. Similar to the sardine run, you can go here by swimming from the shore or a boat tour.

We weren’t able to get here because the Taiwanese tourists in our boat were seasick. Joemar and I were disappointed because we wanted to try our luck in the Turtle Spot, but alas, perhaps it was for the good. However, I asked friends for photos in the Turtle Spot so you will get an idea what to see here.

Turtle sighting in Moalboal, Cebu
Green sea turtle.

The island hopping tour in Moalboal was only 3 hours. It was too short, but for casual tourists it is good enough. I would love to go back here in the future to stay longer.

Kawasan Falls

From Moalboal, we drove for another 45 minutes to get to Badian. We had lunch on a seaside resort. Afterwards, we walked for 15 minutes and passed by pristine streams of water on the roadside before reaching Kawasan Falls.

River in Badian, Cebu
Stream leading to the waterfalls.

As said above, Kawasan Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the country and a must-see when chasing waterfalls in Cebu. Kawasan Falls is a multi-layered waterfall with the bottom stream forming a huge pool, wide enough for a lot of people to bath in. There is a raft you can use to get to the waterfall itself. The pool is deep, so everyone is required to use a lifevest as precaution.

(If you’re wondering why, majority of Filipinos are non-swimmers and when accidents happen — regardless of who’s at fault — the local government must take responsibility and it often results to local regulations such as this.)

Aside from taking a swim here, you can also sign up for a canyoneering which involves trekking and then cliff jumping from a series of waterfalls. The path will eventually take you to the main stream of Kawasan.

Dam in Badian, Debu
This dam is part of Kawasan Falls, another favorite spot for photo-ops.

Kat in Kawasan Falls, Cebu

Kawasan Falls is beautiful, although it’s perhaps one of the most commercialized waterfalls I’d seen. There’s a lot of stores beside the falls and even a commercial lodging where guests can stay overnight. I wish they had kept this area untouched and moved the establishments a bit further, but perhaps all this was done before the onset of more sustainable approaches.

It also tends to be crowded. There were lots of local and foreign tourists in the area, and families carrying children. Joemar swam in the numbing-cold pool while I preferred to sit on one of the boulders with my legs in the water. This was good enough for me.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a cup of coffee on the side.

How to get here

Cebu City is the most common jump-off point to Moalboal. Here are the commute directions:

  • From Mactan Airport, take a taxi or Grab to South Bus Terminal. From the terminal, ride a bus with signage Bato via Barili and get off at Moalboal (3 hours, ordinary P115/aircon P125 per person).
  • Once you get off the bus stop, walk to the Moalboal Tourism Office.

From Moalboal, you can ride a bus (around P40 per person) or rent a scooter to get to Kawasan Falls in Badian. Travel time is about 40 minutes.

Where to book this tour

Basically, you can do this tour DIY or you can also get a tour package from agencies. Joiner tour rates start at P1000-1500 per person.

My friend and I booked via KKDay, since it’s easy and convenient — it includes private round-trip transfer from Cebu City.

DIY tour

Register at the Moalboal Tourism Office for the island hopping tour. Here are the current rates (updated as of 2020):

  • Boat rental starts at P3000 (good up to 8-10 people)
  • Tourism fee – P100 per person

You can wait for other joiners to share costs with.

Here are the current rates for Kawasan Falls in Badian:

  • Entrance fee – P40-50 per person
  • Optional: Canyoneering (full course): P1500 per person.

KKDay tour

We availed of a private tour from KKDay for a day trip in Moalboal and Kawasan Falls in Badian, Cebu.

Here are the details of the tour:

  • Minimum of 2 people
  • Optional add-on: Kawasan Falls or Kawasan Falls with canyoneering activity
  • Pickup at 4:30AM anywhere in Cebu City or Mandaue City and drop-off at 7-8PM
  • Includes private car service, shared boat for island hopping
  • Includes breakfast and lunch

Book your tour via KKDay using our referral link.

Notes:

  • Make sure to have a whole day available if you include this tour.
  • Bring cash for snacks or pasalubong.

Reminders and tips

  • It’s best to go on weekdays as Moalboal can get crowded.
  • There are other places you can visit in southern Cebu, such as Oslob.

 

Has this post on island hopping in Moalboal and Kawasan Falls been helpful to you? If you have questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below!

 

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