Encounter the Gentle Giants: Oslob Whale Shark Watching
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Located in the southern tip of Cebu Island, Oslob offers a plethora of attractions, including whale shark interaction, Sumilon Island, and Tumalog Falls.
Tan-awan village, just 10km from Oslob town centre, is a perfect spot to see and swim with these majestic creatures, making for a truly unforgettable experience.
When to go to Olsob:
The best time to visit depends on your preferences.
High season is from December to May, with Christmas, New Year and Easter being the busiest times. The low season and rainy season runs from June to November.
However, whale sharks can be spotted year-round.
For a more peaceful experience, it’s best to visit on weekdays when there are fewer crowds.
Getting to Oslob
From Cebu City
To get to Oslob from Cebu, you can take a bus or hire a private car. Buses depart from Cebu South Bus Terminal and take approximately 3-4 hours to reach Oslob. The fare is around 200-300 PHP (4-6 USD) per person. Alternatively, you can hire a private car or van for a more comfortable and convenient ride.
You can take a ferry to Liloan, Santander, which is about 30 minutes away from Oslob by bus or private car. The ferry ride takes approximately 30-45 minutes and the fare is around 70-100 PHP (1.5-2 USD) per person. From Liloan, you can take a bus or hire a private car to reach Oslob.
Controversial Tourism Attraction
The whale shark interaction in Tan-awan village attracts a large number of tourists every day. However, this activity is controversial as the sharks are hand-fed, which can alter their behavior and negatively impact the ecosystem, according to many scientists.
For those seeking a more natural experience, the whale shark interaction programs in Donsol may be preferable.
Despite the controversy, the tourism industry in Oslob provides benefits to the local community and ensures that the sharks remain alive, rather than ending up as dead fins in storage facilities across Asia.
Swimming with Whale Sharks
The experience of interacting with whale sharks typically begins early in the morning, where visitors receive a quick briefing before boarding outrigger boats that take them to the interaction area located around 50 meters from shore. Once there, visitors are allowed to swim with the whale sharks for a limited time of 30 minutes and are required to adhere to strict rules that include no touching, no riding, no flash photography, and keeping a safe distance of at least 2 meters away from the sharks.
Diving with whale sharks is also possible at an additional surcharge. Visitors who are certified divers can explore the underwater world and swim alongside these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, creating an even more unforgettable experience.
Whale sharks are the largest species of fish, known to grow up to 12 meters in length, yet despite their enormous size, they pose no danger to humans. These docile creatures are slow-moving and feed only on tiny micro-organisms. Swimming alongside these gentle giants is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Beyond Whale Sharks: Exploring Cebu's Natural Wonders and Adventure Activities
In addition to the whale shark experience, there are other activities that visitors can enjoy to further enhance their trip.
Sumilon Island, for example, is a stunning coralline island surrounded by a fringing coral reef. The marine sanctuary off Sumilon Island is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved in the Philippines, with a 100-meter wide fringing reef and sharp drop-off down to depths of 30 meters. This makes it perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking.
Kawasan Falls, on the other hand, is a series of three waterfalls, with the largest cascade dropping an impressive 20 meters into a massive swimming hole. Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls is considered one of Cebu’s most extreme adventures.
Another must-visit attraction is Tumalog Falls, located just a 10-minute drive from Oslob. This breathtaking waterfall features an impressive swimming hole surrounded by imposing cliffs, making it an ideal spot for a refreshing dip.