Friday, January 6, 2012

Swim and Play with the Whale Sharks (butanding or tuki) in Oslob!

10| TEN fastfacts 

1.       How do I get there?

If you’re on a budget, the option is to take the bus. Head out to Cebu South Bus Terminal and look for the sign board that reads Liloan or Bato. Ceres and Sunrays ply the route. Departure is every hour starting at 3:00am. Travel time is around 3 hours for the 117 kilometer ride. Fare is Php156.00 plus Php5.00 terminal fee. 

2.       Where do I get off?
Tell the konduktor  (fare collector) you are getting off in Tan-awan, Oslob.  

Alternative: Another option is to cough up some cash. Hire a car or van for a more comfortable and scenic drive to the South. Travel time is around two hours. On the way back, you can swing by Boljoon, Argao and Carcar--beautiful heritage towns in the South. Don’t forget the torta sa Argao and chicharon sa Carcar, ha.

3.       How much do I need to pay?
Depends on which gate you pass through. On the left side of the road, there are two gates that empty to the shore: the plain red gate and then 10 meters away, there’s a blue gate with a whale shark drawing.

blue gate: Php300.00 all-in (includes entrance fee, snorkel rental, 2 paddlers-guides and a 40-minute ride in a banca).

 red gate:  Php200.00 (guide fees and banca ride. Not included are Php50.00 entrance, Php100.00 snorkel rental and Php25 life vest rental. Php375.00 all-in).

The payment includes the feed: baby shrimp or uyap (not krill as earlier reported).

4.       What’s the best time to go there?
The whale sharks show up at 6:00am for the feeding frenzy and will stay until 11:00am if being fed with baby shrimps. There may still be sightings up until 2:00pm during weekends/busy days (that is, if the whale sharks are continuously being fed to please the tourists. Sad.)

5.       How many whale sharks are there?
At least 14 whale sharks have been sighted in Oslob. 

6.       Can I swim with the whale sharks?
Yes, you may but no touching, please. Any physical contact stresses the whale sharks.

7.       Can I touch the whale sharks or ride on their back?
Absolutely not. Please read above. Don't act like some hare-brained tourists.

8.    Are there food outlets in the area?
There are hawker stalls in the area but they offer limited choices though. Better bring your own food.

9.     What about accommodation for an overnight stay? 
A few pension houses are located in Poblacion, Oslob. If you have the cash to burn, across where the whale sharks are is Sumilon Island Resort.

10.    Can I eat the whale sharks?
Are you out of your mind?!?!?

Unregulated Tourism. As of this writing, a dialogue between the local fisher folks and concerned government with non-government agencies have been ongoing to put in place regulations to make this newest and hottest attractions South of Cebu sustainable and environmentally-friendly. 

Enjoy meeting the gentle giants of the sea! Stay silly.

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