Swimming with the Whale Sharks at Oslob, Cebu [DIY Trip]

Another tick in my bucket list: swimming with the whale sharks or butanding! One surreal and unforgettable experience!

Oslob, for their whaleshark encounter, only made a buzz a few years back. It rose to fame within the traveling community fast because the chance of seeing them in flesh was fat.

We had to be sure it's fat. The ride from Cebu City to Brgy. Tan-Awan, Oslob was about three (3) hours long.

That entailed waking up before dawn. Caught the earliest bus ride from South Bus Terminal to Brgy. Tan-Awan at 3am sharp.

It might sound like only the bravest can do, but really it's easy. Bus conductors already know where to drop travelers looking for this kind of adventure. 

We stopped at MB's Sunrise View Resort. After paying fees (Php 300 for whale shark watching/ Php 500 for swimming plus Php 100 resort fees), they took us by boat to the Briefing Center where do's and don'ts were discussed. Of the few that I could remember were:

  • Each group's allowed 30 mins of watching or swimming 
  • Distance from the whale shark should be 4 meters 
  • No flash photography as they're sensitive to light
  • No to sunscreens
oslob swimming with whalesharks
Road sign so as not to get lost.
After the reminders, we went back again to the boat to wear our life vest and hola! All aboard to swim with the whale sharks! The interaction area was pretty near the shore. 

oslob whale shark adventure
Not that far, right?
Once within, it didn't take long for us to meet the gentle giants. The moment I saw baby butanding (because I was still on the boat), I wanted to jump at once. Thirty minutes was just too short and I had to relish every moment. Seeing them on the boat was different from sharing the same water-space with them. Like, whoah!

oslob whaleshark DIY itinerary
Hello there, baby!
Submerged in water, it was kind of scary at first. I wanted to verify and recall my science lesson. Really, they don't eat humans? Once I'm sane, every time it's near, I'm awestruck though they smell fishy! I can't get over its breathing gills, too. And, my symbiotic relationship lesson was coming all over again. What do we call those freeloaders, again?

oslob cebu butanding
Up close and personal!
Of course, we cannot let this moment pass without pictures. The boatman and his assistant took us one by one for the photo-opp. The harsh process goes like this: they'd push us underwater (with or without life vest), then we'd strike a pose. I was afraid of trying it without my life vest on in my first few shots. But for precious moment's sake, I mustered everything for that, as kuya said, "perfect profile pic."

So here were my attempts for a selfie with baby butanding:

oslob swimming with whaleshark selfie
Look at my stunt with kuya! hahaha
oslob swimming with whaleshark groufie
Now for a groufie!
oslob whaleshark experience
Better without the lifevest on. Hahaha
I keep on saying 'what an experience!' I hope that by enjoying them in the flesh no serious harm's done. It would be great if future generations will still be able to marvel at this wonder. 

P.S. Whale shark watching is until 1pm only. The usual side trip after that is in Tumalog Falls, but we took a different course, in Sumilon. Enjoy reading!

Here's our travel itinerary to Oslob, Cebu.

2:30-3:00 AM Hotel to South Bus Terminal (Ceres) Php150.00
3:00-6:00 AM South Bus Terminal to Brgy. Tan-Awan via Ceres Bus (Non-aircon) Php150.00
6:01 onwards Sunview Hotel Registrtation Php100.00
(use of facilities such as shower and 'locker' included
Whale Shark Watching Php500.00
Add-ons: Underwater cam rental Php550.00
1:00-2:00PM Side-Trip:
Sumilon: (Free area only)/ Boat rental Php2,000.00
2:01-4:30PM Ceres bus to Cebu City (aircon) Php155.00
                                                                        TOTAL:  Php3,605.00
                                                        *Plus food and tip