Sardine Run: What Is It & Where To Witness It?

Probably the only “fun run” where it’s not you who’s running!

Photo from Toby Kulot

Have you ever heard of the “sardine run“? Well, it’s like a massive underwater parade as billions of sardines swim along the coastline. Because of this, it’s a feast for the sharks, dolphins, seabirds, and whales as they join in for a moving buffet!

Photo from Canva

Why do Sardines Run?

Technically, sardines don’t run; they swim! But, because of the act in which they zoom or sprint fast from one area to the next, their movement has been called “running.” Why do they run? Here are the reasons:

Reproduction and Spawning

During their spawning period, pregnant sardines instinctively migrate to warmer waters to lay their eggs, as this increases the chances of their offspring’s survival. This natural behavior is a result of the sardines seeking out optimal conditions for the development of their eggs.

Temperature and Ocean Currents

Sardines are like ocean detectives, following the trail of cold ocean currents that bring up nutrient-rich waters to the surface. It’s like their own underwater buffet of plankton!

Predator Avoidance

There is strength in numbers, a principle vividly demonstrated by schools of sardines when they swim together. By doing this, they confuse some of their predators into thinking they are bigger than what they actually are.

Photo from Canva

Where to Watch the Sardine Run?

Photo from @dmluegooo

In Cebu, you can witness the beautiful and breathtaking sardine run at the seas of Moalboal! The Panagsama Beach is one of the most known areas for the phenomenon where during the rainy seasons of November to May, you’ll get to see school sardines form unbelievable shapes underwater.



  • Starting rate – Php 200.00 for the gear. Prices depend on the diving packages that you’ll avail from your chosen diving center.


Exact Location: Moalboal, Southern Cebu

  • By Bus: From Cebu South Bus Terminal, take the bus going to Bato-Barili. Once you arrive, inquire at diving centers about their packages and fees.
  • By Car: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set your destination to “Panagsama Beach Resort” in Moalboal, Cebu. Parking space is available upon arrival.
Photo from @klenotte

Have you witnessed the sardine run, Sugboanons? If so, share your experience in the comments below! 

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Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

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