Oslob and Moalboal – The Travel Guide

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 19.47.04The island of Cebu is south of Manila and is in the country’s Central Visayas region. It is home to many top tourist attractions such as Kasawan falls and the famous Whale Sharks.

Getting out of the airport

Using the app Rome2Rio we were able to see that from Cebu airport we needed to get to the bus station (south bus terminal ) and there was a Ceres bus for only £2 which is 140 pesos for a 4 hour journey. As soon as we got out of the aiport there were lots of taxi drivers who are trying to take you the whole way to Oslob for 3000 pessos but if you manage to get to the taxi rank (white taxi’s are cheaper and always ask for meter) then you can head to the bus station. On the way to the bus station our driver agreeded to take us to Oslob for 1800 Pesos as we wern’t aware we had arrived on a Holy Day and the traffic was horrendous, the bus would have taken 6 hours.

 

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Accommodation

We stayed at New Village Lodge here which we found on Agoda. The location was great, very close to everything we needed. The rooms are very clean and the wifi is great in the reception area. They can help you plan all your trips you want to do from Oslob and arrange pick ups which is super helpful!

New Village Lodge, Oslob, Cebu

Another great acoomdation is Noordzee Hostel which is located on a beautiful beach and the hostel itself is close to the ports with boats taking you to Bohol or Siquior. 

Noordzee Hostel, Cebu

 

 

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Whale Sharks

Oslob is home to the famous Whale Shark experience. This trip has become extremely popular so I advise to go as early as you can to beat the crowds. We left our hotel at 5:30am and was in the water with the Sharks by 6:15. The whole trip takes roughly an hour depending on crowds but you get 30 minutes in the water. There is also nowhere to leave bags or valuables so if you are doing this without a driver to look after your things, only take your camera and a towel. The fee to swim with them is 1000 pesos per person and our travel to and from the Sharks cost us 300 pesos. Bring your GoPro as it is a huge one ticked off both of our bucket lists! 

This is a hugely controversial subject as many people do not agree with the fishermen feeding them for tourists and think it is changing the feeding habits of these Sharks. Others believe it is keeping this once endangered species alive. Make of is what you will but I would suggest going with an open mind. Both times I have swam with these giants I arrived in Oslob not convinced if I would take part. This time swimming with the whale sharks the locals have a much better structured interaction and seem to be handling the influx of tourists well. I did no witness any sharks being touched or bashing into the boats which I did witness in 2017. 

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Waterfalls

Tumalog Falls and Aguinid Falls, with the furthest of the two being a 40 minute drive away. They both have a 40-60 peso per person fee to enter and the whole journey cost us 500 Peso each. Both waterfalls can get very busy so I advise to go early again to beat the crowds. Tumalog is a pretty and you are able to swim where as Aguinid falls you trek up the waterfall with a guide. I wore wet shoes which saved my life as flipflops slide off the vertical walls you will walk up and I took my wet bag with me too. The guide is free but they expect a tip.

Tumalog Falls
Tumalog Falls
Aguinid Falls
Aguinid Falls

 

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Oslob Heritage Park

 

Getting from Oslob to Moalboal

From the main road in Oslob we caught the Ceres Bus which is 40 peso per person to Bato where you get another bus from Bato to Moalboal which costs 90 peso per person. There are two buses, one with aircon and one without and I would wait for the aircon bus as it takes around 3 hours for this journey. 

 

Moalboal

Pronounced Mo-ahl-bo-ahl

Things to knowThe main town of Moalboal is 90km from Cebu city, on the west side of the island. The part everyone goes to and talks about is actually called Panagsana Beach. In resent years Panagsana Beach has become internationally reowned for the incredible Sardine run just meters offshore. This tiny town is the most touristy part of the island we have come across. There are lots of bars and restaurants and is a great place to meet people. On Panagsana beach (which is tiny) you can hire a snorkel and flippers from a nearby shop and swim out to see millions of sardines.

In Moalboal its self there is an ATM but in Panagsana Beach there is only 1 ATM which doesn’t always work.

Accommodation

We stayed at a lovely lodge called Divers Lodge which was 1500 peso a night for a luxury room..by luxury we mean a working shower and fan but the owner did hook us up with a great moped to rent for the whole time we were there.

Diver Lodge, Moalboal, Cebu

 

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From Panagsana Beach we swam for an hour in the other direction, to the left of the beach, and we saw 4/5 turtles just swimming along. I wouldn’t pay for a trip from the shops if you are looking to save money to see turtles or sardines as they are just off of the beach in this area. There is a small island called Pescador Island you can do a trip to which does have incredible snorkeling but other than that just grab a mask and jump in!

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If you are after a better beach, White Beach is about a 15 minute moped ride away which is mostly locals but it is a nice beach and not busy during the week. There are two goverment tolls on the way which I think were 5 pesos each. 

White Beach

 

Kawasan Falls 

Kawasan Falls

 

Kawasan Falls – I have done the canyoneering before and it is really fun and exciting but it is hard! It takes a moderate level of fitness and swimming and it does take 3 hours to finish. One tip is to save your GoPro battery for the end of the canyoneering as it is the most beautiful part. 

If you don’t want to do the trekking, you can head straight to the bottom where it is 50 peso to park your moped and 75 peso to enter and you can swim around the bottom famously pictured waterfall. It does get very busy so go early as possible and head up to the left of the waterfall just above it to get some different shots to everyone else. Find more info on the perfect Instagram shots at this waterfall here.

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Places to Eat

Pleasure Principles – Slightly more pricey than other places but 100% worth your money. We reccomend the prawns!

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Cockonuts- Great wifi and very cheap food. You can sit right on the water edge and enjoy sunset with a cocktail and spring rolls!

Coconuts

 

The French Coffee Shop – Perfect place for your morning ice coffee!

French

 

Stay tuned for our travel tips for the island of Siqujior! 

Or do you want to read what we got up to in Siquijor? Check out our journey below!

Our Siquijor Journey 

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Oslob and Moalboal – Our Journey

We arrived at Cebu airport after a very quick flight from Manila. I judge flights by how many episodes of Designated Survivor we can watch and this flight was barely 1 episode. We managed to fend off a few taxi drivers as they were offering us a ride the whole way to Oslob which is where we were going but for extortionate prices. We found a cab and made him take us to the bus terminal because as a couple travelling on public transport or transport in general you have never taken before for god knows how long is a lot less intimidating. I think that is one of the things I was so excited to come back with Olly, was the fact I wasn’t going have fear in me in a foreign country because I feel safest when I am with him. Cringe I know. Anyways back to the story, so this taxi driver told us it would take 5/6 hours for us to get to Oslob via bus and agreed to take us the whole way for a quarter of the price he originally quoted. Us being lazy we said yes, he had air con and in this climate that is a deal breaker in big decisions. That and we didnt realise we had arrived on a holy day so the traffic was horrendous.

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We arrived at our accommodation in Oslob and it was a lovely room with private bathroom, very clean and had good aircon. The owners grand-daughter was the only person who could speak English so she helped us with all our questions and trips we wanted to do. She organised for us to be picked up the next day at 5:30 and was in the water with the famous Whale Sharks by 6:15!  This is a hugely controversial subject as many people do not agree with the fishermen feeding them for tourists and think it is changing the feeding habits of these Sharks. Others believe it is keeping this once endangered species alive. Make of is what you will but I would suggest going with an open mind. Both times I have swam with these giants I arrived in Oslob not convinced if I would take part. This time swimming with the whale sharks the locals have a much better structured interaction and seem to be handling the influx of tourists well. I did no witness any sharks being touched or bashing into the boats which I did witness in 2017.

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After this amazing experience we were really pooped from getting up so early so we took it easy and explored the town some more. There is literally 4 roads and that is it, so we took the drone out and took some cool pictures of a heritage site we found.

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We ate pretty much all local stuff as people don’t really stay in Oslob, they pass through to do the whale sharks but don’t stick around. We weren’t complaining as we were able to chill and try local food and had a very cheap few days. We also managed to go to lots of local waterfalls which weren’t too busy as again this isn’t an area people stay in.

Couple at waterfalls in the Philippines - Our Journey

We managed to figure out we could get a local bus from Oslo to Moalboal for about £2 each so we waited at the side of the road and got talking to a local about the influx of tourism. He told us he thinks the whale sharks are a good thing bringing money into the area but they are worried that there will be another water shortage due to the amount of hotels going up in the surrounding areas. The water shortage happened 2 years prior and they had to shut one of the top tourist attractions, Tumalog falls, as the government needed to put the locals first and re-directed the water to the town. They have only just re opened this waterfall to the public.

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Pronounced Mo-ahl-bo-ahl

Once we arrived in Moalboal we got to our accommodation called Divers Lodge which was amazing. This small town is a lot more touristy than any other we had been too. It had a lot more western restaurants and pumping music, which isn’t great but its beautiful place. This place is a great place to meet other backpackers as its always busy. We managed to buy some wet shoes which are saving my life one day at a time. I hate anything touching my feet in the sea so these shoes I wear when we are climbing waterfalls or just going for a swim. We chilled on Panagsana Beach and rented some snorkels and spent all day snorkelling. We saw so many turtles which was insane. We saw the famous sardine run, which Olly managed to swim into as he is really good at diving down deep and holding his breath. This place is beautiful!!

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We rented a moped and explored as much as we could. This was the first time I had ridden on the back of a bike that Olly was driving and I was very nervous but safe at the same time haha. I know he was driving slower to make sure I was OK but this was actually the most fun I have ever had. Being able to have some freedom again in us having our own transport felt great, being able to see everything and not having to concentrate on driving felt better haha. We took the moped to Kawasan falls and managed to beat the crowds and get there and take some good photos. We always managed to take the bike to White beach which we sat on for hours just drinking and taking photos. Clearly our love for photography and drinking comes hand in hand when travelling with one another.

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Milly At Kawasan

On white beach we were about to go back to the car park and leave when a group of locals stopped us and made Olly drink something. Me being an over protective girlfriend said to him ‘Make them drink it first’ because it was the colour of piss. They downed it and poored him another one.. turns out it was beer and they invited us to sit with them and drink. We sat with a huge group of guys who were celebrating their friends 21st birthday and had literally 100 family members and friends down renting huts on the beach. They were so funny and they were so excited to practise their English with us. It is really true what they say, Filipino people are the nicest in the world. They wanted us to meet their wives/girlfriends and babies, they wanted us to stay for dinner. We added them all on facebook to make sure we keep in contact with this crazy group of lads!

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Moalboal has been our favourite place so far, just because we havent paid for any big trips and we have done everything this area has to offer on our own, using our own transport or knowledge to save money but still managing to see the amazing wildlife and beaches this place is home to.

Stay tuned for our next adventure to Siquijor!!