WHERE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL: THE BEST BASE FOR CEBU TRAVEL
I’ve said it many times, Moalboal is the ultimate base for Cebu adventures. I’ll detail all of the reasons below but just trust me (I lived there), it’s the best spot in south by far and you don’t want to be in the city…trust me (I live there now!). I’ve created this guide to convince you why Moalboal is the best and also to give you some insight for where to stay in Moalboal once you decide to base yourself in Moalboal for you trip to Cebu.
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, hikes, snorkeling with sardines and turtles are all down south. So where do you stay to do all of these adventures? I even wrote this Moalbal Digital Nomad Guide for others like me or a huge guide for all the things to do in Moalboal.
Moalboal is a cool town, which is the free-diving and scuba capital of Cebu and even the Philippines. Here there are tons of hostels, hotels, and homestays. There are plenty of restaurants and even a small mall. This is really the last spot as you travel down south where you will have good wifi, 4G connection, western restaurants and lots of facilities. Once you head further south to Alegria and Ginatilan those towns just aren’t set up for tourists really.
The other key factor that makes Moalboal such a good spot to stay is that you have a couple of nice beaches, which are surprisingly rare in Cebu. Among all of the epic things to do in Moalboal, there is also somewhat of a nightlife scene with a decent amount of restaurants and food options, which is not seen elsewhere in the south of Cebu.
In this blog post, I’m going to recommend the best places to stay in Moalboal based on location, reviews, what I have personally experienced and seen, and of course the price. I’ll also share a few details about gyms, where to eat, transport, and wifi at the bottom of the post.
WHERE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MOALBOAL COMPARISON TABLE
|Titanic’s Nipa Hut||9.0||$9|
|Oceanfront Paradise Resort||8.9||$50|
|Parrot Resort Moalboal||9.1||$70|
|Pescadores Seaview Suites||8.4||$49|
|The Blue Orchid Resort||8.6||$80|
|Dolphin House Resort Moalboal||8.2||$127|
|Quo Vadis Dive Resort||8.0||$165|
|Tongo Hill Cottages||9.7||$48|
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
Panagsama Beach in Basdiot is where tourists usually stay in Moalboal. It is home to a variety of hotels, restaurants, dive shops, and the famous sardine run and sea turtles. If you stay further away from Panagsama Beach your access to cafes, food, ATM’s, rentals and dive shops will be limited. There are tons of accommodations in Moalboal and to help you I’ve picked my recommendations in terms of budget, value for money, and luxury.
THE TOP 3 BUDGET PLACES TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
Roos Guesthouse (Budget/Value): Want to stay in a place with so much to offer yet charge you more less? This B&B in Moalboal is set at Panagsama Beach with varieties of accommodation to offer from standard fan-room to airconditioned deluxe Bungalows. Roos Guesthouse is a laid-back accommodation that is not only cheap but does also has cool amenities and great location. The small swimming pool, hammock, and bamboo furniture outside do give a great advantage to its island guests as it’s somewhere to chill other than just in your room. It’s not fancy but pretty fun to hang out there with other guests. Perfect for solo travelers, couples and groups, I can’t highly recommend this property enough!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Roos Guesthouse.
Titanic’s Nipa Hut (Budget/Location): Titanic’s Nipa Hut is a popular option for budget-minded travelers. For $9, you can get a bunk bed here. Yes, the cheapest you can get in Moalboal considering the location. It’s not too far from where all the action happens in Moalboal and very close to the ocean where you can snorkel with the sea turtles. The hut is authentic Filipino-style accommodation which is simple yet comfortable. Here you’ll experience the Filipino-style of living. There is a seating area outside the room for guests to use to chill after a long day. It’s basic but still sticks the boxes for a comfortable stay. They serve a good breakfast and the local hosts are amazing in doing their job! This is highly recommended if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Moalboal!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Titanic’s Nipa Hut.
Teobas Homestay (Budget/Tranquility): Teobas Homestay is my pick. It’s not often you get to stay next to the water in a place as epic as Moalboal… for this cheap. This guest house is facing the sea and surrounded by lush gardens, giving guests a peaceful and serene stay. Rooms are available for two to six people. You can stay in a native style bungalow facing the ocean giving you incredible views and there is a common area where dinner is served. There is a dive shop on-site and they have motorbikes for rent if you want to go to Panagsama and White beach and chase waterfalls. What I love about this place is you can snorkel just at the dock and I’ve literally seen turtles right here. Don’t worry if you don’t have snorkel equipment, you can rent one on-site. For the price, I couldn’t recommend Teobas Homestay enough!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Teobas Homestay.
THE BEST THREE RESORTS IN MOALBOAL
Parrot Resort Moalboal (Value): Quietly tucked 5 minutes away from Panagsama beach, Parrot Resort Moalboal offers modern clean rooms with great air conditioner. The property is small but gives everything you need from excellent food to its lovely swimming pool. It’s a good vibe here with table tennis, pool table and lots of hang-out areas. Another thing to love about the resort is the little bar where you can chill and there are lots of activities such as table tennis and darts which keep you busy if you don’t want to chill by the pool. Quiet resort, excellent staff, and great service are among the reasons why Parrot Resort is regarded as one of the best-rated resorts in Moalboal.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Parrot Resort Moalboal.
Oceanfront Paradise Resort (Location/Pool): Just right on Panagsama Beach, Oceanfront Paradise Resort is another lovely accommodation in Moalboal. Location is one of the primary reasons why this place is unique as opposed to other resorts. The beautiful ocean view alone is enough to give visitors an idea of how gorgeous the location is and why it’s regarded by many tourists a home away from home. They offer air-conditioned rooms, hot showers, a safety box to keep your stuff safe, and most of all free coffee and tea. The highlight is the infinity pool overlooking the ocean which makes it perfect for enjoying the beautiful sunset view while sipping your cocktails. Undoubtedly the best resort in Moalboal!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Oceanfront Paradise Resort.
Pescadores Seaview Suites (Value): The first thing you think when you see this property is Santorini. Yes! The Santorini-inspired beachfront resort is right here in Moalboal. The rooms are spacious and clean. And I personally love the location (it’s right on the beachfront) because of its close proximity to several diving centers, restaurants, and not only that but to the snorkeling spots where you can see the famous sardine run and sea turtles. However, it is a short walk from Panagsama’s main strip so it’s very quiet. Basically, you are close enough for convenience but far enough away so you have some peace and quiet. Snorkeling lovers will be glad to know that the property provides snorkeling equipment for free. It’s a good save for your money! Aside from snorkeling and diving, you can also participate in canyoneering adventures, watch the beautiful sunset from the infinity pool, rent glass-bottom kayaks, and more. Location wise, you can’t look past Pescadores Seaview Suites as an all-rounder.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Pescadores Seaview Suites.
THREE BEST LUXURY RESORTS IN MOALBOAL
Dolphin House Resort Moalboal (Luxury/Privacy): If you’re looking for a quiet place with a private beach in Moalboal, this is it! Not cheap, but this boutique resort has a lot to offer. From fantastic and luxurious bungalows to bar which gives breathtaking panoramic sunset views, a restaurant that serves delicious Asian cuisine and even a dive shop where you can study scuba diving. The property is very close to White Beach and only 15 minutes moped drive from the shopping center and Panagsama Beach where all the actions take place. Dolphin House Resort is located a mere steps away from the turquoise waters with sweeping ocean vistas. It has an outdoor pool with sun loungers and rooms have balconies overlooking the pool and the sea. Also imagine yourself enjoying a good massage, without any doubt, this is the best luxury resort in Moalboal!
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Dolphin House Resort Moalboal.
Quo Vadis Dive Resort (Luxury/Location): Perched just right on Panagsama Beach, Quo Vadis Dive Resort is an oceanfront resort that offers a good range of rooms from economy to suite rooms with balconies overlooking the sunset. When it comes to diving, it is definitely a great place to do your dives with whether you’re a pro or just a beginner. The resort is a PADI certified diving training center and its equipment is new because it is regularly examined and replaced, and the level of training and diving is good and consistent. The location is very convenient as it’s close to restaurants, cafes, and bars. What I love about Filipinos is their hospitality and Quo Vadis does a pretty good job with that. The pool is pretty nice, not big enough for a swim yet it’s perfect for relaxation and sunset views. This resort is certainly one of the recommended places in Moalboal.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Quo Vadis Dive Resort.
The Blue Orchid Resort (Luxury/Tranquility): Lovely resort both for divers and people who want to take a quiet retreat! The Blue Orchid Resort is a great place to base yourself if you want to dive in Cebu. The place is beautiful and a bit off the beaten track, but the peace and tranquility is worth every penny. Personally, the location couldn’t get any better for diving as one of the best reefs in the area is directly in front of your ocean-view room and the food is really good here. The Blue Orchid Resort has its own diving boat for trips to various islands, dive sites and places nearby Moalboal. Some of the services for interesting activities include kayaking, free diving lessons, eye-boggling snorkeling trips, island hopping, and dolphin watching if it is the season. Each room has huge glass sliding doors to provide guests with amazing ocean views. There is no better way to unwind than having a relaxing massage in a seaside cabana for a very affordable price.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of The Blue Orchid Resort.
MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
Tongo Hill Cottages (Insta-worthy): If Bali has a lot of unique places to stay, the Philippines has Tongo Hill Cottages. Yes! This eco-friendly accommodation nestled in the lush tropical greenery will make your holiday the most unforgettable in your life. Perfect for retreats, each cottage is made of bamboo and has a cozy terrace and hammocks outside. The cottages are equipped with electric fans, comfy beds, and Insta-worthy outdoor showers. It’s away from the traffic and noise, yet close enough to the beach- just a few minutes motorbike drive from Panagsama beach. The owners, Caroline and Charlie, do a really good job of giving their guests a comfortable stay. They serve a delicious breakfast on your terrace and you can enjoy watching movies at night with their big projector in the lounge area. They can also arrange moped rentals, scuba diving lessons as they are scuba diver instructors and other activities such as horseback riding, trekking, and chasing waterfalls. This is the best place if you’re looking for a serene and ‘Instagrammable’ place in Moalboal.
Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Tongo Hill Cottages.
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 a 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.
GYM ACCESS IN MOALBOAL
Previously there was only one gym in Moalboal and it was 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. However, now another gym has opened up on the road down to Panagsama Beach on the left-hand side about 500m before you hit the beach. I didn’t stop to check it out when I noticed it on my last visit but it will be more convenient for tourists who can walk there because LGC was a long way from Panagsama Beach.
TRANSPORT 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 of 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.
WHERE TO EAT?
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 is my favorite vegetarian dishes from Venz.
Dishes go from $3-6
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.
Dishes go from $3-6
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.
Smoothie bowls go for $5 or $6 with a machine coffee (Hard to find in Moalboal. It might be the best coffee in Moalboal too!)