One of the best underwater experiences you can have in the Philippines is the famous Moalboal sardine run. The Moalboal sardine run is the most iconic attraction where you can view thousands of sardines swimming just off the coral reefs. You can also see beautiful coral, different kinds of fish, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot some sea turtles.
Where to stay in Moalboal
We found the best area to stay in Moalboal is around White Beach or Panagsama Beach. There are a variety of accommodation options with many resorts offering scuba diving lessons. For a budget option, you can try the central located hostel Chief Mau Moalboal Cebu. There aren’t many high end resorts in the area, although you can try Oceanfront Paradise Resort which has its own pool and overlooks the beach.
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Finding the Moalboal Sardine Run
At Panagsama Beach, swim less than 100 metres from the shore to where the reef drops 40 – 60 metres and you’ll find a dark shining cloud of them there. As you swim closer towards them, you will be able to swim right through the school of sardines. Don’t worry if you don’t see the sardine run straight away as they swim up and down the reef drop. If you swim towards the yellow pier, they are most commonly found in that area. While you’re swimming at the end of the reef be sure to watch out for the tour boats in the area. The boats pass right by you and it’s easy for them to not see you, which can cause an accident.
We went twice and always seemed to find them swimming up and down the reef in the same area. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot some turtles amongst the shallow reef. Moalboal was one of our favourite places in the Philippines to snorkel and we definitely recommend it!
Rent Moalboal snorkeling gear
You can rent goggles, snorkels, flippers and life jackets just about anywhere around the beach. Some days the tide can be strong so the flippers and life jackets are very helpful. We found the best package deal to be 250 peso per person for everything. They also provide you with a locker for valuables.
If you’re in need of a GoPro there are stores that rent the Hero 4 for around 800 peso. Although you’ll need your own micro SD card. There’s only a small stretch of shops in the area so just walk up and down and you’ll find local stores that have a small whiteboard out the front saying “GoPro for rent”.
Finding the Turtles
Aside from the Moalboal Sardine Run, you can also find beautiful turtles. The best time to try find them is during high tide. During high tide they are usually feeding on the coral located close to the shore. Be sure to keep an eye out for them as they are easy to miss. If you’re lucky enough to find one they’re the most magical creatures to swim alongside. Snorkelling only just scratches the surface of the incredible reefs. The Philippines is known to have great scuba diving experiences where you can explore even more of the incredible marine life.