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General Information - Moalboal, Philippines

Some points about Cebu & Philippines

These points are in no particular order but should be read by everyone coming to Moalboal.

Weather

Health

Safety

Immigration/Travel

Money

Other

Weather

  • To see what the weather is doing in Moalboal at the moment, have a look at the Moalboal forecast for the next seven days from Weatherbug.com

Immigration/Travel

  • You may extend your tourist visa in Cebu or in Dumaguete City, Negros. It's a much more pleasant trip to Dumaguete via a pleasant rural bus ride, ferry and jeepney/taxi than to Cebu. Either way , please dress tidily when visiting the Immigration Office; wearing slippers (flip-flops), cut-off T-shirts or shorts is not really polite!
  • Remember that your first visa is usually valid for 30 days (since August 2013), the first extension beyond that is for up to 59 days from your arrival, not two calendar months! Further extensions are in blocks of one, two or three months to a theoretical maximum of 14 months. I don't know anyone who has done this, usually 12 months is the practical maximum.
  • Hong Kong SAR passport holders should check their flight dates carefully since they only get a 14 day visa on entry to Philippines. BNO passport holders get a seven visa.
  • For divers bringing their own equipment and travelling with Philippine Airlines, PAL used to offer a Flying Sportsman card which entitles the holder to an additional 30kgs. of baggage. Very useful, especially for photographers! I'm not sure whether this is still available but ask or apply at any PAL office. The card used to cost US$30 and is valid for two years. Silk Air/Singapore Air travellers also usually get a 30 kgs. baggage allowance as well.
  • International departure tax from Cebu is P750 and domestic departure tax is P80. This is usually included in the price of your ticket.

Health

  • Health care in Cebu is cheap and good compared with most of Asia. If you have medical problems it easy to get good quality attention. Ask for advice about which doctor/hospital to go to from a dive shop; they are often more current than the guest houses or resorts, especially for diving-related issues. There are several doctors in Moalboal, a Health Centre and a District Hospital in Badian. Speaking from recent (December 2016) experience, the staff at the government operations have little equipment to work with and the private doctors are often not available due to working in other areas. So for anything remotely serious, get in a taxi or bus to Cheong Hua or Cebu Doctors Hospital immediately!
  • Water is usually safe to drink from the tap in Moalboal, however if you are on a short trip it's wiser to stick to bottled water since the quality may not be exactly what you are used to at home and can result in upset stomachs; it's much wiser not to drink the tap water in the cities.
  • Water pressure for showers and toilets can get low, especially in the summer when there is little rain. Most resorts have their own water tanks to minimise this.
  • Cebu is not a malarial area, however dengue fever can sometimes be a problem - it seems to come in waves. Use mosquito repellent.

Money

  • Current exchange rates: US$1 = PHP50.62, €1 = PHP60.511 (source: Yahoo Finance, updated 24 Sep 2017)
  • You will get a better exchange rate in Cebu City than Moalboal. The current dollar and euro exchange rate is above or use our currency converter in the sidebar to select other amounts or currencies (source: Google)
  • The easiest moneys to bring with you are (in order!) pesos, US dollars cash (large notes get better rates), any other cash, US dollars traveller's cheques, other travellers cheques. Note that you are not permitted to bring in more than P10,000 in cash with you and this is stated on the Customs Declaration that you must sign. Most of the dive shops will quote you in US dollars or Euro so the peso cost will vary, but you can pay in any of the previous currencies.
  • You will get a lower rate for traveller's cheques than for cash and generally the Filipino banks will require to see your purchase receipt; many won't cash the cheques even if you have the receipt. HSBC in Cebu were however very good. Financial things are constantly changing in the Philippines, so do check for the latest information on this.
  • More "obscure" currencies such as sterling, Euros, Canadian or Australian dollars may be more difficult to change even in Cebu City! Stick to US dollars, they're easier and you generally get a better rate.
  • Most of the larger establishments will accept VISA and MasterCard, but they will often impose a 5-10% surcharge.
  • You can get cash advances from most of the ATM's in Cebu. There are Metrobank and PNB ATM's at Gaisano Grand and one at 360 Pharmacy in Moalboal and a PNB one at Eve's Kiosk on the Beach. These are limited to P10,000 per withdrawal for non-account holders; there are ATM's in Dumanhug and several in Carcar. If you're arriving by taxi it's easy to stop on the way and get solvent!
  • In Cebu there are many ATM's and there is a HSBC Global Access ETC machine at their branch opposite Ayala Centre which has a higher transaction limit. HSBC are also to be recommended for their efficiency in other dealings.

Safety

  • Over the last few years the Philippines have had a constant stream of bad press - kidnappings, political upheavals, natural disasters, terrorists, criminals, typhoons; the list goes on and on. Please bear in mind that Cebu is south of the typhoon track that hammers Samar, Leyte and Luzon many times a year. For more individual issues, the average visitor will not even hear a cross word, never mind be affected by violence or crime. If you avoid areas that have been centres of discontent and turbulence for many years, such as parts of Mindanao and the Jolo Islands between Philippines and Malaysia, you will have a delightful, peaceful and relaxing holiday. Need I add that Moalboal is a *long* way from any trouble spots?

Other

  • Bring a torch with you since tracks are not lighted. Note: mains electricity in Moalboal is nominally 230V 60 cycles but this is variable!