After returning to Manila we were ready to go more South (beaches, yesss!). We already booked a flight to Cebu city in Belgium for around 4200 PHP for both of us. Since the flight was quite late, we stayed at Cebu city for a night. The place we stayed at was being ran by Mike, the travelling Dutchman that stayed in Cebu with his girlfriend Bonita (hence Bonita’s guesthouse, good burgers!).
But the actual goal wasn’t Cebu city, it was Panagsama, Moalboal. Why? Diving! We booked an open water certification course with Cebu dive centre, cheap and in hindsight very good as well. We felt welcome from the first second we arrived there! Cameron and his crew were very accommodating and patient with the course. I can say that the course itself wasn’t a walk in the park. Lots of theory had to be covered and even more skills had to be learned. Anyway, after about 4 days of diving we managed to get our certificate and we absolutely loved it. The underwater world and wildlife is stunning. No pictures from during the dives sadly enough… We didn’t have a suitable camera. We saw turtles, schools of sardines, clownfish, barracudas, tuna,… Impossible to describe how it felt to be so lucky to be able to see this (and being able to breathe under water 🙂 ).
The last day we took a rest and went to the Kawasan falls, a must when in the Philippines. A milky blue pool with a beautiful waterfall dropping into it, sounds good, is good. The falls exist of 3 stages, the second is good for swimming, on the third stage you can swing into the water and jump from a 10m platform! Good fun! We went early so it was quiet when we entered the valley, but when we left it was packed with locals and tourists. It is exploited for a big part, but still magical and worth it.
We slept at the dive centre, but a lot of other options are around.
Cebu dive centre: We stayed at the dive centre during our course and payed 400 php pp/pn. This was very convenient and the facilities where nice. Cameron, the owner, tries to not overcrowd any of the dorms/rooms. There is a bar on site where you can have a relaxing drink AFTER the dives 😉
Chief Mau Hostel: Looked good and had a good vibe to it. Didn’t sleep there but rooms/dorms start from around 300 php.
Getting there and away:
We took a bus from Cebu City, it is a 2,5h bus ride from the south bus terminal to Moalboal, ask the bus conductor to tell you when to get off. Depending on your bargaining skills you can take a tricycle from around 60 php pp to Panagsama.
To get to Kawasan you get the bus in Moalboal and tell the bus driver or conductor that you want to get off at the falls. you can walk to the falls, you don’t need a tricycle. To get back we shared a tricycle with 5 persons, this was only slightly more expensive than the bus.
Cockonuts: Our favourite lunch place! The cockonut soup is a absolute hit, as well as the chicken burger. The view is amazing and the food is served quickly!
Pleasure principle: The best food in town, period. They serve a lot of different dishes from around asia. The Panang gai was wonderful. Downside? A bit more expensive then the rest.
Chili bar: Packed on a friday night to get a beer, no, multiple beers. Play some pool with the locals and enjoy the evening! The burgers are nice, but not the best in our opinion.
The last filling station: If you are in search of a gooood breakfast, go there. It is not in the very centre of Panagsama but it is worth the walk. Ate our best pancakes of our whole Phillipines trip there.
Jamcam TV: YouTube channel of the manager (CAMeron) of Cebu Dive Centre. Interesting (and good!) footage about Panagsama, Moalboal and surroundings.