I went to Oslob, Cebu with a friend and her family last year. The itinerary? To swim with the whale sharks. I never even knew such tourist attraction/activity is available in the country until my friend told me about it. So when she asked if I would go for it, I didn’t even think twice.
We took the flight from Manila to Cebu. From Cebu we took a bus (at Cebu South Bus Terminal) to Oslob. Bus fare was around P150+ and travel time was about 3-4 hours, if I remember it right.
In Oslob, we rented a room in the family-owned Oslob Malonzo Pension House. My friend booked it through Agoda for P2000+ a night. The room was okay, not too fancy but not too shabby either. It was not that big but it was spacious enough for the four of us. There were two single beds, a double deck bed, a table, and a couple of chairs. The bathroom was nice. There were cable channels on TV. The room was located on the first floor of the building with a mini-veranda where one can relax.
The following day we rented a mini-van to take us to the whale sharks area. The owner of the place helped us arranged it. We left the pension house around 5 a.m. and arrived at the area around 6 a.m. We were only asked to pay P80 each so it was already a bargain.
The area was already crowded with tourists when we arrived. We signed up for the activity and then sat down for the required orientation, which lasted about 10 minutes. We were given the do’s and dont’s when in the water with the whale sharks. For the activity, we had to pay P500 each, free use of snorkeling equipment and life vest. But if you prefer to stay on the boat and just watch the sharks then you pay less.
There were six of us in the boat: me, my friend and her family, and the two boatmen. Getting from the shore to where the whale sharks were gathered only took several minutes. The activity follows a strict time limit so we jumped into the water with life vests on as soon as the boatmen told us we’re good to go.
We aren’t excellent swimmers so we stayed near the boat and would occasionally lower ourselves into the water to watch the whale sharks when they’re near. The boatmen also stayed in the water to assist us, in case we needed it. They even helped us take pictures or hold on to us when we wanted to go near the whale sharks.
The whole encounter only lasted 30 minutes. Then we got out of the water and headed for the shore. It was short, I agree, but so worth it.
Overall, it was such a fun experience, something I’ll remember for a long long time. If you haven’t tried it yet then I urge you to consider it. You won’t regret it, believe me. Just the thought of being in the water with these massive creatures is already enough to convince yourself to go there and say hello to these gentle giants of the sea.