The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands! It can be daunting trying to plan a trip to the Philippines because there are so many beautiful islands, white-sand beaches, and activities to enjoy. No matter where you visit, it’s hard to go wrong. However, Cebu Island should make it on to your itinerary because there are so many different towns and cities to visit in a small area. Everything is only a couple of hours’ drive from the next town so there’s no need to book another plane ticket. Once on Cebu Island, Moalboal is tucked away on the northwest side of the island. Visitors stay on Panagsama Beach, the “visitor” area of Moalboal. While Panagsama consists of only a small strip of accommodations, restaurants, bars and dive shops, there is plenty to do to keep you busy and entertained during your stay.
Explore Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls is a 30-minute drive from Panagsama, although it is one of the main reasons to visit Panagsama. When you arrive at the entrance, locals offer to be your guide to the waterfall. This is entirely unnecessary. Say “no” to the guides and continue on alone. The walk to the waterfall takes about 20 minutes and is via a clear path. There is a 40 PHP (0.86 USD) entrance fee along the pathway to the waterfall.
Kawasan Falls consists of three different waterfalls. The first waterfall you will encounter is the largest waterfall. On busy days, it is also the most crowded because people are not aware of the other two waterfalls. Look around for the staircase that leads to the two smaller and quieter waterfalls if you want to get away from the crowds.
Kawasan Falls practically pops out from nowhere as you walk around a bend in the path. It is breathtaking! The pool of water that the largest waterfall cascades into is aqua blue, refreshing, clean and clear. It is free to swim in the pool as you wish; however, I suggest hiring a bamboo raft. The raft rents for 300 PHP (6.48 USD) per group. The rafts can easily accommodate a group of six people, maybe more if the guide allows it. However, you can’t use the raft without having a “guide” who pulls the raft around the pool and underneath the waterfall for you. The guide is technically free; however, they do not tell you that. Be sure to haggle for the guide’s service or just leave a nice tip after your ride. The rides last around 30 minutes; it’s amazing to be so up close and within the waterfall.
In order to get to Kawasan Falls, you can hire a round-trip tricycle driver for roughly 900 PHP (19.45 USD) or rent a motorbike for the day for roughly 500 PHP (10.80 USD). Be sure to haggle for both the tricycle driver’s services and for the motorbike.
Enjoy a day at White Beach
You’d think Panagsama Beach would have a great beach given its name. While a beach does exist, it’s more of a short, skinny strip of sand. You won’t see people spending time enjoying this beach. Instead, visitors at Panagsama Beach travel the 15 minutes to White Beach. Again, you can either hire a tricycle driver or rent a motorbike for the day. A tricycle driver costs roughly 120 PHP (2.60 USD) for a one-way ride. However, the price will depend on how good you are at haggling.
White Beach is a rather wide, long beach. There are a few uber-casual restaurants at the beach, run by the locals whose houses line the edge of White Beach. When I arrived, I was expecting the beach to have been turned into a tourist haven, with vendors selling coconuts, handmade goods, etc. However, that was not the case at all. A day at White Beach is a relaxing day. The beach is absolutely beautiful, with pure white sand and the same aqua-colored, refreshing water that can be found at Kawasan Falls.
Swim through the sardine run
A sardine run exists when millions of sardine cluster together into one giant group of fish. They do this as a defense mechanism to seem more frightening despite their small size. A giant sardine run is located just off the shore of the small Panagsama Beach, which is why you will see many snorkelers and scuba divers exploring so close to the shore. There are plenty of dive shops located along Panagsama’s strip from which you can get certified or take a discovery course to try it out. Many of these dive shops will take you to the sardine run. Alternatively, you can rent a snorkel from your accommodation and see the sardine run from the surface on your own.
Panagsama likes its fees
When you are out and about exploring Panagsama and the surrounding area, be sure to bring extra money with you. While the area is not expensive, there are a lot of hidden fees. For example, to get into White Beach, you have to pay two separate fees. The fees are collected about a 1-minute drive away from each other. In total, the fees cost 15 PHP per person (0.32 USD), which won’t break the bank. However, these fees exist throughout the area, and through many other parts of the Philippines, so they definitely add up. You wouldn’t want to miss a day at the beach because you do not have that little extra bit of cash on hand.
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