WHALE SHARK OSLOB, CEBU: TIPS & GUIDES
It's always on my bucket list to swim with this beast and I got to make it happen! On my recent trip to Cebu, I got a chance to do it! and here's how you can do it!
Please be reminded that this is my tip & experience as a solo backpacker. It might not suitable for you but I hope some tips do help!
How to get here?
From Cebu City, you can take public transport. Recommended to save money and to stay on budget. But the hustle is, you have to wake up early and willing to mix with the crowd.
Another tip: Stay nearby to South Bus Terminal so that you can save more money without ever getting a Grab, taxi to the bus terminal.
Southpole Central Hotel
One Central Hotel
Express Inn - Osmeña
Here is my experience ;
After resting well at Cebu City (one night), I pack my bag again heading to Oslob. I stay at a nearby hotel - Southpole Central Hotel which is 15 Minutes from walking South Bus Terminal. The reason why I chose this hotel is due to its location at the center of the area and also not that far from the bus terminal. I woke up at 5.00 am to catch the earliest bus to OSLOB which departs every 30 minutes.
Tips: Buy light breakfast at the terminal. I bought one mineral water and buns for breakfast and it will be a long journey - 4 hours to Oslob.
At the bus terminal, I use the same bus (Ceres Bus, yellow colors) but bound for Bato via Oslob. It clearly indicates in front of the bus where each bus is going to or you can double confirm with the bus agent. This time I use an air-conditioned bus, so it is comfortable for 4 hours journey.
Tips: If you have extra cash, I would recommend paying for an air-conditioned bus because Cebu heat hit differently.
Why do I wake so early? This is because the Whaleshark watching only operates from 6.00 am to 12.00 pm.
What to do after arriving there?
How you would know if you arrive at the Whaleshark watching center? Tips: When you see
a lot of cars parked near the road, half-naked tourists, and the signboard (WhaleShark Watching Here), you are at the right place. The bus will drop you at the drop-off point and immediately you will be crowded with tour agents and I choose (I forget the name, jeez) the one at the right in-front drop-off area. However, there are plenty of operators lined up there for you to choose from.
How much did it cost?
It will cost PHP 1500 which includes safety gear, boat fees, and a photographer (it is a must for me to have an underwater photographer to capture that moment). Highly recommend you choose this package for your get best shot if you are traveling alone and did not have any Go-Pro or waterproof action camera.
What are the process and experience look like?
The activity will start with Safety Briefing. Apparently, no sunblock allowed, no flash camera, no touching the shark and you have to distance yourself at least 4 meters from the shark (well, not everyone listens that day). Then afterward, you will be ready at your platform to depart to the whale shark feeding area according to your group. The time slot is only 30 minutes for me to dive and swim with the shark. So, you need to make the most of it. So, that is exactly what I did until my photographer almost gives up diving with me deeper into the ocean. They will notify you when your time is up and bring you back to the land.
Is it safe?
Well, from the name, it's a shark. So, directly we thought it would be dangerous. But don't forget the other name, whale. Overall, it is super safe, It most gentle beast in the sea! What you need to do is, LISTEN to the guide. They will que you when to dive, when not to dive and when you can move closer near the shark. I remember, there is a group of divers deep below the area monitoring the activities. Yes, it is open sea far, from the shore.
What an amazing experience! I will definitely do it again! You can have a shower afterward at the respective tour agent. After I finished cleaning up myself, I headed back to the main street where I waited for the bus (Ceres Bus Yellow the sign CEBU CITY) going back to Cebu City, like 5 hours journey, and then catch a midnight flight to Manila. I sleep at the airport while waiting for my next flight! Save more money!
OSLOB Whaleshark watching experience is one of the highlights of my trip. Give it a try and let me know your experience!