Has swimming with whalesharks been a dream of yours? Well, your dream might just come true in the small, unassuming town of Oslob, Cebu.
This quiet fishing town has recently boomed in popularity, making it home to interacting with whalesharks. It all started when the local fishermen from a small village called Tan-awan started feeding these gentle giants. After that, the amazing creatures never left to continue on their regular migratory route.
After being featured in worldwide news in November 2011, tourism has boomed in this small little fishing town. And, although there is much controversy behind changing their natural patterns, swimming with the whalesharks is an incredible experience.
You can both snorkel or opt to dive with these gentle giants. Feeding time only happens until noon, so make sure you get there early! Although harmless, it is pretty scary and exhilarating swimming next to creatures as large as a bus!
Places to Stay in Oslob?
Although there are lot of hotels in Oslob town proper, your best bet would be to look in Tan-awan, where the whale sharks are being fed. A fan room would normally cost P800-P1000 while airconditioned rooms are priced at P1,500-2,000. In order to help support local tourism, I highly suggest local home stays (a lot of them don’t have websites so just walk around and ask!). This is great for backpackers as homestays normally allow you to cook and use their kitchen. It is also a lovely way to get to know the locals.
On a Budget:
- New Village Lodge – Set in Oslob, New Village Lodge is within easy driving distance of Santander and Alcoy. It also provides an airport shuttle, room service and a tour desk. There are a range of amenities available to those staying at the hotel, including wireless internet access in public areas, a designated smoking area and a laundry service. Pets are also welcome. P1000/ Quad sharing (shared bathroom).
- Milla’s Inn- There are a variety of amenities at the hotel that guests have access to, including a designated smoking area and parking. Milas Inn provides cosy rooms, designed to suit the requirements of any traveller. P1000 Triple sharing/fan room.
- Germaroze Guesthouse – Offering an airport shuttle, a tour desk and wireless internet access in public areas, Germaroze Guesthouse is situated in Oslob and provides comfortable accommodation. The hotel has a laundry service, a designated smoking area and parking.
P1300 Aircondition room.
- Sascha’s Lodge Oslob- Offering an outdoor pool, Sascha’s Lodge Oslob is located in oslob. Free WiFi access is available. Each room here will provide you with a TV, air conditioning and a terrace. You can also book online via agoda or booking.com.
Things to do in Oslob:
- Swim with whale sharks – The prices are regulated by the local government and are different for locals and foreigners. The feeding area is actually just a couple of meters away from the beach (it’s so close,
that you can actually swim there!)
Prices as of 2015:
- Watching (1 ticket is good for 30 mins)
Php 300.00 – Local guest (inclusive boat ride)
Php 500.00 – Foreign guest (inclusive boat ride)
- Snorkeling (1 ticket is good for 30 mins)
Php 500.00 – Local guest (inclusive boat ride and snorkeling gear)
Php 1, 000. 00 – Foreign guest (inclusive boat ride and snorkeling gear)
- Scuba Diving (1 ticket is good for 1 hour)
Php 600.00 – Local guest (diving gears are not included)
Php 1, 500. 00 – Foreign guest (diving gears are not included)
- Tamalob Waterfalls – These water falls are stunning! The pool is lovely to swim in and is a refreshing break from the sun. The surroundings are also lush and tropical, making it a perfect place to unwind after an adrenaline filled morning.
How to get to Oslob:
From Cebu City: Ride a bus to Oslob at Cebu South Bus Terminal. The terminal is beside Elizabeth Mall, or E Mall, as the locals call it. Don’t worry about getting on the wrong bus because there will be boards displayed clearly to guide you which bus goes where. If you want to be sure, the guards and staffs are friendly and will be more than happy to offer assistance.
Where to next?
- Moal Boal – A few hours away by bus ride. Famed island for its excellent diving, and most recently, home to one of the largest sardine shoals where you can swim and dive with millions and millions of sardines. It is an incredible experience.
Author Bio: Anna Faustino is one of our SEA Ambassadors and together with Tom Rogers, her partner in crime, they run the travel blog Adventure in You. Together, they have traveled through different parts of South East Asia and are now currently on a mission to travel Europe while on an extreme budget. Brought together by our love for silly dance moves, good food, and discovering new cultures, they’re on a mission to go have as many adventures around the world as they possibly can.