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Swimming with the Whale Sharks in Oslob Cebu

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

I was up and awake early in the morning for another mission as an Ambassador, and that is “finally” meeting the whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu Philippines.

I’ve been living here in Cebu for almost a decade now and never have actually roamed around Cebu or at least come over and see what’s with this talked about whale sharks in Oslob. To think a lot of people from around the world spend thousands just to be here and get to do swimming with the whales.

I’ve meet up with my host, Roger at the South Bus terminal in Cebu city around 6am but since we preferred to ride the air-conditioned bus we have to wait around 7am. Luckily, the first round was not full yet so we get to ride but we’re on the last row, the butt part of the bus.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

It took us about 3-4 hours to get to Oslob, luckily I have my phone and mobile internet to check my emails, chat on Facebook and listening to music during these hours. Though I feel secure, since I’m with the two (2) gentlemen I did not get to sleep since it’s too bouncy on our spot – I don’t recommend sitting there. But our Korean seatmates slept well.

There are a lot of resorts to choose from when you get there, there’s actually a resort that the bus may drop you but do feel free to go to other resorts since they all offer same price when you want to do swimming with the whales or dive with them.

I suggest you go directly to the government resort since there are restaurants there, and anyway you’ll need to go there before going to the whales since you’ll need an orientation.

So, we chose the most quiet resort that we can find and after paying for the fees we changed our clothes and went to the area where the fishermen guides will pick us up.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

The one in the middle is the WithLocals host, Roger and the other guy is his friend John. I'm so happy that Roger got his own GoPro Hero camera, since I can't take my DSLR with me out there.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

Here's what we're looking at. The ones that you're seeing that seems like small islets, they're actually boats with tourists - Roger took the photo while I was trying to fix my hair.

Few minutes later, the guides called us up to go down.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

The official fishermen guides of the government are the ones wearing blue shirt. If you don't know how to get into the boat or what we call "banka", no worries the guides are very helpful and kind to assist you.

They won't bring you right away to the whale sharks, since you must take the short orientation by the government employees to ensure your safety and the whale sharks. Do take time to listen since any violations can send you to jail.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

 Say hello to the Korean girl! (photo above on the right lower corner)

It took me a while to get the courage to jump into the waters since it was windy that day and the waves are a bit big. So when I jumped, this is (somewhat) my view.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

I'm saying "somewhat" since this is Roger's view but this is somewhat my view right away after I jumped. Can you imagine my feeling? I swim my way up and told the guide that the whale shark is to near me. They said that it's okay if they're the ones touching you, as long as you're not intentionally touching them - I don't want to go to jail.

The guide told me that I should not use the life jacket since I know how to swim but since I'm not that experienced, I don't trust myself so I wore it!

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

I keep on holding on to the banka, and the guide wants me to experience letting go of the banka so he just keep on holding on to me, even though I'm wearing the life jacket.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

The guide suggested that I use it the life jacket as a floater, or just hold on to it so I can look deeper. So I got the courage to do it, and just use my left arm to hold on.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

Oh yes! Love this shot!

As the guide noticed that I'm starting to get comfortable and want to dive a bit to see the whales, he suggest to throw the life jacket into the boat and promised that he'll look at me all the time to make sure I won't drown. So I did!!

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

Thanks to kuya for holding on to me. Making sure I'm safe and making sure I enjoyed my time swimming with the whale sharks.

As you start getting comfortable, you'll be able to see and appreciate the view more, the view of the whale shark and the fishes following them around.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

How to get there?

Go to the Cebu City South Bus terminal, take a bus going to Oslob – feel free to choose between the open air or air-conditioned bus but I suggest go for the air-conditioned since it’s a lot safer and less stops, since the open air is preferred by the locals because it’s cheaper.

Just tell the bus conductor that you’ll stop at Oslob, tell them to drop you there. They usually issue tickets about 30 minutes after the bus left the terminal, then collects the payments about 30 minutes later.

You’ll know that you’ve arrived or near if you’re starting to see this sign.


The Total Expenses

Roger’s experience offered in the WithLocals website includes a trip to Moalboal with an overnight stay. But I squeeze it all to one day since I don’t want to take too much of his time. Let me give you Roger’s rate.

2D1N South Cebu Tour Experience Highlights:
  • Swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob
  • Trip to Moalboal
  • Trekking to Kawasan Falls
Inclusions: Entrance fees, Meals, Snacks, Bus Transport, Overnight stay
Price: $88.40/person


But then if you insist on just going for the swimming with the whale sharks, here are their rates.

Swimming with the Whales – P500/person
Diving with the Whales – P1,500/person

Note: I believe the snorkel is included. I forgot the fare for the bus, but it’s lower than P200 I think it was around P170. Sorry, forgot to write it down.

I’ll try to update the post once I get to roam around the south area of Cebu again, so hopefully I’ll be able to update you with the exact fare for the bus. The meals there goes around from 150 to 250 and the taste can pass. Our meal was about P300/head since we had drinks – mango shake for me!




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Gay Aida Dumaguing (a.k.a. G) is a 29 years old Filipina traveler and food lover from Cebu Philippines who makes a living online as a SEO specialist, Social Media Manager, and Brand Ambassador. Follow her on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

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