Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines


Moalboal is located on the western side of Cebu Island. It takes about 3 hours by car from the Cebu airport. We first travel down south on the east coast highway and cut through the highland to the west. The journey across the highland was scenic passing thru farms and plantations.

Sole E Mare
Moalboal has developed a tourism industry based on recreational diving and beaches. The stretch of peninsula is lined up with dive center, restaurant, hotel and resort. We have booked our diving and accommodation thru Cebu Dive Center. The manager Geom help us arrange everything from pickup to check-in and diving.

We got a seaview room at the rooftop of Sole E Mare with a nice private balcony. Our room was clean everyday, towel, coffee and tea provided with a mini bar. We find food on the stretch of 1km beach side bars and restaurant. We tried to eat at different restaurant every day. The dive center is just 50m away.

Tornado of sardines
It was low season in November, we were the only group at the dive center, during our 3 days diving there, we met 3 other divers who join us on the dive boat. The dive bangka is not big but it has enough space for all of us. They provide towel, fruits, hot tea and coffee on board. We were really lucky with the weather. 3 days of sunshine and really good visibility in their average standard. Bibit was our DM. A good spotter and very patient diver. He plan everything according to our needs. Our check-up dive was at the house reef. We just need to put on our dive gear and walk out a few meters into the water. Geom told me the sardines are out there, I didn't believe him until I saw it myself. Just off the house reef wall, thousands of sardines were crowding by the wall. It was a spectacular sighting.


The Pescado Island
Cathedral
The top dive site here is The Pescado Island, a small island off Moalboal. 20mins with the bangka. There are 2 dive sites here, the northwest side is called Cathedral. We descended into 3 cavern, bottom at 37m and shallowest opening at 15 meters. With good sunlight penetration, this made a great wide angle photo. The current brought us to the northern tip and over to the eastern side where we end our dive. We saw frogfish, a fascinating electric clam and lots of turtles. The south side of The Pescado Island is very healthy, soft coral and hard coral cover the wall and colorful anthias. Giant sea fan and barrel sponges hanging on the wall made good subject for photograph.

There wasn't abundance of macro life in Moalboal nor anything huge, there were the usual nudibranchs, shrimps and crabs. Moalboal doesn't stand out like other dive destination which has something special to attract divers, like Thresher Sharks in Malapascua or Whale Shark in Oslob but the Tornado of sardines are definitely something unique and spectacular.

Travel date :  28 Nov - 1 Dec 2013
Travel route : SG -F-> Cebu -C-> Moal Boal
Accommodation and diving : Sole E Mare & Cebu Dive Center
Type of diving : Reef, wall
Water temperature : 26-29°C
Best time to dive : Diveable year round but avoid hurricane season from September to December.

 -F-> Flight -B-> Boat -C-> Car
Sponges

Frog fish

Li with her Teddy Bear

Lionfish

Turtle

Turtle

Sardines


Dragonnet

Hippocampus Denise

Blenny


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