Bali, Chaing Mai, and Medellin might come up in conversations about where is the best spot in the world for a digital nomad base. However, I decided to base myself in the Philippines for at least a year as a digital nomad. In this article, I am going to explain why Moalboal is possibly the best spot in the Cebu for a digital nomad who loves adventure and travel but still wants to get work done! I’ll detail the best restaurants in Moalboal, the nightlife in Moalboal and all the important factors for digital nomads like WiFi, activities and cost of living.
THE COMPLETE MOALBOAL GUIDE
In this article, I will discuss WiFi, Accommodation, transport, cafe’s, daily costs and nightlife in Moalboal for a digital nomad.
HOW GOOD IS THE WIFI IN MOALBOAL
For a digital nomad there usually is nothing more important than a strong WiFi connection. We can deal with most other factors but we need that internet speed to get work done. The Philippines is notorious for having bad internet connection throughout its 7,500 islands. It’s true, some places here in the Philippines are terrible for internet connection.
When I decided I wanted to base in the Philippines, I knew it would be best to be near an international airport so I decided on either being based in Manila or Cebu. I don’t enjoy being a city so I opted for Cebu. From that decision, I figured out how far away I could get from the city towards that relaxed island vibe while still having a good internet connection for work.
Moalboal is that spot. It is kind of like the final frontier for Cebu right now. If you drive any further south of Moalboal, you can get patches of LTE but it isn’t reliable. Moalboal LTE on Globe is great. I obviously do a lot on Instagram, uploading bulk photos to WordPress and sending off heavy photo packages to brands.
WiFi is any many cafes, hotels and can be installed in your apartment or accommodation. The best and most reliable WiFi at a cafe is at The French Cafe, which is next to the beach on Panagsama Road. Shaka Cafe also has good WiFi.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN MOALBOAL
Hostels in Moalboal are $5 and upwards for dorm rooms. Private rooms can be found for around $10 and upwards. There are many places that will do a deal with you for a longer term stay. Obviously, amenities such as A/C, wifi, hot shower and size of the apartment will affect the price.
You can find a modern 1-bedroom apartment with a living room, kitchenette, bathroom, A/C, hot water and fully furnished for $350-400 per month. Oh, yea and that deal are in a private resort style complex with a pool. Generally, $200-$500 a month for accommodation will see you a through a variety of options and locations here in Moalboal.
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
Moalboal is the best place to base for all your Cebu adventures. It is central to most waterfalls, canyoneering, snorkeling, beaches and within driving distance of the Whale Sharks!
MOALBOAL ACCESSIBILITY TO AIRPORTS
Cebu International airport is a great hub. Moalboal is a bit of a journey away from the airport and the city. By bike, it takes about 3 hours and the bus is similar unless the traffic is very bad. I prefer to do that trip and live far from the city. At least you have an international airport on the island so you can jump to most places in Asia within a day.
GYM ACCESS IN MOALBOAL
There’s only one gym in Moalboal and it’s called LGC gym. It is run by a lovely old lady who charges everyone 20 pesos or 5o cents entry. It has free-weights and all the equipment you need.
There is no a/c and I often leave puddles on the floor because I’m sweating so hard. It is honestly perfect for me. It’s super cheap, a chill environment and only a couple minutes from my apartment.
I think more recently, another gym or two may have opened up in Moalboal so that is worth looking into.
TRANSPORT OPTIONS IN MOALBOAL.
Moalboal is the land of motorbikes and mopeds. It is all about far for a bicycle. Panagsama Road has to be at least 4km long so if you leave near the beach you will be doing minimum 10km round trips out to the grocery stores or vice versa if you need to make that journey into the cafes each day. A moped or motorbike means everything is just 5-10 minutes away.
The beauty of a motorbike means you can explore the south where you find so many waterfalls and adventures it is ridiculous. A car isn’t the best here as the roads are tight, there are a number of small lanes and often you will be on gravel. The majority of people rent or buy a bike.
Without doing any major haggling or bargaining you can get a moped for $5 USD a day. I bought a motorbike for $1000 brand new from the local Yamaha dealer. Mopeds are about $1100 to $2000 depending on the brand and model. Gas is just a few dollars for the moped to fill the tank and the motorbike costs me $8 but obviously lasts a while.
MOALBOAL NIGHTLIFE SCENE
Moalboal is mostly known not only for its beautiful beaches and water activities, but it does offer some nightlife options for after a long day of hanging out at the beach. Here are some popular Moalboal nightlife spots known for their lively atmosphere:
- Chili Bar: Located right on Panagsama Beach, Chili Bar is one of the most famous nightlife spots in Moalboal. It offers a great selection of drinks, tasty food, and has a pool table. The bar is well-known for its chill beach vibe during the day that transitions into a lively atmosphere at night.
- Pleasure Principle Resto-Bar: This venue doubles as a restaurant and bar, known for its friendly staff, extensive drink selection, and late-night party atmosphere. They often host live music and entertainment events.
- The Nomad’s: A favorite among locals and tourists alike, The Nomad’s is a bar that offers a great selection of drinks, lively music, and an overall fun environment.
- One Eyed Jacks Bar: This is a popular spot for both its food and nightlife. Known for its welcoming atmosphere, One Eyed Jacks offers a range of beverages and is a great place to unwind after a day of exploring.
- Pacitas Beach Resort Bar: Located within the Pacitas Beach Resort, this bar is a great place to relax with a drink while enjoying the stunning beach views. They offer a good selection of cocktails and other beverages.
I personally don’t party much so it isn’t a problem for me. If you need that social party aspect that you might find in Bali then Moalboal may seem a little boring and quiet for you even with a few options for bars and parties.
SHOPPING IN MOALBOAL
For better or worse Moalboal now has two big malls with grocery stores, furniture stores, and hardware stores. While it clogs up the roads and ruins the small-town vibe it is, of course, convenient for the residents. I purchased all of my extra furniture, water coolers etc. at the mall for cheap prices. They have clothes, sports gear and pretty much everything you could imagine at the malls.
The grocery store is pretty good too for all of your needs. There is obviously a lot of products the locals like but a fair selection of western products as well.
WHERE TO EAT IN MOALBOAL
Moalboal is not only the last frontier for good WiFi but also for cafes and restaurants. It is the last heavily populated place so a good restaurant just doesn’t get the traffic further south. I have a few local favorites that I frequent but there are lots of good spots on offer.
- Venz: Venz cafe can best be described as modern Filipino cuisine. You can get all the classics like Sisig and Adobo but it isn’t your classic local eatery. They really step it up here by offering the local dishes with vegetarian and vegan options. For example, they have an eggplant Sisig. The vegetable curry, eggplant Sisig are my favorite vegetarian dishes from Venz.
- The French Cafe: Not only is the WiFi great here but the food is spot on too. Breakfast is very popular here and they just seem to source the best bread. Smoothies, fruit plates and sandwiches give you a good break from local dishes if you are craving a classic sandwich or western-style breakfast.
- Shaka Cafe: It only opened when I first moved to Moalboal but it is definitely my favorite cafe in Moalboal. Smoothie bowls, fresh juices, and smoothies are an awesome healthy alternative to start the day. It is a bit more expensive but the ingredients are also a touch more exotic such as chia seeds, healthy greens, maca powder and all of the good stuff. You get what you pay for and it’s a good vibe in here.
- Pleasure Principle Resto-Bar: A popular spot for food and nightlife, Pleasure Principle Resto-Bar serves a mix of Filipino and Western dishes. It’s known for its friendly staff, vibrant atmosphere, and its location near the beach.
- Lantaw Restaurant: Lantaw Restaurant offers a range of local and international dishes, with a great view of the sea. The restaurant’s open-air design enhances the dining experience.
ACTIVITIES IN MOALBOAL
I’ve written a massive guide about the TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IN MOALBOAL, so you should probably check that out. However, here is a brief overview of what you can get up to in Moalboal.
- Waterfalls: If you rent or buy the motorbike as I suggested above, Cebu is waiting to be explored. Within a one-hour drive, you have lots of waterfalls such as Montpellier, Cambais, Binalayan, Aguinid, Dao and lots more!
- Sardine Snorkeling: A lot of tourists come specifically to snorkel and dive with the sardine balls. Luckily for you, it is possible to do it for free every day. The sardines are only 30-meters off the shore so you can literally float out and dive with them. A global attraction right on your doorstep.
- Snorkeling: The snorkeling in Moalboal is world class. A drop-off lines the coast, which means you can snorkel over beautiful coral pretty much no matter where you swim. Every time I get in the water and snorkel for more than ten minutes near the drop-off I see a turtle!
- Scuba and Freediving: Moalboal is a hotspot for Scuba and free-diving. The entire strip on the beach is lined by dive shops. It is very popular to learn to freedive in Moalboal because of the drop-off and has become a bit of a hub for free-divers. The prices for courses and dives here is pretty cheap in relation to Asia and very cheap compared to western countries.
MY 5 FAVORITE CEBU TOURS
- Oslob Whale Sharks & Moalboal Sardine Run Snorkeling – This combo tour is the BEST VALUE way to enjoy a guided and PRIVATE tour of the two most popular activities in Cebu.
- Moalboal Island Hopping & Pescador Island & Turtle Bay Snorkeling: Swim with turtles and the sardine balls on an island-hopping boat trip from Moalboal.
- Bluewater Sumilon Island Day Tour – Visit the crystal clear water of Sumilon Island on this day tour.
- Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Tour (BEST PRICE): The classic tour. Number one most booked activity in Cebu!
- Bohol Day tour from Cebu: Want to visit Bohol but are short of time? See the top sights on this one-day adventure including transport.
Click the orange button below to view all of the top-rated tours on Klook
WHY MOALBOAL FOR A DIGITAL NOMAD BASE?
Those are my tips for digital nomads thinking about Moalboal for setting up a base. I prefer to be away from the digital nomad hype in Bali but understand some love it. Moalboal could be a great choice if you prefer a quieter approach to the digital nomad life and want those relaxed, small-town island vibes but still need to be connected and near international airports.
WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU?
I really think that if you are going to be exploring Cebu, the best place to stay is in Moalboal. There are a few reasons why!
Cebu City might be where you land at the airport but if you are looking for adventure, you will need to head south as soon as possible. Most of the best waterfalls, whale sharks, snorkeling with sardines and turtles are all down in the south of Cebu. So where do you stay to do all of these adventures? Moalboal!
Moalboal is a cool town, which is the free-diving and scuba capital of Cebu. There are tons of hostels, hotels, and hostels here as well as being close to all the waterfalls and hikes in the region.
Here are my recommendations on where to stay in Moalboal depending on your budget.
- Teobas Homestay – Value: You need to click on that link just to see how rad this place is. It has a staircase down to the ocean into crystal clear water. I can tell you, I have snorkeled out the front of this place with turtles many times. For about $30 USD you get a private room with all of the facilities you need. There is not much better than having ocean access and a bit of a sunset view!
- Dolphin House Resort – Luxury: If you are looking for a nice resort, Dolphin House is a 5-star resort with a huge pool for less than $200 USD per night. It has ocean access, great restaurant, chilling areas and a beautiful garden throughout the property.
TRANSPORT OPTIONS FOR CEBU
There’s lots of different transport options to get around Cebu depending on the size of your group, travel style and length of your journey. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect.
Moped: The best way to get around Cebu Island is through moped/scooter rentals. A moped can be rented for about $8 a day but that price may come down if your rental is more than a week long. The roads aren’t always great to and from the waterfalls and hikes so drive safely. You will need your regular drivers license from your home country and a helmet to avoid any issues. Below are the other main transport options for Cebu.
- Tricycles: the most common means of private transportation in the Philippines, accommodating 2-4 passengers, more than a motorcycle. This allows you to hire a driver to transport you to various attractions and things to do in Cebu.
- The Habal Habal: essentially a “scooter taxi,” is an economical option for single passengers who don’t wish to rent their own vehicle.
- Jeepneys: vibrant buses used by locals for transportation in the Philippines. Operating on fixed routes, they provide a shared riding experience and offer a unique opportunity to interact with the local community. Expect to be crammed in like sardines but it’s the authentic transport mode for locals.
- Vans: available for transportation, typically offered by resorts, hotels, and private transportation companies. This option will be the most expensive, it can be a worthwhile choice during rainy weather or for larger groups.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT CEBU
When considering the weather, the best time to visit Cebu, Philippines, is generally during the dry season which runs from December to May. During this period, the weather is more predictable, with less chance of rain disrupting outdoor activities. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:
- Dry Season (December – May): This period is characterized by less rainfall and more sunshine. Among these months, February to May are especially good as they tend to be hot and dry, making them perfect for beach-related activities.
- Cool Months (December – February): The months of December to February are part of the dry season but are slightly cooler compared to other months. This makes it a good time to visit if you prefer more moderate temperatures.
- Hot Months (March – May): These months can get quite hot, but if you’re planning on spending time at the beach or by the pool, this could be the ideal time for you.
- Rainy Season (June – November): These months have more rainfall, which can disrupt outdoor activities. However, the rain can also bring cooler temperatures and fewer tourists, which some visitors might prefer.
MORE CEBU TRAVEL GUIDES
- Ultimate Cebu Bucketlist: 26 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON CEBU
- Canyoneering Guide: KAWASAN FALLS CEBU CANYONEERING
- Ultimate Oslob Guide: WHAT TO DO IN OSLOB CEBU
- Digital Nomad Guide to Moalboal: THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO MOALBOAL, CEBU
- Waterfall Chasing: 14 BEST WATERFALLS IN CEBU
- Moalboal Guide: 20 BEST THINGS TO DO IN MOALBOAL
- Alegria Guide: 13 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ALEGRIA
- Hiking Osmena Peak: OSMEÑA PEAK IN CEBU – A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE HIKE
MORE OF MY PHILIPPINES GUIDES
- The Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: 3-4 WEEK PHILIPPINES ITINERARY
- Best Island Hopping Trip: BIG DREAM BOAT MAN IN CORON
- The Backpacker’s Guide to the Philippines: 1 MONTH FOR $800
- Ultimate Guide to Coron: 22 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN CORON
- Ultimate Guide to Siargao: 40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIARGAO
- Ultimate Guide to Romblon: 17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ROMBLON
- Ultimate Guide to El Nido: 20 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN EL NIDO
- Ultimate Guide to Bohol: 27 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BOHOL
- Ultimate Guide to Sibuyan: 9 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIBUYAN
MY ACCOMMODATION GUIDES FOR THE PHILIPPINES
- Luxury in South Cebu: 18 BEST SOUTH CEBU RESORTS
- Bucketlist: 13 BEST PHILIPPINES OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
- Beach Resorts in North Cebu: BEST RESORTS IN CEBU
- El Nido Resorts: 12 BEST RESORTS IN EL NIDO
- Moalboal Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
- Panglao Resorts: 13 BEST LUXURY RESORTS IN PANGLAO
- Siargao Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN SIARGAO
- Hostels in Cebu: 10 BEST HOSTELS IN CEBU
- Sustainable Resorts: 12 BEST ECO RESORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Coron Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN CORON