Moalboal, the Diving Village

Moalboal, the Diving Village

MOALBOAL
Feb 18 – 23, 2014

How to get from Dumaguete to Moalboal? Take the bus from Dumaguete Ceres Bus Terminal to Cebu or Bato. The bus will go on the Ferry to the island of Cebu. Get off the bus as soon as it got off the ferry in Bato. Right next to the ferry station, cross the street and wave down the next bus to Cebu, which passes by every 30 minutes. Buses go to Cebu in two directions. Either on the east coast (like the one you took from Dumaguete) or on the west coast. Make sure you ask the conductor if the bus goes to Moalboal, just to be on the safe side. Also ask him to tell you when you get there so you don’t miss it. It takes about two hours to reach Moalboal (perhaps a little bit less if you catch an A/C bus). The ride offers really good views along the coastline and is quite pleasing.

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We arrived in Moalboal after sunset. As usual, tricycle drivers were already waiting for costumers the bus may bring. We ask one of them to show us some accommodations within our price range. The very first place he brought us to was already a jackpot. We got spacious and clean apartment with kitchen, a big bedroom and bathroom with hot water. You won’t find it on the internet, so just ask for ‘Rosalita’s. As we planned to stay for a few days, we were able to nudge down the price a little bit to 800,- PHP per night.

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Moalboal used to be a small fishing village, before it was discovered by (diving) tourism. But it still kept its charm and is far from overrun. You can find many dining opportunities in family-run restaurants which all offer fresh fish and seafood. There are a few small resorts in Moalboal with their own restaurants as well. Almost all of them have their own dive shop, as pretty much every comes here for one reason only: scuba diving.

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The first thing we did in Moalboal was to jump into the water for some snorkeling. Here you have the unique possibility to dive through a huge swarm of sardines that made Moalboal its permanent home. It’s quite impressive. Dive down through the swarm, wait for the hole you made to close once below it and look up: The sun disappears behind the millions of fish. Go up and dive through the swarm again. Amazing! What a shame that our Gopro was not charged that morning…

Very close to Moalboal is little Pescador Island, which is well-known for its diving spots. Of course we wanted to give that a try.

We shopped around for the best dive shop and chose one of the larger ones. It seemed professional and the equipment looked quite new. However, we got disappointed. First, we had to change our equipment three times, because various parts kept leaking. As we kept changing bits and pieces, there was not enough time to check if in the end we really had flawless equipment. On the boat they seemed to want to get it over with as quickly as possible and the guy was extremely pushy us to get into the water. No time for a relaxed entry into the rough water. Under water the visibility was quite bad but this wasn’t the worst part. After descending I noticed that the regulator with every breath forced air into my mouth. My alternative had the same problem. I was loosing air quite quickly and was looking forward to getting back to the boat. Flo’s equipment was not okay either. Water leaked into his regulator, so he had to swap it for his alternative too. We did not enjoy this dive at all.

None of the problems we experienced under water were really dangerous. However, inexperienced divers could easily panic in such a situation which could get them in serious trouble. Looking back, we are really glad we exercised various scenarios in our rescue diving course which definitely helped us to cope with this situation.

Back in the dive shop we complained immediately and the manager was quite apologetic. He didn’t charge us for the dive and promised it would not happen again but we still decided not to dive with them again. As the dive itself was nothing special either and the visibility was bad, we decided not to do any further dives in Moalboal altogether.

One day we rented a motorbike to look at the nearby waterfalls.

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We stayed in Moalboal for 5 nights and really enjoyed it, even though we didn’t do any further diving. Next up was Cebu again to catch our flight to Palawan.