We woke up early and had some coffee before leaving the city at six in the morning. We headed to E-mall where we could catch a V-hire to Sibonga. V-hire is the term Cebuano use to refer a passenger van. The terminal is at the back of a Gas station in front of E-mall. No signs whatsoever, but there were barkers around which will direct you to the location of the van. The first trip left full as early as 6:30AM. We were able to catch the next van which immediately gets filled after 30 minutes. Our van left the City at around 7:00AM and we arrived in Simala Shrine at 7:30AM. 30 minutes early for the opening.
I was surprised about the travel time as some travel guide would show a one hour and 30 minute travel time from Southbus terminal and another 20-30 minutes habal-habal ride to the shrine. I guess the advantage of v-hire is that it’s a direct ride to Simala Shrine and it does not have a lot of pit stops to pick up or drop off passengers which takes a lot of time. Apart from that, it also eliminates the need to hire a habal-habal. One way fare is 100.00Php, I am not sure if they're operation is legal, but it seems that they are very common to local commuters and I was thankful for my cousin's suggestion that made us aware of this option.
If you wanted however to take the tourist's suggested way of commuting to Simala you need to go to the Southbus terminal and take the bus that passes by Simala. The fare according to my research is 70.00Php. Ask the conductor to drop you off at motorcycle terminal where to can take a habal-habal ride to the temple, the fare is 20 and travel time based on experience is 15-20 minutes.
Simala Shrine may take 30-40 minutes for you to stroll around then another hour if you plan to attend the mass. Note that the church has a lot of visitors during weekends and most especially during Sundays. Crowded maybe, but the discipline was there, it was serene and was very organized.
We left Simala at 10am and took a habal-habal back to the highway. We were heading back to Carcar to buy some Chicharon.
Chicharong Carcar is also a famous pasalubong that you can buy from Cebu, it is so crispy and still has some meat with it. It is such a "putok-batok" delicacy.
From Carcar rotonda we were directed by the locals to where we could catch a bus to Moalboal. Bus stops a few meters away from the chicharon store. We've waited around 30minutes before a Ceres bus stopped and off we board. The bus was full which, according to some locals is normal for this route.
We were standing on the bus for around 45minutes - maybe less but it feels that long before we're able to get a seat. There were a lot of passengers that alighted at Barili, so maybe, just maybe it can be strategic to take a multicab going here, then take a bus to Moalboal if you’re into commuting and don't want to stand for too long.
Travel time took around an hour and 30 minutes. We alighted the bus in front of Moalboal G-mall where we ate our lunch and bought some chips and water that we can take to the beach.
From the front of the mall there were tricycles you can hire going to the beach. There were I guess three beaches they mentioned - Basdaku, Panagsama, and the other one which I forgot the name. We opted to go to Basdaku because of the absence of white sand in Panagsama while the other is a place I just heard that time. The fare to Basdaku was 150.00 per tricycle and travel time is around 20-30 minutes.
Going back, we asked the driver to fetch us at the resort where he dropped us at exactly 5PM so we could catch a bus back to the city before 6PM which according to the local was the last trip of most buses from the area. A local whom I've spoken to while on the bus told me that there were also v-hire from there, but they weren't servicing that time on the terminal so we took the bus.
Travel time to the city took us 48years to travel :) just kidding! It was four hours due to the heavy traffic. The bus we caught was full yet, we boarded with the expectation that we can get a seat after a few stops which was entirely wrong. My uncle and I ended up standing until we reached Talisay - that was three hours of standing on a non-air-conditioned bus! A hell-of-a-ride and commuting-at-its-finest.
Finally, we reached the city at around 9:30PM, all dead tired, we went home to drop our things and went back out for dinner. We all thought that we had a good adventure that day and deserved a dinner treat since we were veraciously hungry, we dined at AA's BBQ place in Lahug per my cousin's suggestion. Their place was nice and has a good short order menu, you can also pick some fresh meat and seafood and asked them to cook it for you with your desired dish. Waiting time was okay for a hungry tummy and we were all happy with the food, it was delicious and fairly priced. Dinner solved :)
To sum up, Simala and Moalboal trip in one day is very tiring yet exciting one. It was very quick and short beach experience though, but if you are time constrained, then I guess it's enough - we had enough of four hours swimming anyway. This is best too if you have your own car to cut save travel time and I do not recommend doing this with the elders.