This is the continuation of our South Cebu-Negros Oriental excursion way back in December 2016.
We had an adrenaline-pumping adventure at Kawasan Falls. It was my second time but it was as exhilarating as the first time, if not, even more so. From Badian, we proceeded to the next part of our South Cebu itinerary, Oslob. This adventure is beginning to look like my previous 2016 South Cebu itinerary (although I did copy it haha). Other than pre-booking our Kawasan adventure, all parts of our itinerary are shrouded in uncertainty. And that includes our accommodation at Oslob.
We hired a mini-jeep to take us to Oslob. It was already dark when we reached the quaint coastal town. We were scrambling to look for a place to stay as we didn’t do any advance reservation. After numerous negotiations, we were able to find a place to stay. Unlike the year before, there were more accommodations available to adventurers and travelers in Barangay Tanawan, where the famed whale shark interaction is located.
Due to exhaustion, we all crashed out early whilst reliving the adventures of the day. My friends had an early wakeup call as they plan to go to the church; it was a Simbang Gabi tradition. I was still sleepy when the headed out in the darkness. Haha. I was still sleepy when they returned an hour or two later. But I had to wake up my weary body cells for our morning excursion – interacting with the gentle giants of the deep blue sea.
Changing into the proper gear, we prepared early expecting that there would be an influx of visitors. It was rightly founded as a crowd has already gathered around the orientation area. The whale shark interaction usually opens at around 6AM and ends at 10 AM. But due to the growing numbers of visitors, the interaction time has been expanded to beyond 12 noon.
We were one of the first ones at the orientation area; fortunately, our accommodation lies next to the orientation area after all. With the morning light giving the place a shape, I’ve noticed how the once-sleepy barangay has drastically transformed into a fledgling enterprise. The orientation, which was once very informative and open for discussion have become very rushed. It wasn’t simply about going through the motions but rather more on accommodating more.
Perhaps it is the same reason why the viewing time is extended as well? I don’t want to posit anything but something is wrong somewhere. I can’t help but shrug my head at these small realizations.
Leaving my apprehensions behind at the shore, we boarded the catamaran fishing boat that is going to take us to the viewing site a couple of meters off the coast. As far as this part of the system goes, nothing much has changed. There were already boats at the viewing area. Some carried visitors while some carried fishermen who were feeding the sharks. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to draw a picture on how this interaction site operates. It is no wonder it keeps getting the ire of the environmentalists.
Unfazed, we pushed through with our excursion. This is my companion’s first time to enjoin in an activity such as this so I opted not to dampen their spirits. Convincing them to remove their life vests was a challenge as most are afraid of the deep water. With our guide’s prodding and fervent persuasion, they made their way down to the water. The guides were doing an amazing job of helping my companions swim in the deep blue.
A quick peek into the waters is enough to witness the marvel that is underneath the cerulean waters. The whale sharks are the biggest animals out there. A full-sized whale shark can grow to as large as a regular bus. A misnomer, they are not technically sharks, and they don’t prey on their fellow sea creatures but rather they rely on sea planktons to nourish them. This is the reason why they earned the moniker as gentle giants. However, most of the whale sharks we saw are still young who are swimming freely to where the tides take them, or where their fins direct them to. Or are they?
One by one, my friends and I had our pictures with the whale sharks be taken. Again, it was an amazing spectacle to say the least. How often do you find yourself in the company of such creatures? But on the surface, something rippled – the commerciality, the artifice. It debilitated me, it made me heart broken. Somehow, there was something that didn’t feel natural at all.
For a moment, I buried my thoughts to enjoy the present as my friends were ecstatic. They kept on complaining as they were aghast at the idea of swimming on the open waters. They thought that the whale shark interaction in Oslob is similar to Manila Ocean Park. It made me crack up! Really. I’m incredulous at how sparingly my friends researched on the activities we are going to do for our trip. I guess I am partly at fault too as I didn’t give them any idea.
Our interaction with the whale sharks lasted for 30 minutes, the allotted time per boat. After our time was up, we went back to the shore. The first order of things: have breakfast. We called for Precious to join us; she didn’t participate in the whale shark interaction because she deemed the whole thing unethical; I can’t blame her.
Post-breakfast, we prepared our things for our trip going back to Cebu City later in the day as our friend’s wedding is set on the day after.
Whew. More memories have been formed in the waters of Oslob and more is about to be formed in the coming days. Do look forward as I relate the rest of our Cebu adventures. For now, happy travels!
Reminders for everyone who want to try the Oslob whale shark interaction.
- Do NOT use sunscreen as the creatures are sensitive to chemicals.
- Do NOT touch the whale sharks. When they swim close to you, swim away. At all cost, do not kick them.
- Do NOT dive into the water. Diving creates bubbles. Whale sharks are attracted to bubbles.
- Leave no trace.
- Go in early to avoid the sun.
- Attend the orientation and pay the necessary fees.
You can learn other practicalities by checking out my first Oslob experience. Just click here.
We dove with whale sharks in Koh Tao and then again in Maldives. What a great experience! Great story!
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Indeed, it is a great experience. A lot of places in the Philippines are opening up for whale shark interaction as the waters around my country are conducive for them. 🙂