Getting to Oslob from Dumaguete
We awoke before six in the morning, and we were out of the hotel door just a bit after six. We took a tricycle to get to Sibulan port. Along the way, we saw the Claytown pottery shops, another attraction in Dumaguete. Albeit the stores were closed, you can see the crafts along the road. In about fifteen minutes, we reached Sibulan port.
We were headed to Oslob, a town where sightings of whale sharks (aka butanding) were made in the past couple of years. To get there, we needed to ride a ferry from Sibulan port to Brgy. Liloan in Cebu, then ride a tricycle from Brgy. Liloan to Oslob proper.
So, we did just that. The boat ride was short, about fifteen minutes. The tricycle ride felt a tad longer than that of the boat (though it’s roughly just fifteen minutes too).
Swimming with the Whale Sharks
The tricycle driver brought us to a resort that also offers tours. 500 pesos per person was the flat rate if you plan on swimming with the whale sharks. If you plan to just sit on the boat, you only pay 300 pesos. I think the prices double if you are a foreigner. We also paid for the resort stay, which cost 70 per head.
We then changed into our swimsuits. Word of caution: you might want to wear something more conservative, since you’d have to walk along the highway (not the shore!) to get to the briefing area. There, someone will orient you about the do’s and don’t’s during your whale shark encounter. The most important things I remember was that we shouldn’t apply sunblock, and that we should be at least a few meters away from the butanding.
Soon, we were off to swim with the whale sharks! We boarded a paddle boat to bring us to the area, then we put our snorkels on, and removed our life vests, and jumped into the water!
Here and there were these friendly creatures! There was nothing else to feel except awe, given their good nature despite the seemingly scary exterior.
At first, I was hesitant to let go of my hold on the boat. After all, we were at the open sea. Yet, I wanted to take a closer look at the butanding. Sure enough, I did just that and swam with these gentle giants. However, when I saw one of them gulp such big amount of water, my terror made me swim hastily back to the boat.
This meet and greet lasted for just about 45 minutes. We’ve been lucky with our generous boat men – the encounter should only last half an hour. In the end, we all had fun! It was another great adventure 🙂
Before I end this post, here are a few tips:
1. Go there on a weekday, and be there early. There are fewer people, so there’s more time for you and the whale shark.
2. Bring your own snorkel. Sure, it’s bulky, but if you have one, bring it. The ones they lend are crappy, and you’d want the best snorkel to make the most out of your adventure.
3. Wear a rashguard, or some conservative swimming attire. One, it’s to embarrassing to walk along the streets in skimpy clothing. Two, it’s not allowed to wear sunblock, so it’s best to protect your skin.
4. Make sure to bring an underwater camera! Capture those memories – it’s nice to look at them afterwards!
|Oslob Sightseeing Expenses (group of 5)||PHP|
|Tricycle to Sibulan Port||100|
|Pumpboat to Brgy. Liloan||225|
|Tricycle to Oslob (round trip)||500|
|Snorkeling with the Whale Shark||2500|
|Tumalog Waterfall entrance**||100|
|Ferry to Sibulan Port||310|
|Tricycle to Dumaguete||120|
|Cost per Head||1241|
*Our food expenses are excluded here, as I believe that individual preferences vary greatly when it comes to this.
**Will talk about this on my next post.
More nature tripping in Oslob soon. Happy travels!:-)
30 thoughts on “Oslob: Swimming with the Whale Sharks”
Definitely agree with tip #1. It would have been a totally different experience had the ocean been crowded.
‘1. Go there on a weekday, and be there early. There are fewer people, so there’s more time for you and the whale shark.’
Glad you had an awesome time with our gentle giants!
Sharing our experience with the Oslob whale sharks,
Wow! This looks and sounds like an amazing experience…
It is, indeed! I hope you get to visit my country someday, Tasha. It has a lot of amazing places waiting to be explored 🙂
Hi, i am planning to visit!! so excited.. but just one question, after the whale shark viewing, how did u guys climb back up the boat?? My 1st time going on a apaddle boat… i scared i might tumble it over! hehehe…
Climbing back to the boat was the harder part. You’ll have to muster some strength to do it, or ask the boatman to help you. Don’t worry too much about toppling over! Have fun and enjoy swimming with the whale sharks! 🙂
Hello Karen, i read your OSLOB Blog and i loved the pics and as well the information you give.My name is Raquel from Hamburg, Germany we are a Group of 9 Person + 2 Kids and planning our Trip to Dumaguete from Feb 22-Feb 27, maybe you can give me a Tip where to stay a night in Dumaguete as we will arrive 16.15hrs in Dumaguete and next day plan the Whale Shark Encounter and right after that take Ferry to Siquijor, i would be happy if you can give me some tips and advice for this trip. Many thanks and regards from Hamburg, Germany 🙂
Thank you for choosing to visit the Philippines. Upon your arrival in Dumaguete, head to the ferry terminal to reserve your tickets to Siquijor. (We just turned up at the terminal on the same day of our trip and there were no fast craft ferry tickets available!) Make sure that you’d have an allowance in traveling from Sibulan port (the one going to Oslob) to Dumaguete port.
In Dumaguete, we stayed in Hotel Nicanor. I didn’t love this hotel, but it was adequate for an overnight stay. It was located at the heart of town, and the famous Sans Rival is just at the corner.
For Oslob, I suggest that you bring your own snorkel and an underwater camera, and wear a rashguard as sunblock is prohibited).
Siquijor deserved more than an overnight stay. I love Coco Grove. I recommend that you stay here!
Enjoy your trip! 🙂
my family and i have just stayed in a fantastic place called liquid. its a dive resort as well. they have lovely cottages,a big pool,fanstastic restaurant-cafe-lounge.and on top of it offer great diving,snorkelling and day trips. auch babysitter service. die besitzer haben selbst kinder.
uns hats bestens gefallen!safe travels,
hello, I have a question. How do you book the boat that takes you to swim with the Butandins?
I’m not sure how to book it in advance. Just show up at the seaport in Brgy Liloan, Cebu (if you’re coming from Dumaguete) and a tricycle will bring you to the shore. Be sure to go early to avoid the crowd. 🙂
thanks for sharing!
what time did you arrive at the resort given that you departed at 6 in the morning from dumaguete?
Hi Irina. Probably it was 7.30am, since we got the 6.30am pump boat from Dumaguete. 🙂
can i ask if you have any idea how far is malatapay market from sibulan port?
I honestly don’t have an idea about Malatapay market. Sorry I couldn’t help. 🙁
its okay. thanks so kuch karen for the tips! your blog entry and the pictures are a big help already!:)
Glad to be of help, Irina! 🙂
We will be in oslob this coming weekend probably. I may know why tricycle is costly, it is for the whole tour after whale shark dive? or just one trip? thank you.
The cost of the tricycle was for the round-trip transport to the resort and back to the port, for a group of five. The ride is approx 15 minutes, hence the cost.
Hope this helps. Happy travels! 🙂
Hi!! May I know what underwater camera did you use? Hehe ‘m planning to buy one for our Oslob trip next week. Thanks!
We used a Nikon AW100 🙂 I highly recommend it for your underwater needs. Though there’s a newer version (AW110 or AW120) from Nikon which you may want to check.
Did you have to book the whaleshark snorkel in advance? or did you simply go to Oslob? Also, did you stay in Oslob?
No, we didn’t have reservations. We just showed up at one of the resorts. Since it was a weekday, there were very few visitors then.
Be there early in the morning so that there’ll be fewer guests. You don’t have to stay overnight, since the snorkelling only lasts for 30 minutes to an hour.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip to Oslob! =)
Hi Karen can I ask the name of the resort or their contact # ? Will inquire re snorkeling with the whale shark thanks!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the name and number of the resort. The tricycle that we had just brought us directly to one.
If your query is about costs, here are the prices per head:
P300 – boat ride, no snorkeling for Filipinos
P500 – boat ride with snorkeling for Filipinos
P700 – boat ride, no snorkeling for foreigners
P1000 – boat ride with snorkeling for foreigners
Hope this helps. Have a great time swimming with the whale sharks! 🙂
Thank you Karen Godbless 🙂
Hi Karen, is there a way to book in advance online the ferry from Sibulan to Liloan? Also, after arriving at 7:30am to swim with the whale sharks, how long did you have to wait before you were able to go out to swim with them? What time did you get back to shore from swimming with the whale sharks? I’m trying to figure out if we will have time to swim with the whale sharks in the morning and then drive up to Cebu airport to catch our flight at 3pm. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated! Thanks!
I’m not aware of any online reservations for the ferry.
It was a Monday when we had our encounter with the whalesharks, so there are only a few people visiting. If you arrive at 7:30, maybe you’ll be done by 9, depending on how many people there are. I’m not sure if this is enough time for you to catch your flight though. Last I’ve heard, it takes 4-5 hours by car to Cebu City. 🙁 Better if you fly via Dumaguete.
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