The Best Hotels in Moalboal, the Philippines

Many resorts in Moalboal are near the lively Panagsama Beach
Many resorts in Moalboal are near the lively Panagsama Beach | © Richard R Handley / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sarah Gillespie
6 January 2021

Moalboal in the Philippines is where divers of all stripes gather to watch the sardine run and explore Pescador Island, as well as to try canyoneering at Kawasan Falls and lounge on White Beach. Base your adventure from one of these excellent hotels.

Panagsama, where most of the action happens, is a laid-back party strip where mixed groups of foreigners and Filipinos cruise the main street in colourful jeepneys looking for a great scuba-diving deal. Pescador Island is famed for its vertiginous coral wall and schools of tropical fish, but you only need your snorkel for the finest attraction in the area – swimming among millions of shimmering silver sardines.

D’ Gecko Hotel

Hotel
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D'Gecko Hotel
Courtesy of D’ Gecko Hotel / Expedia

Greek-themed D’ Gecko sits right at the heart of the action, surrounded by buzzing bars and dive shops that will whisk you straight to the sardine run, White Beach and more. Blue-and-white queen and king rooms have air conditioning, cable TV, a fridge and a kettle. There’s no breakfast on-site, but there are several restaurants just outside.

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The Blue Abyss Dive Resort

Resort
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Blue Abyss Resort
Courtesy of The Blue Abyss Dive Resort / Expedia

This leafy dive resort in Basdiot is the ideal base for rest and relaxation between underwater adventures. The twin and family rooms come with air conditioning, hot showers, a refrigerator and a balcony. Feast on sticky Filipino tocino (pork marinated in pineapple juice) for breakfast; dinners include imported foods such as Swiss fondue and barbecued meats from the grill. Aspiring divers can get certified by PADI or the Europe-based IDIC.

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  • Sea View Hostel

    Hostel
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    Sea View Hostel
    Courtesy of Sea View Hostel / Booking.com

    Take your pick of dive shops here – this all-doubles hostel in Basdiot is within steps of dozens of them, as well as tour operators who will whisk you off to land-based Moalboal attractions such as Kawasan Falls and White Beach. Grab drinks and snacks at the bar while planning your adventures using the free wifi, or retreat to your air-conditioned room. There’s no restaurant on-site, but you’ve got the best seafood restaurants in Moalboal right on your doorstep.

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    Cebu Seaview Dive Resort

    Resort
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    Come for the diving, stay for the atmosphere. That’s the idea at this dive resort in Basdiot, overlooking the Tañon Strait. Get certified in the infinity pool – which also happens to have fantastic ocean views – and then jump onto a boat with guides from Cebu Fun Divers, who will take you to the plunging coral walls for which Moalboal is famed. Back on land, grab a round of beers and Filipino pub food at the on-site restaurant.

    Dolphin House Resort

    Resort
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    Dolphin House Resort
    Courtesy of Dolphin House Resort / Expedia

    Occupying prime real estate, a four-minute ride from White Beach, this secluded resort is a dolphin among sardines – a touch of luxury in an area better known for budget options. Lounge in your Filipino-themed room – think lacquered bamboo beds scattered with hibiscus blossoms. Munch on prawn spring rolls at the restaurant, or listen to a marine biology seminar while sipping a cocktail. For the ultimate indulgence, head to the spa for a tandem massage – two therapists working as one.

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    Ananas Guesthouse

    Hostel, Guesthouse
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    Ananas Guesthouse Moalboal
    Courtesy of Ananas Guesthouse / Booking.com

    This convivial hostel in Basdiot is 800m (2,625ft) from Panagsama – close enough to the party but far enough for a good night’s sleep. Three private rooms and one dorm have air conditioning, private bathrooms with hot showers, and lockers. There’s a casual restaurant for breakfast, dinner and post-dive drinks. Owners Simon and Jerom are a font of knowledge on day tours and places to eat and party in town.

    These recommendations were updated on January 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.