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!