In this photo, I was swimming with whale sharks at 40-foot deep water; my boatman took this photo.Swimming with whale sharks was one of the main reasons why I travelled to South Cebu. In fact, if challenged by tight schedules, I was more than willing to cross some other activities out from my itinerary to ensure my whale shark experience. That’s how I was dying to see these gentle giant sea creatures.
My whale shark encounter in Oslob was a breeze, mainly because I subscribed the tour package offered to me by Luzmin-BH – the place where I stayed. I was just fetched by my tour guide (who was also my driver) at 6:00 AM and brought to the whale shark watching center. That was the reason why I was already there as early as 6:30 AM. He walked me through all the process for me to secure a slot.
So, how was my experience? My whale shark encounter was one of the most fun and worth-remembering experiences I have had. I mean, getting up close with these gentle sea giants made me realize how beautiful our planet is, and why we should take good care of it. It has made me to appreciate nature more.
Some things worth-noting when swimming with whale sharks
If ever this activity is part of your South Cebu travel, and in case you DIY, here are some things that are worthy to take note:
- Be there early to avoid long queue as there are lots of tourists flocking the area (we are talking about a thousand of tourists accommodated in a single day here); the area is open as early as 6:00 AM (even earlier, they say); going early can also spare you from getting sunburned.
- You need to undergo a mandatory orientation (about 10-15 minutes) educating you about the do’s and dont’s of the activity; they give some trivia about whale sharks as well
- The rate is 500 pesos per person, inclusive of life vest and snorkeling gear; foreign tourists pay higher (
please don’t ask me why is that so; I was not able to ask, sorryplease check the rate below)
- The use of sunblock is strictly prohibited (but I wonder how they ensure that no one is actually using it, with the number of tourists they cater to in a day..but of course, be a responsible traveler…follow the rules)
- You are given 30-minute rendezvous with these harmless sea giants; they start clocking you the moment you plunge into the water where the whale sharks are.
- You have the option to rent an action cam there for 550 pesos (inclusive of image transfer to phone and CDs) or bring your own action camera (they impose some charges on this as well)
Here’s the thing about why I chose to rent an action cam from them despite the price. First, I didn’t (and still don’t) have an action cam. Secondly, I wanted to have some decent underwater photos (who knows? That could be my first and last time with whale sharks). And lastly, I wanted to cherish my precious little time with these wonderful sea creatures while somebody taking some photos of me (the boatmen assigned to me were nice); they doubled as my underwater photographers and they were handling me professionally – gave instructions and followed my routine just to capture good images.)
- After an action-packed encounter with whale sharks, you can take a shower to wash away the salt water (yes, there are showers installed by the shore – and it’s free to use them)
Take a look at some of the photos of my whale shark encounter:
Oslob whale shark watching rates
- Whale shark watching only + life jacket = Php 300
- Swimming with the whale shark + life jacket + snorkeling gear = Php 500
- Swimming with the whale shark + life jacket + snorkeling gear = Php 1,000
Action cam (GoPro) rental = Php 550
How to get to Oslob from Cebu City
- At the South Bus Terminal, hop on a Ceres Bus with route Bato via Oslob
- Disembark at the Whale Shark Watching Center/Briefing Area in Barangay Tan-awan, Oslob (just tell the bus conductor, they know the area quite well)
- The Whale Shark Watching/Briefing Area is just near the highway (about 20 meters from the road)