How to travel from Cebu City to Moalboal – Full Guide 2024

White beach sunset moalboal cebu

Planning to travel from Cebu City to Moalboal? Look no further. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about traveling from Cebu City to Moalboal in 2024.

The journey from Cebu City to Moalboal is not straightforward, and you can run into some challenging problems if you are not prepared. Please read this article carefully to make sure you’re equipped with all of the key information to ensure that you have a smooth trip.

Moalboal is genuinely one of our favorite destinations in Cebu – and for good reason. Moalboal has stunning beaches, astounding clear waters teeming with marine life and healthy colorful coral. You can also take a canyoneering adventure at the epic Kawasan Waterfall. If you have the time we definitely recommend a few days in Moalboal. But how do you get there? Keep reading for all the details.

FIND A PLACE TO STAY – Don’t miss our full guide to the BEST hotels and guesthouses in Moalboal

Cebu city to Moalboal – Summary 

IN BRIEF – 90km – Roughly 3 – 5 hours depending on traffic & method of transport

  • Bus – 209 pesos for an A.C. bus (roughly £3 or $3.50)
  • Car Rental – 1,000 pesos per day (around £16 or $20)
  • Bike Rental – 300 pesos per day 

Why visit Moalboal?

Moalboal coastline areal turquoise waters

The water in this area is also particularly clear, with visibility often exceeding 15 meters. There is a very impressive and beautiful coral reef drop-off situated around 100 meters from the shore. The large range of depth increases the incredible biodiversity in this region. In this area, you can regularly see and swim with wild sea turtles. This area is also well-known for the magnificent sardine run, where tens of thousands of sardines swirl in spectacular underwater formations. As a top spot for diving, snorkeling, and free diving, it is very easy to rent gear, find courses and schools, and pay for experiences. 

Swimming with a green sea turtle Moalboal

Diving in the area is relatively cheap ($15 – $20 for a dive) because you do not need to rely on a boat transfer (most diving centers operate directly from the shore, keeping diving prices down). The town itself has a lovely vibe with plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, cafes. There is also a very good range of accommodation to choose from, including budget guest houses and luxurious resorts. 

White beach moalboal sunset

If you love beautiful beaches, make sure that you get yourself up to White Beach to enjoy a stunning sunset. Moalboal is also the best and cheapest place to arrange a canyoning trip to Kawasan Falls. From the town, you can find plenty of tour shops. You can arrange a Kawasan canyoneering trip for as little as 1900 pesos (around £25 or $30) – you won’t find this cheaper anywhere else! 

THE MAIN HUB IN MOALBOALPanagsama Beach Area – Everything You Need to Know

Can you visit Moalboal in a single day from Cebu City?

Yes, it is technically possible to visit this area in a single day from Cebu City. However, we strongly recommend that you consider spending at least a few nights in the Moalboal area. If you try to visit Moalboal in a single day, you will be very limited in terms of what you can see and do in the area. 

You will spend a lot of your day traveling and will probably return very tired. By the end of the day, you will probably have spent a lot more time in transit than you have spent in the water or relaxing on the beach. There is plenty of lovely accommodation in the Moalboal area, and in our opinion, the quality is slightly higher for the money compared to Cebu City. So, although you could technically visit Moalboal as a single day trip from Cebu City, in our humble opinion, this is not a good use of time or energy.

1 Take a bus – (top pick budget backpackers)

One of the cheapest ways to travel from Cebu City to Moalboal is to take a bus. Although a bus is a relatively cheap option, it is not the most comfortable or convenient option. 

How to take a bus to Moalboal

To take a bus from Cebu City to Moalboal, you will need to go to the Cebu City South Bus Terminal (this bus terminal serves the south of Cebu Island including Moalboal and Moalboal). The best way to get to the bus terminal is to use a taxi. If you have a SIM card with mobile data, you can very easily arrange a taxi using the Grab Taxi app (we do recommend using the Grab Taxi app because it can be very slow and difficult to flag a taxi at the side of the road in Cebu). 

Cebu City South Bus Terminal

The Grab Taxi app allows you to get a local price. Expect to pay around 200-300 pesos for a taxi from the center of Cebu City (roughly £3 – £4 or $4 – $5). If you are taking a bus from Cebu City to Moalboal, you do not need to book your ticket in advance.

Long distance buses Cebu

You can just turn up at the bus station and purchase your ticket on arrival. There is not a strict bus schedule, so we recommend turning up when you are ready and waiting for the next bus to depart. In Cebu, buses generally depart every 30 minutes. An Air Con bus from Cebu City to Moalboal costs 209 pesos (always check your change carefully). 

Getting to your hotel

Baby in a tricycle tuk tuk Philippines

Buses drop you off in the Moalboal town area at the end of Panagsama Road (around 3.5km from the Panagsama Beach area). So if you are staying around Panagsama beach you will need to get a tricycle taxi from the bus drop off to your accommodation. This should cost around 70 – 100 pesos. However, drivers in the area may try to charge more for this journey (Moalboal is a touristy spot!) We recommend bartering  to get a fair price. 

2 Rent a car – (top pick for families)

Car rental cebu

The most convenient way to travel from Cebu City to Moalboal is to rent a car and drive. Car rental in the Philippines starts at around 1,000 pesos per day (around £14 or $16). It is generally very difficult to find car rental deals for less than this. If you’re planning to rent for a long period of time (more than two or three weeks), you may be able to work out a cheaper car rental deal. 

The advantage to car rental is the convenience and flexibility. You can throw your bags in the back and go when you want. Using a rental car also makes it a lot easier to visit other attractions in the area, such as White Beach and Kawasan Falls. 

Traffic cebu city

Car rental is also a fantastic option for families traveling with kids (in general, a car journey is a lot easier than a bus journey because you can stop when you want to take breaks, find snacks, or use a toilet). However, there are some disadvantages to using car rental in Cebu. Firstly, you will be responsible and liable for the car if there are any problems, incidents, or damages to the vehicle (this can be very stressful when you are driving on unfamiliar and unpredictable roads). The roads around Cebu City can be quite intense and challenging to drive on (especially for a foreigner). The journey from Cebu City to Moalboal typically takes around 4 hours depending on traffic. There is often a lot of traffic in Cebu City (especially between Cebu City and Carcar City).

Top tip

If you are planning to rent a car and drive to Moalboal, check that your hotel has free on-site parking. The Panagsama beach area has lots of small crowded roads with minimal parking. So if you’re using a rental car we strongly recommend that you check the parking arrangements with your hotel or guest house. 

3 Rent a motorbike

motorbike rental cebu

If you’re looking for an affordable, flexible, and enjoyable way to travel around Cebu, you could rent a motorbike and ride. The journey from Cebu City to Moalboal is a long journey, and this would be very tiring on the motorbike. What’s more the roads around Cebu City are very busy, and in some places, they can be quite fast-moving. This can be quite dangerous, especially if you are not an experienced rider. Always wear a helmet and ride carefully. Motorbike rental does offer some of the advantages of car rental. 

For example, exploring Cebu by motorbike allows you freedom and flexibility. You can stop when you want and go when you want. However, remember you will not be able to take a lot of baggage on a motorbike with you, and if there is a heavy rainstorm, everything is likely to get soaked through. So, if you are planning to ride a motorbike from Cebu City to Moalboal, we recommend that you plan your packing carefully. Motorbike rental in Cebu starts at around 300 pesos per day (this is around £4 or $5).

How do you travel from Moalboal to Kawasan Falls?

big 7m cliff jump kawasan

If you are hoping to go canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, we recommend arranging a trip with a local tour operator in Moalboal. There are plenty of tour operators located in the Panagsama Beach area. Make sure that you negotiate a good price. It is possible to find the tours for as little as 1900 pesos, including transportation, guide, equipment rental, and entry fees. However, if you are hoping to visit Kawasan Falls and you are not interested in canyoneering, then you can use your own transportation to visit the lower waterfall, where you can swim and enjoy the scenery. There are a lot of tricycle tuk-tuks in the area. You can negotiate a price with a local driver. Expect to pay around 500 – 700 pesos (around £8 – £10 or $10 – $12) for a return strip to Kawasan Falls, including a few hours of waiting time.

LOOKING FOR A MORE CONVENIENT OPTION? Why not book a tour directly from Cebu City?

Can you use Moalboal as a base to visit the whale sharks?

FULL GUIDE Everything you need to know about whale sharks in Oslob

Can you stay in Moalboal and visit the whale sharks as a day trip from Moalboal? Yes, many people choose to stay in Moalboal, then take a day trip to Oslob to see whale sharks. However, in our opinion, it is much better to stay in Oslob. Firstly, if you’re going to see the whale sharks, you will probably need to get a very early start (you generally need to join the line by 4 am). If you choose to visit from Moalboal, you will have an even earlier start in order to join the line sufficiently early. (There is an official whale shark Facebook reservation page where you can book a slot at no extra cost, which avoids the very early start).

However, even if you are successfully able to book a slot on the Facebook page, you will still need to get a very early start if you are planning to see the whale sharks from Moalboal. Secondly, Oslob is a particularly beautiful area, and there are some lovely things to see and do in the area. If you can afford the time in your itinerary, we do recommend spending a night or two in Oslob. In our opinion, this is a lot better than traveling to Oslob from Moalboal in a single day.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? – don’t miss our FULL GUIDE on The best ways to get around in Cebu