Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Overnight in Moalboal: The perfect case for Online Banking

white beach in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

I have a spare overnight before coming back to Manila from a work assignment in Davao and Cebu. 

A couchsurfing friend is inviting over to an outreach event in Camotes, but the ship schedules would throw a majority of the spare time to waiting. Instead, I decided to push through with my planned moalboal sidetrip.

After my last presentation, I immediately ran back to the hotel to pack and pick up my stuff. It was not until I was in the van terminal did it come to me that I have only a thousand left in my wallet; 

There was no nearby atm terminal so I asked the van driver if there are atm machines in Moalboal; He said there are two.

It took us more than 3hours to get to  the town center of Moalboal. 

After a quick meal from the pizza house, I decided to get to the atms. 

The (metrobank) atm was inside 'three-sixty' pharmacy. There were a few people queued up, and atm was running smooth. When it was my turn, the screen froze; the security officer said it's normal for the atm, and the cause is the weak data signal. I asked for the location of the other atm, and he said it was just abou 200m away.

I walked out to peep if it's close indeed, but I walked back in anyway and tried the metrobank again. Again, there were a few queud up, and 2 turns before mine, the system froze again. There was no choice but to try the other one.

The other bank (Rural) that has an atm in Moalboal, Cebu

The other atm is of A Rural Bank (name of bank is RURALWAYS), housed in a 2 storey bunggalow. 

I entered my card but there seems to be no response from the machine. Screen reads please enter your card to begin. I tried to hit some buttons, but after I did, it said, 'Sorry this ATM is closed'. My jaw dropped, mind blew empty.,  IM FuCKeD UP! 

I was looking for a number to call, a lookout security staff who's inside but there isn't. There is nobody inside the branch too. I have only a thousand peso left, and it's a saturday; I have to take the flight back too the next day; No way I can wait until monday just to get the card. Besides, the imminent problem is that my cash on hand is only about a thousand.

I went back to the pizza house to check out my baggage is intact; Pulled my cigarette, and phone. 

Luckily, a travel friend is on her way to Moalboal too with her vacationing mom. I asked if she has a BPI atm with her, and she replied positive. I can transfer from mobile banking to her atm. Problem solved!

The next task is to choose between Panagsama and Basdako white beach. 

From what I read, Basdako is the beach area while Panagsama is the dive/snorkle destination. And, since I was told there are dive shops in Basdako too, I decided to go ahead with basdako so we have both the reef and the sand.

We told the tricycle driver that we have yet to hunt for our accomodation, and he said there's a lot there. He brought us to the white beach, which, from the way it looks is like a public beach. There were cottages, but are old and looks stinky.

white beach in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

We have an elderly with us, and this is not those usual backpacking trip where cost is 90% of the decision criteria. This time  we had to give some to comfort and environment.

Jimmy, our trike driver, noticed we weren't satisfied with the options. He said if we are not comfortable, we can check out the other resorts on the borders of the white beach.

We ended up with  the one next to Serendra at P1500/night. Serendra would have been very nice for all its complete facilities, but P3,300 a night is too much. 

As we had to be on our way back at 2pm the next day, we woke up early to do our island hopping.

with my travel bud's mom in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

reef in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

reef in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

reef in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

reef in Basdako, Moalboal, Cebu

We asked around for the boats and rates were at 2000 and 2500. I asked Jimmy (trike driver) if he knows any fisherman around, and he was saying the best price he can get out of his acquiantance is 1500. And 500/head was just too much.

I waited a bit, and later, a passing by fisherman was approaching. The boat was so small, so before even asking how much he'd ask, i asked him first if his boat can handle it.

He said it can, and he asked for 800. We settled on 600.

The waves were actually huge so sailed close to the coast. Upon reaching pinagsama, I was stunned at the crystal water and thick forrest down there. After almost an hour, we reached the turtle sanctuary. We spotted 1 turtle floating, teasing us with his head as he moves away and dips itself deeper when it sees us steer towards him. I jumped off to the water, to see if there could be any more turtles, but it's all there is.

Then we decided to move ahead to pescador island. Out boatman was saying the waves are probably risky, and everyone of us three began ranting. From where we were it seems as the waves are calmer than when we talked with him at the beach.  We were claiming it was the whole reason why we rented his boat, so we have to find a way.

He looked towards the waters, thought for a moment, and said, OK let's go. We were telling him if he's comfortable with the waves, as we can wait until the tide settles a bit, but he said we're good to go.

We reached the island safely but the trip was really hell of a ride. On my mind, I was thinking about transferring the 2 ladies to the other tourist boats, but all those docked there are done for their trip at our arrival. Everyone was just looking at us with that face that says "Is that how you got here?"

pescador island in Moalboal, Cebu

approaching pescador island in moalboal, cebu

reef in pescador island in moalboal cebu

snorkelling around pescador island, moalboal, cebu

swimming around pescador island in moalboal cebu

We snorkled around and the reef in pinagsama is far better. There is nothing else to do ;-(; We decided to go back and do snorkelling in pinagsama instead.

reef in pinagsama, moalboal, cebu

reef in pinagsama, moalboal, cebu

reef in pinagsama, moalboal, cebu

reef in pinagsama, moalboal, cebu

reef in pinagsama, moalboal, cebu

How to go to Moalboal:

From cebu city, make your way to the south terminal. You can either take the bus or the van. The van would be faster though compared to the bus.

The van will drop off in the town center. From the town center, you can take a trike to your destination (either pinagsama or basdako). We paid P100 in the town-basdako trip. On the return trip, we had to take a tricy that's readily available (instead of jimmy), and he was asking for P150. Then again I told him it's only 100 and we are not uninformed.

After my visit, I realized, it would have been better if we stayed in pinagsama instead. Yes you may have the sand in basdako, but the beach is just too rocky. I would have enjoyed, and taken more time snorkelling in pinagsama, and then do a side trip to basdako.

Food in the resorts could be very expensive, but there are eateries there. Just ask for where they are as they are not so obvious from the beach front.

We stayed in Delgado Cottages with phone nos (0933) 441 6805. Their rates are P1500 and up. Beside delgado is serendra, and on the opposite side is a family that offers some rooms. The family is more flexible when it comes to budget.

Our trike service jimmy's contact no is +63 906 802 8383 or (0923) 843 6945

Travelling Philippines? Follow @CheapBedsPH on Instagram for geotagged backpacker accomodation below PHP400 (US$9) for easier searches.


  1. I commend your haggle skills :-) Visit us on your next trip in Moalboal.


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