Once a sleepy town in Cebu has now awaken and in no doubt in lead when it come to tourism in Cebu. Almost everyone I knew who went to the Queen City of the South has set foot in the town of Oslob even that it is 4 hours away from the city proper. Honestly, it is also because in the rising fame of Oslob that I decided to book a ticket in Cebu.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Mactan Cebu International Airport, take a taxi to South Bus Terminal Station. It is around P220 without the traffic. Air conditioned Ceres buses to Oslob (Bato via Oslob) are available 24 hours already and costs P165. However, if you’re rich enough and want a private van that you can rent, there are manongs outside the airport who you can deal with. (around P3000-P4000/van)
Of course, Oslob is famous because of Brgy Tanawan’s whale shark watching but there’s so much more that you can do after that. You can do this all in one day but everything will be rushed so I think a day and a half is needed to fully experience Oslob’s beauty.
Whale Shark Watching
One famous thing to do in Oslob is to swim with the gentle giants in Brgy. Tan-awan, 10 minutes away from Oslob town proper. Buses, trikes and even habal-habals knew where it is so you’ll never get lost. The activity starts as early as 6am and lasts until 12:30 pm. Be sure to arrive early for we arrived around 6:20am and we are already number 69. The locals said that there are already no non-peak season.
- Register your names.
- Proceed to the briefing area where the dos and don’ts when swimming with the whale sharks will be discussed.
- Pay to the cashier after. Locals have to pay 500 pesos when swimming and only 300 pesos when you just want to stay in the boat. Foreigners have a different rate though, 1000 pesos (around $20). These rates are all for 30 minutes encounter with the sharks.
- Give your receipt to a kuya manong beside the cashier, who will then give you a number that will be called out by the bangkeros.
- Wait for your number to be called. You will be given life vests, snorkeling gears and two kuya tour guides to help you on your whale shark adventure.
Aside from the experience of swimming with a wonderful creature, one of the reasons we enjoyed our whale shark adventure is because we got the coolest tour guides ever! Kuya number 1 knew how to handle my go pro better than my boyfriend and he took all the photos you’ve seen. While kuya number 2 knew how to positioned us near the whale sharks. If you are a good swimmer, you can go swim without the life vest. But since the waves are strong and I don’t trust my swimming skills, I stick with mine. I just pushed myself to be able to swim down.
Being talkative and all, I asked our guide how they’ve discovered the whale sharks. He said that they are already around since he is a little kid. The whale sharks, every morning, swim near where they’re fishing. Fishermen were afraid of them then until one whale shark, which they named “Fermin”, asked for help. Fermin’s mouth was bleeding and all of his teeth are gone. They tried to help the poor shark and that was it when they discovered that it can’t harm even a baby. They became friends with these giants, feed them every morning and now, their number 1 source of income. Kuya even said that they love the whale sharks more than their wives. Funny Kuya!
Oslob Town Proper
Oslob Town Proper is 10 kilometers away from the whale shark area. We rode a bus to get there for 20 pesos. It is Paul’s birthday that day so we decided to search the area for a legit restaurant but we failed. The best restaurants in Oslob are near the whale shark area. Nevertheless, we won with the views we saw here.
The main attractions in the town proper are all just near the municipal hall. You’ll first see Oslob’s Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church, who obviously stood out hundred of years already but remained to be beautiful, so beautiful to be hidden in a small town. Outside, just across the church, is the heritage park of the town. It is a vast area with green grass, park benches, trees and overlooking sea. And in the corner of the park stands Oslob ruins or cuartel. The cuartel used to be the barracks of the Spanish armies until the Americans came. And after a hundred of years, it’s still standing and very Instagram worthy.
Aguinid & Tumalog Falls
I went to Cebu with just Tumalog Falls in my itinerary but when I asked some locals how to get there, they all told me that Tumalog is not a pretty sight around June because there’s no enough water (like the one in photo) and suggested Aguinid Falls instead.
I don’t have any idea about Aguinid Falls and my mobile data has failed me here so we asked around. Aguinid is said to be 45 minutes away and consists of 5 levels. We were given photos and we got excited. A local agreed to give us Tumalog and Aguinid for 300 pesos/person already. (Well, he did warned us about Tumalog’s no water issue too but we insisted.)
But the day after, we finished our whale shark watching already at 7:45am and we need to be in our Canyoneering before noon. So we have no choice but to cancel our falls hopping. So, maybe someday Tumalog, someday. But it’s not too late for you. The two falls will require 3 hours of your Oslob trip so better plan wisely.
This island is just 15 minutes boat ride away from Oslob and famous for its photogenic sandbar. The next blog post is all bout this island.
So if you’re heading Cebu, there’s your 4 reasons not to missed Oslob.