Pescador Island is one of the island hopping that you should never miss when in Cebu. Why? I’ll give you the simplest reasons: Pescador island snorkeling, sardines run in Moalboal, and turtle watching. These are the prominent list of sights and things you will do during the Pescador island hopping. Sounds fun? Because it really is!
During my day 2 of solo backpacking central Visayas, I decided to explore South of Cebu and Moalboal is one of them. I’ve read in a number of blog posts and articles online that Moalboal is rich in marine animals. Like what I’ve said earlier, sardines run and turtle watching are very famous in Moalboal. So, without second thoughts, I packed my bags and headed to Moalboal from Cebu city for an island hopping experience.
How to get there
Getting to Moalboal from the nearest airports can be a bit tricky. But the easiest way is from Mactan Cebu International Airport (my way). All the airlines based in Philippines like Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia offers this route. Just check their website for promo fares and seat sales, or just use Skyscanner to filter the cheapest airlines that offers this route. Remember to book your flight to Cebu airport if you’re planning to go to Moalboal.
From Mactan Cebu International Airport (CEB):
Option 1: Hire a taxi to South Cebu Bus Terminal
The easiest way is to hire a taxi if you’re not travelling on a budget or if you have a lot of luggage. The taxi fare to South Bus Terminal will range from PHP300.00-400.00. Ride a yellow Ceres bus to Moalboal and travel time is 2-3 hours, bus fare is PHP109.00 for an ordinary bus and PHP120.00 for an air conditioned bus. Drop off at Moalboal bus stop where you can hire a habal-habal to your accommodation.
Option 2: By Sugbo Transit to South Bus Terminal
This is the option for budget travelers like me. Just outside the arrival airport, turn right and the buses are lined up outside. The bus leaves every hour so don’t worry about the bus schedule. If I remember correctly, the bus fare is only PHP40.00 and it will directly drop you at the South Bus terminal in Cebu City where you will ride a yellow Ceres bus to Moalboal. And it’s the same 2-3 hours travel time for PHP120.00, drop off at Moalboal bus stop where you can hire a habal-habal to your accommodation.
Useful link: http://www.moalboalguide.com/gettinghere
From Dumaguete Airport (DGT):
This route is a bit tricky, but for those of you coming from Dumaguete Airport, you can follow my guide below (and there’s only 1 option).
Option 1: By trisikad, ferry, and bus
From Dumaguete airport, charter a trisikad just outside the airport going to Sibulan port, PHP70.00 fare for the whole trisikad is reasonable. Then ride a ferry from Sibulan port to Liloan Port in Cebu (PHP70.00) and travel time is only 30 minutes. From Liloan port there are buses that will stop there headed to North Cebu where you can drop off at Moalboal bus stop. Fare is approximately PHP70.00 and travel time is 2-3 hours.
Useful link: http://www.moalboalguide.com/gettinghere
Pescador Island Hopping
Before my Pescador Island hopping trip, I already arrived in Moalboal the night before since I wanted to do it early in the morning so I could go to Badian for Kawasan Canyoneering in the afternoon. So I woke up at 6AM, grabbed a breakfast and waited for Kuya Eding (my habal-habal driver) to pick me up at 06:45AM. Since my hostel is located in Panagsama Beach, Basdiot Moalboal, I needed to ride a habal-habal that will take me to the tourism office near Moalboal bus stop where there will be a short briefing (2-3 minutes) before the island hopping. We started the island hopping at 07:15 in the morning and finished around 09:45AM.
Snorkeling in Pescador Island
The first part of the island hopping will be snorkeling at Pescador Island and it’s only 30-40 minutes away. While on our way to Pescador Island, a little sea creature friend (turtle), appeared on the path we were going. From there, I got all very excited and I realized that Moalboal is truly rich in marine animals. I’m happy that there are still places like this that exist and I hope people will take care of them.
After arriving, we only have 30 minutes to stay and snorkel so we immediately put on our snorkeling gear and splashed on the water. You can free dive if you know how, there are a lot of corals and fishes below but if you go farther, there’s a cliff underneath and you’ll only see pure dark blue water. I always imagine a shark whenever I see that set-up underwater. Haha!
Sardines Run in Moalboal
It was another 30 minutes going to the site where the sardines are. One of our boatmen, Kuya Rudel, said that there are about thousands of sardines below and I got so curious I took a shot on snorkeling below considering that I’m a bit scared of hollow-like forms. And it was worth it! It’s so wonderful seeing thousands of sardines and it was like looking into specimens from a microscope.
Snorkeling has always been about seeing beautiful corals and colorful fishes below. Sardines run, on the other hand, is a totally different kind of experience. From your boat you’ll immediately spot where the sardines are because they’ll create a black hollow-like form underneath. I don’t know why but they swim together and wherever the other sardines go, the others follow. Probably because there’s just too many of ’em so they stick in one point (which makes it easier for the fishermen to catch them, haha!)
One of our boatmen took a very deep dive to get this shot. (I love this shot by the way and that’s me above the water). Although I forgot to include this shot on my Youtube vlog, I’ll just put it here.
Turtle Watching in Moalboal
This was the last part of our island hopping trip and it’s just close to the site where the sardines are. It was approximately 5-10 minutes away, it was literally very close. Before we dive in to the water, the boatmen have to check the site first for turtles because according to them it’s not all the time the turtles stay in one place. So we waited while the boatmen dived and checked for turtles. We didn’t get lucky enough to snorkel since the weather is about to get bad and the waves are becoming bigger.
Although it was not advisable to snorkel for us, we still saw 2 turtles swimming near our boat. The video is in my Youtube channel too. Then after that we headed back to the port and I went straight to my hostel. I didn’t have time to wash up at the port since I needed to go back to my hostel as fast as I can to pack my things and shower a bit and travel to Badian for Kawasan Canyoneering. But for those who needs to wash up, there are comfort rooms available for you to get cleaned up.
Other Tourist Spots in Moalboal: Panagsama Beach and White Beach
Where to book your island hopping experience
You can book your tour with Kuya Eding, he knows someone who operates Pescador Island hopping tour. He gave the package to me for only PHP900.00 including the tourism fee of PHP100.00 and a habal-habal ride from Moalboal bus-stop to and from my hostel.
Joiner rate Inclusion: PHP900.00
- Pescador island hopping with snorkels and life vest
- Tourism Fee of PHP100.00
- Habal-habal ride: to and from my hostel; to and from the tourism office
- Group of 3-5: PHP3000.00 for the whole boat
It was reasonable enough since I tried asking a few locals for the rate and they keep giving me PHP1,500.00 joiner rate which is too expensive for me. I also tried booking tours online but the rate is still PHP1,500.00.
Also, be careful because I noticed that the habal-habal drivers at the Moalboal bus-stop are too aggressive and they are forcing me to pay PHP200.00 for a 15 minute ride to my hostel. Don’t agree to this because it’s too pricey. I was travelling alone but I’m not gullible enough to agree with that price so I continued walking until I saw Kuya Eding and he only asked for PHP80.00 fare. He was so kind I gave him a tip. You can contact him below.
Kuya Eding: 0997 632 3678
Where to stay in Moalboal
There are a lot of resorts and hostels scattered in Moalboal especially around Panagsama and White Beach. The cheapest hostels are around Panagsama Beach where I got my accommodation in Marina Lodge for only PHP300.00 fan room and shared bathroom. I was fine with the room since I’m travelling on a budget and for long as there’s a comfy bed and walls up my place, I’m good to go. Also, Marina Lodge offers suite rooms and there’s a pool inside and a floating restaurant. The sardines run is also just in front of Marina Lodge and all their guests are free to snorkel. (That’s why I got surprised as soon as we arrived in the sardines run site during our island hopping because it’s just in front of my lodge).
You can also book with Agoda through the platform below and filter according to your preference.
Budget and expenses:
Below is the breakdown of my expenses from Cebu City to Moalboal.
- Ceres bus to Moalboal: PHP120.00
- Package tour (from Kuya Eding): PHP900.00 including habal-habal ride
- Dinner and breakfast: PHP100.00 x 2 = PHP200.00
- Marina Lodge: PHP300.00
Total: PHP1,520.00 for a solo traveler
Pescador Island Travel Vlog
Your virtual travel vlog is up on my Youtube channel! 🙂 I’m so happy to share this experience with you guys. Subscribe on my channel. 🙂
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