Cebu City to Moalboal: everything you need to know

cebu city to moalboal bus bato via barili cebu south bus terminal cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat-2
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Are you looking for a way to get from Cebu City to Moalboal? The Philippines is not the easiest country to plan your transport in advance, I know that because I have tried, and the information I’ve found online just simply isn’t detailed enough for me. So whether you’re looking for the fastest way to get from Cebu to Moalboal or if you want to see how the public bus from Cebu City to Moalboal works, I’m here for you!

FAQ for Cebu City to Moalboal

How to get to Moalboal from Cebu City?

cebu monument cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat

There are 3 main ways to get from Cebu City to Moalboal: bus, van, or private car/taxi. All of these have their merits, but I personally would not choose van because they are too cramped for anyone with more than a small backpack. Unless you’re planning on a DIY day trip.

How much is a Grab from Cebu City to Moalboal?

The price quote for Grab from Cebu City to Moalboal would be around 1900 pesos. But in reality, no one would pick up your ride as they’ll have to drive all the way back to Cebu City. Nor is it a good benchmark for the price, which I’ll get into later.

Is there a bus from Cebu City to Moalboal?

cere bus cebu city to moalboal bus bato via barili cebu south bus terminal cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat-3

Yes, there are two buses run by Ceres Liner that would take you from Cebu City to Moalboal. More below.

How long should I spend in Moalboal?

Panagsama beach at moalboal cebu philippines - laugh travel eat
Moalboal

Moalboal is one of the best places to stay in Cebu if you are a fan of the sea and it’s close enough to waterfalls and mountains as well. You can spend 3 days to see the highlights or even longer to enjoy it all.

How long would it take to go from Cebu City to Moalboal?

While google map would estimate about 2.5 by road, the route near Cebu City is often congested and the journey can take anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours on a very unlucky day. In practice, it took 3 hours by car for me to reach the airport from Moalboal in a private car and 4 hours on a bus.

Private Car between Cebu City to Moalboal

The best option for group and for time efficiency is to hire a private car, especially if you have multiple luggages. Here is a quick pro and con list:

Pros of a private car:

  • Take you point to point from Cebu City to Moalboal (and vice versa)
  • You can do it on your own schedule
  • Much quicker than a van or bus
  • More comfortable

Cons of a private car:

  • Expensive compared to the bus, but the bus is ridiculously cheap

Cost of a private car from Cebu to Moalboal

The prices range from around 4000 pesos (69 USD) to 2500 pesos (44 USD), depending on the size of the vehicle and how many people need transport

Klook

The price for a group of 1-3 is 69 USD and it goes up by not too much all the way to a group of 6. It has great reviews and the cars look very comfortable.

Private driver direct booking

I booked my private transfer from Moalboal to Cebu Airport directly with my tour guide David. He was great at arranging best-price tours for me when I was in Moalboal and even took me to a local spot to dinner after hiking Osmena peak. Here are his prices for airport pick up or drop off:

  • 1 or 2 person 2500
  • 3 or 4 person 3000
  • 5 – 7  person 4000

You can contact him on Whatsapp: +63 906 055 7060

Van from Cebu City to Moalboal

I have included this even though I don’t recommend using it, but just in case you want an extra option. The minivan would be faster than the bus since it’ll make fewer stops, but it is far less comfortable and not suitable for people with luggage.

They used to also depart from the South Bus Terminal but have moved 

Bus from Cebu City to Moalboal

cere bus cebu city to moalboal bus bato via barili cebu south bus terminal cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat-2
Ceres Bus

To get from Cebu to Moalboal by bus is the cheapest but also likely the longest option. There’s a few things you need to know first:

  • There is no schedule for the bus, they simply depart every 30 minutes from the South Bus Terminal Station
  • There is a direct bus option, but you’re most likely going to catch the Bato via Barili bus. NOT Bato via Oslob, as that goes to another direction
  • The bus runs from 6am to 10pm
  • There is an air con and none aircon option – always asks for aircon

How to get from Mactan-Cebu Airport to the South Bus Terminal

cebu south bus terminal cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat

For those of you who want to go directly from the Mactan-Cebu Airport to the South Bus Terminal, there are 2 options but I would strongly suggest a Grab (taxi) instead of the bus.

Grab from Mactan-Cebu Airport to South Bus Terminal

The ride from the Mactan-Cebu Airport to the South Bus Terminal takes around 30 minutes and should cost you 400ish pesos, depending on the demand.

If you encounter traffic, it will take longer so I would recommend staying overnight if you are landing later than 2pm to opt for a morning departure from Cebu City. there will be less traffic and the ride will be better in daylight.

Bus from Mactan-Cebu Airport to South Bus Terminal

Mactan-Cebu Airport cebu philippines - laugh travel eat

There are supposedly public buses going to and from the airport and South Bus Terminal. However, given that Grab is available and the traffic can be bad, it’s but you can check MyBus and SugboBus and it should be around 50 pesos.

If you don’t have cash, this might not be the best option.

Grab to South Bus Terminal in Cebu City

Unless you live very close to the bus station or have a backpack, I would suggest taking a Grab to the South Bus Terminal. The pavement and the road condition plus traffic does not make it ideal for dragging a suitcase and it tends to be quite hot, too.

My Grab driver took me all the way inside to the front of the ticket office, you just need to pay an extra 10 pesos for entry inside.

Trust me, it’s worth it. It is boiling hot.

Buy tickets at the office and ask for air con bus 

There is conflicting information online about when and where you buy the tickets. The correct place to buy the ticket is at the ticket counter. Just let the ticket office staff know you’re going to Moalboal and ask for the air-con bus.

Since there is no schedule, the bus will just depart roughly every 30 minutes, and expect it to be running late!

The ticket costs 209 pesos, and you’ll get a receipt with a QR code as the ticket – keep it with you!

You can ask when the next bus leaves as well, mine was 15 minutes later (but it was actually 25).

There is a reasonably clean bathroom that is free to use in the waiting area.

Bus journey from Cebu City to Moalboal

The bus for Bato via Barili was at Gate 2 door 6. They have a QR code scanner before the gate before exiting and boarding. Remember to keep the ticket still.

cebu city to moalboal bus bato via barili cebu south bus terminal cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat

The driver and staff saw my medium suitcase and helped me stow it under. And it remained there safely until I arrived in Moalboal.

cebu city to moalboal bus bato via barili cebu south bus terminal cebu city cebu philippines - laugh travel eat-2

There are already people onboard the bus but as the starting point, you should be able to get a seat. And people come on board to sell snacks! Mostly donuts.

The inspector will validate your ticket once the bus departs

This is where your receipt with a QR code will get exchanged for another ticket. You should also keep it. Here’s what you need to know about the ride itself:

  • Expect traffic jams going out of Cebu City
  • The bus stops a lot to pick up passengers, so you won’t get a free seat next to you
  • They play movies on a small screen, it is hard to hear but I managed to watch quite clearly. They are quite new, too.
  • There is 1 rest stop about 1 hour from Moalboal. The toilet looks very basic (squat), and it costs 5-10 pesos so I didn’t go for it. You can also buy snacks and stretch your legs a little.

Arriving in Moalboal

There are two stops in Moalboal, and you get off at the second stop in front of/near Jollibee. There is usually a lot of people getting off.

But this is also the main road and not where resorts/hotels/main tourist area is. That would be Panagsama beach, which is 15 minutes drive away and I do not recommend walking. Honestly, this reminds me of Khao Sok in Thailand.

Getting to Panagsama Beach

There are many tuktuk/halbal halbal waiting for passengers. While I read online that they charge 50 pesos per person, the reality is that you have to rent one by yourself and the cost is pretty much 150 pesos across the board.

Remember to haggle, as I know a guy who paid 300 pesos to get to town. The good news is that they seem familiar with most of the hotels/inns/hostels in town, so no need for more hassle.

Pay the environment protection tax 

tourist fee moalboal cebu philippines - laugh travel eat

On the way in, the driver stopped as I had to pay the mandatory 25 pesos environmental tax. I asked and he said it’s applicable to domestic and international tourists to keep the area clean. Which I love and it’s not a lot of money, but to be fair the beach is not very clean at all…

Anyway, once all that is done, you can get to your hotel to enjoy air con and Moalboal.

Where to Stay in Moalboal

In case you are looking for accommodation as well, I’ve some recommendations on where to stay in Moalboal!

The tourist area in Moalboal is the Panagsama Beach, which is also where the sardine runs is (as well as the restaurants and a surprising amount of massage places). While the beach and the snorkeling area go around the bend, most people stay between the sections here:

It is walkable but there is no pavement so it’s nicer to stay closer to amenities if you’re not a fan of walking on meh-roads. I stayed at Speed 8 Inn, which is about 8 minutes from the beach and considered a little far. While the rooms are clean, there’s no duvet and I got a lot of mosquitoes in my room. Otherwise, it’s okay.

Budget: 

Chief Mau Moalboal Cebu is a popular hostel with dorms and private rooms in the center of town.

Sunset Paradise Moalboal is close to action with a western bathroom and a good mattress and duvet. I met the owner briefly and he’s a very friendly and chatty guy. 

Mid-range:

Sedona Resort is on a quiet road with a small but nice pool and the rooms are clean and spacious.

Marcosas Cottage Resort has bungalows and cottages available with a swimming pool but the WiFi review is not great and the furniture a bit dated. 

Treeshade Resort & Spa Moalboal has a larger pool and modern rooms and near the beach.

One thought on “Cebu City to Moalboal: everything you need to know

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for your description!
    For 2024 it’s like that: Get into the entrance, buy your ticket at the counter to the right. Then proceed left and left (hallway behind the QR turnstile) to your waiting area, destinations are designated or just ask the personnel. Bus drivers will announce their destination through the windows. Now just show your QR code at the check in and get on your bus.
    For me it was as easy as going there, buying the ticket and ten minutes later I was on route in the bus.

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