Want to know how to get from Cebu to Moalboal? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the three ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Moalboal
Moalboal is a small yet vibrant resort town on the west coast of Cebu Island. World-famous for its sardine run, here you can swim with millions of sardines — just a few metres off the shore!
It also boasts a vibrant coral wall, making it a popular diving destination. The best part? You won’t have to swim far or rent a boat to enjoy the waters of Moalboal. For the best diving visibility, visit between November to May.
3 ways to get from Cebu to Moalboal
There are three ways to travel the distance of 85 km (53 miles) from Cebu to Moalboal: by bus (4 hours), van (3 hours) and taxi (3 hours). The journey takes between 3-4 hours and the quickest way is by van. The lowest priced tickets start from 170 PHP ($3.00) for the bus.
Ceres Bus is the most popular company operating the Cebu to Moalboal route. You can easily spot them by their distinct yellow colour. Ceres buses bound for Moalboal are available as early as 03:00 in the morning.
You can choose from two kinds of buses:
Direct bus from Cebu City to Moalboal: available every 3 hours from 06:00 to 14:00. This makes its last stop in Moalboal.
Bus from Cebu City to Bato via Barili: available every 30 minutes from 03:00 to 18:30. This drops off passengers in Moalboal, before going further south of the island to the town of Bato.
A non-airconditioned bus ticket costs 170 PHP ($3.00) while an air-conditioned bus ride costs 210 PHP ($3.70). You can buy your ticket from the counter or directly from the bus conductor.
The bus journey from Cebu to Moalboal takes around 4 hours.
The bus stops at Moalboal Bus Station, beside the public market. From here, you can get to your hotel with a motorbike taxi for 50 PHP ($0.80) or a tricycle for 150 PHP ($2.60).
Cebu to Moalboal by Van
Duration: 3 hours
Starts from: 180 PHP ($3.20)
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: 180 PHP ($3.20)
If you’re on a budget but in a hurry, you can take a public van from Cebu to Moalboal. Vans don’t make as many stops as the bus so they can do the journey in around 3 hours.
It’s important to know that vans usually don’t depart until they are full.
With very little legroom, the trip may be more than a bit uncomfortable. Also, they charge for an extra seat if you’re carrying big pieces of luggage.
Vans are available from 04:00 to 19:00 with tickets starting from 180 PHP ($3.20). Be aware that drivers sometimes try to charge foreign tourists more.
Departure and arrival station
The last time we checked (July 2023) vans operating from Cebu City to Moalboal now depart from South Bus Terminal, the same as the buses. Don’t confuse this for the V-Hire South Terminal, which has now been converted into a food park.
Vans drop off passengers at Moalboal town centre, usually at the V-Hire Terminal across the Municipal Hall.
Cebu to Moalboal by Taxi
Duration: 3 hours
Starts from: 3,900 PHP ($69.00)
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: 3,900 PHP ($69.00)
If you want to travel comfortably and don’t mind paying more, hiring a taxi is a good option.
We recommend booking your ride beforehand through Klook. This way, you can expect a nice car with a good driver. Rates start from 3,900 PHP ($69.00) for a 3-seater sedan from Cebu City or Cebu Airport to Moalboal.
You can also hail a regular taxi from the airport or within Cebu City. Be prepared to haggle because taxi drivers rarely use the metre for long-distance trips. They will also try to give a higher rate when negotiating with foreigners.
For reference, a reasonable rate for a private transfer from Cebu to Moalboal is around 3,000 PHP ($53.00).
Can I book a Grab from Cebu to Moalboal?
Grab is available in Cebu City and is a good way to get to nearby destinations, like Cebu Airport. However, Grab is not licensed to operate in Moalboal.
Sure, you can try booking a Grab ride on the app. And you might get excited to see a cheaper quote compared to the rates provided above — around 2,500 PHP ($44.50). But the question is, will any driver accept your booking?
The most likely answer to that question is no. It will be difficult to find a driver who’ll accept that fare, knowing that they won’t be able to get a passenger on the way back. It’s more likely that they’ll try to negotiate and ask for double the price, meaning you’ll also pay for their trip back to Cebu City.
In conclusion, it will be better to book a taxi from Cebu to Moalboal via Klook.
Our favourite places to stay in Moalboal
Moalboal is a paradise for marine life, and that’s what you want to be focusing on — finding the best snorkelling trips, witnessing the Sardine Run if you’re there at the right time.
If you’re looking to stay close to the action, we recommend staying close to Panagsama Beach. It’s the main town boasting a lively atmosphere. This is where most of our favourite stays are located.
Your time shouldn’t be spent finding the right hotel. We’ve done that for you:
Area: Next to Panagsama beach, only a 1-minute walk
The name says it all for this place. It actually does feel like a secret paradise, hidden amongst its green gardens and away from the business of the town. All of the rooms are centred around a large and inviting swimming pool that even has tables in the water.
Secret Paradise feels like a mini resort, whilst still maintaining an intimate vibe.
Area: Panagsama Beach — approx. 10-minute walk to famous Moalboal Sardines Run
Whether you choose the funky bamboo bungalows or the dorm rooms, you’ll love your stay at Maayong Hostel. The bungalows feel like little oases with their tropical outdoor bathrooms and peaceful design.
When you’re not making the most of your bungalow, there are plenty of spots to hang out in throughout the hostel — the bar, restaurant, chill out areas with hammocks and bean bags. The vibe here is perfect!
Area: Panagsama Road — approx. 10-minute walk from the centre town
You’ll be blown away that Garden Village Resort is a budget friendly option. Not many places for under $30 offer a swimming pool, bar and a good restaurant.
The bungalows are relatively basic but still provide everything you need and offer great value for money. The affordable price does mean that you compromise on location a little. Here you’ll be a 25-minute walk or a 6-minute drive from the centre of town.
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Abby is a writer who finds joy in mountains, beaches, and road trips. She considers her solo backpacking trip to the rice terraces of Bontoc one of the most fulfilling moments in her life. She’s loyal to the islands of her home country, the Philippines, but Thailand’s beaches also have a special place in her heart.