Oslob, Cebu: A Humbling Experience to Swim with the Whale Sharks

Oslob is one of the municipalities in the province of Cebu, Philippines. This is the only place in the world where you can swim with whale sharks anytime of the year. There is something so majestic about the ocean and what lives within it. It’s a whole other world. Despite their intimidating name, whale sharks are some of the friendliest giants that live in the sea.

Whale Sharks is a sheltered species in the Philippines and Under Republic Act 9147, an Act for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and habitats in the Philippines, it is definitely illegal to harass them. So we better be responsible to comply with the guidelines in the activity area.

The story behind the trending “Swim with the Whale Sharks” Adventure

Generations ago, the fishermen would throw baits into the water to catch fish but then the whale sharks would end up eating their baits. So what these fishermen did, they would throw away the bait farther to divert the whale sharks. But then, later on, the whale sharks would keep coming back to the fishermen’s bait and eat it. So this happens for generations and generations ago.

There’s an NGO (non-governmental organization)that actually takes care and protects the whale sharks in Oslob. LAMAUVE, these people have been in Oslob for years already to monitor the compliance of interaction regulations. They have taken care of 600 whale sharks just in Oslob. Imagine how many whale sharks are there? The fishermen have been feeding them for generations. They have created a livelihood for these fishermen too. The tours they have here for this activity are pretty respectable when it comes to eco-system and to the animals as well.

When you go swim with the whale sharks, they’re about 8 to 10 whale sharks that actually go to the same place every day from 9 am to 12nn. They will conduct a 10-20 minutes orientation before starting the activity. It is really important to follow and cooperate with the tourism for the rules and regulations before starting to swim with the whale sharks.

I am in complete awe, humbled by the opportunity to share the same waters with the 60 million-year-old species.

Whale Sharks Interaction in Oslob and its Controversy

It has been the most talked about matter since it started the craze. Some people don’t support this activity, while some happen to be enjoying the rare adventure. It became very controversial because most people don’t abide the interaction code and conduct. Many tourists breach the guidelines given during the thorough briefings, and sadly they are not penalized.

How to get to Oslob, Cebu

Fly with Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia daily between Manila and Cebu

When you’re coming from Cebu City, you can head to the South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres bus going to Bato via Liloan. Just don’t forget to tell the conductor to drop you off at Brgy. Tan-awan in Oslob for the Whale Shark watching just along the highway. The trip would take about 3 hours. Bus fair would cost you around Php 150-200.

When you’re from Dumaguete going to Oslob, look for multi-cabs to Sibulan Port. Ride a ferry or fastcraft to Liloan. At Liloan port, board a Ceres bus going to Cebu City and tell the conductor to drop you off at Oslob Shark Watching just along the highway.

It’s such a wonderful experience, a tick off my bucket list. I was scared at first, but the old saying were true, that when you’re already there you just have to go for it. After all, they don’t bite.

Fees in Whale Shark Watching in Oslob

Local Tourists

Includes Whale watching in the boat with no swimming, with life jacket, costs Php300
Includes Snorkeling with Whale Sharks with life jacket, costs Php500

Foreign Tourists

Includes Snorkeling with Whale Sharks with life jacket, costs Php1000

Whale Sharks Watching in Oslob lasts for 30 minutes only and available daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm only.

A quick tip: Go early as you can because there are so many people hungry for the experience as you do too. Safe travels!

Cebu, Philippines: The Queen City of the South

Indulging in the cultures and places the world has to offer are some of my greatest joys. It is where I find serenity, self-discoveries and the introduction of change in one’s psyche, which I won’t be able to find in my daily life living in my comfort zone.

Join me as I go around in the most luxurious City in the Philippines. Cebu City is a province of the Philippines in the Central Visayas Region. It’s an island consisting of more or less than 150 smaller surroundings islands and islets. The City is well-known to be the “Queen City of the South” since then, because of its vast potential in terms of tourism, economy, infrastructures, and history. The City is situated on the mid-eastern side of Cebu Island. In the history, it is the first Spanish settlement and considered the Philippines’ oldest city, which made it the first capital of the Philippines, long enough before it was changed to “Manila”. There language is known as “Bisaya, Binisaya or Sugbuanon”, Cebuano speakers are so-called “Cebuano”

Fasten your seat belts because we are leaving faster than Indiana Jones just to see the top tourist spots in Cebu City.

I booked my ticket four months before my travel date. I got it for only 1,800 Php back and forth, quite a good deal, traveling from Kalibo – Cebu – Iloilo. My greatest tool is the internet; it’s very convenient and easy to follow, plus you can search anywhere as long as you have mobile data. Google has everything and it’s my best friend because why not? Got my ticket, tried the self – service check in to get my boarding pass and paid my terminal fee then proceeded to the lounge area. There are several ways to get into Cebu City. If you’re coming from different countries, you can drop by Manila, the capital of the Philippines and fly to Cebu City. Just check and arrange with your chosen airlines.

Luckily my sister got me a transient room in her apartment so I paid for less than I expected. With so much happiness I treated her in Dessert Factory, Ayala Center Cebu, the food was tasty and delicious.

Top Tourist Spots in Cebu City

1. Crown Regency Hotel and Towers

On my first night, I headed to Crown Regency Hotel to try the most talked about “Sky Walk Adventure”. Overlooking Cebu from 430 feet up (the highest tower in the city) was a different kind of thrill. It was really scary at first, but I had a really great first night in the city. I had to pose like a pro though.

Skywalk cost 400 Php per person, 100 Php deposit for the wristband, they will be refunded after use. Hard copy of the photo cost 150 Php per photo (yes, you gotta pay for it for a remembrance)

2. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Formerly Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Guardian Angels. The church was one of the first churches in the Philippine history, built in April 1565.

I started my first new day by attending a mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, lit candles and prayed to the Holy Guardian Angels which is their titular and patron Immaculate Conception. Always a good start to my every travel is to drop by and give thanks to the Almighty Father.

3. Fort San Pedro

Known as Fuerte de San Pedro, a military defense structure in Cebu built by the Spanish under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Located at the Pigafetta Street, I entered the premises to feed my hungry mind about the history of the City.  The place will definitely make you feel nostalgic about the Philippine history and I’m honored that I got to see the whole place and made a memory for a little while. Entrance fee: Regular 30Php, Senior 24Php, Students, and Children 20Php

4. Magellan’s Cross

One of the most historical landmarks that are a must see when in the City. The Cross of Magellan is a popular tourist attraction in the middle of the busy Magellan Street. The paintings on the ceilings with a scene depicting the landing of Magellan in Cebu, the vibrant colors, the structure and the devotees who would drop coins or put lighted candles at the foot of the cross. Seeing all those things made me really happy.
5. Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

Commonly known as Basilica del Sto Nino, the mother, and head of all churches in the Philippines. It was founded in the1565, located at Osmena Boulevard. The moment I stepped on inside I felt goosebumps and security. It is a very nice place to be when in Cebu. I lit a candle, offered a prayer for my petitions and made a wish.

6. Tops Lookout

My sister and I decided to have a late night adventure, so we went to see Tops Lookout; the beautiful scenery during the night in Cebu. This relaxing spot is found in Barangay Malubog, Busay, Cebu City. This is one of the most overrated tourist spots in the City. We rode a habal-habal (motorcycle) from the center of the City going to Tops which took us 45 minutes travel. The route can be just as fun as riding a roller coaster. The moment you feel your ride is starting to go uphill then you know you’re going the right way.

The main ground is decorated by concretes in hexagon form and withered Bermuda grasses. The covered resting place and eating area are wonderfully made by big concrete stones and designed in curves and circles.

They also have a bar, snack bar, and souvenir shops. From Tops you can witness the breathtaking view of the whole City, you can even see the Crown Regency Hotel and Towers. There’s not much fun to do but take photos of the City lights, but a really good place to reflect, plan or simply think about life and how lovely it is in Cebu. This place made my heart melt like hundred times and the reason why I want to go back. Entrance 100 Php, Habal-habal 250 Php

Tip: Bring some gum along with you. As you go higher, you’ll need something to pop your ears.

7. Tuslob Buwa

The next morning, I went to Coner of Katambisan Village, Central Nautical Highway, Catmon, Cebu to try out the Restaurant named Tuslob Buwa in Azul. “Tuslob Buwa” means to dip in bubbles. It is one of Cebu’s exotic street treats. The local dip is made of pig brain, oil, fish sauce, onions, shrimp paste and all other assorted flavorings.

I  got to enjoy this experience because you’ll cook your own Tuslob Buwa, they serve it straight from the wok paired with Puso (cooked rice wrapped in coconut leaves). After you cooked your own Tuslob Buwa, you gotta dip your Puso and start digging in.

8. Taoist Temple

Looking for some quiet time I headed to Taoist Temple located in the wealthy Beverly Hills residential enclave in the suburb of Lahug. It is said to the home of many Filipino-Chinese millionaires and the Taoist Temple was built by them and some donations. This cultural center of the Chinese with its dragon paintings, altars, and statues of the Buddha harmonizes with beautiful pagoda roofs.

There is also a beautiful view of the city from this mesmerizing place. For me, the Taoist Temple is one of the highlights of my Cebu travel because I had the time to meditate and pray.

Cebu City has been my favorite travel destination. I honestly haven’t explored the whole City at all but that would be a reason to always come back, in the Queen City of the South.

 

 

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