Whale Shark (Butanding) Watching of Oslob, Cebu


If you are looking for something new and amusing during your stay at Cebu, then I suggest to drive to the southern part of it and swim with the whale sharks which is also known as "butanding". Oslob, Cebu is a 3 hours travel from the city and it's known for its whale shark adventure. Swimming with the whale sharks is just once in a life time experience so I couldn't miss this chance. Well of course along with my friends.

Look how beautiful it is

Whale sharks are drawn in a specific area by a "bangkero" or fisherman that feed the gentle giants with krill (small saltwater shrimps) in the morning and in the noon. So our group decided to have a 3am call time to reach Oslob by 6 in the morning. I suggest others to do the same. Why? Because apart from preventing yourself from the raging heat of the sun in the afternoon, the area also has a pleasing sunrise to cite.

How to get there?
From South Bus Terminal located along N. Bacalso Street, Cebu City, one can take a Sunrays or Ceres Bus going to Oslob. As you hop in, just tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Tan-awan Barangay Hall. The bus ride takes 2 1/2 - 3 hours going to Brgy. Tan-awan, Oslob and it will cost you 154.00 pesos if you take air-conditioned buses.

We're ready to experience Oslob's wonder!

We needed to pay 300 pesos per head to swim with the butanding and it will take 30-45 mins (actually depending on your guide hehe). The personnel who collected the fees told us that the money goes to the government and to the boatmen who will paddle us in the butanding area. One can also rent goggles and snorkel equipment at the price of 200 pesos per pax. We also paid additional 70 pesos as an entrance fee to the resort we stayed in.

Let's get it on!

We don't have an underwater camera but thank God... a local offers us one at the cost of 500 pesos if you have your own SD Card and an additional 50 pesos if you don't. I consider this as a great deal because I want to record and capture this very unforgettable moment. Since 10 of us will pay for it, it will not cost me that much -- perk for travelling in group. *wink

The students :]
The rules and guidelines

After paying all those fees, we headed to the briefing area to discuss the do's and don'ts for this whale shark interaction. Note: Do not apply any sun block (or any lotion) before and during the swim. This is not good for the whales because it might contaminate the water. The talk lasts for about less than 15 mins and after that, we headed straight on our "bangka" and the adventure with the butanding starts from that point!

I really like the design of the "bangka" here

When I first saw the whale sharks, I was really terrified and afraid that they might knock me out but I was wrong. They swim gently and I can say these giants are very friendly. :]

They may seem like sharks however they are the friendly version of it
They love to eat krill aka "alamang"

It was really fun swimming with them despite of the large waves and the saltiness of the water. Looking at the photos below, we are proud to say that it was all worthy.

Butanding up close shot of Julius
Butanding up close shot of Baron
My butanding up close shot (I did not touched it. Promise)
Butanding up close shot of Edward

But before we had that shots (above), look at the craziness (chaos) we went through. Hahahahaha



I can easily identify myself with that knee support on my left leg. =]

Seeing the whale sharks glide about a foot away from me was the most fascinating part of this adventure. This was indeed a remarkable experience for me which will remain in my memory forever.

The adventure seekers

Breakdown of Expense:
Transportation: 154 pesos (from South Terminal Bus - Brgy. Tan-awan)
Registration/Boat: 300 pesos (local tourist fee, changes for foreign tourist)
Mask and Snorkel: 200 pesos
Resort Entrance Fee: 70 pesos
Underwater Camera: 500 (without SD Card / good for sharing)
SD Card: additional 50 pesos

Swimming. It's more fun in the philippines!

Additional tip: Sumilon Island is nearby this area. It will be a good side trip for your Cebu exploration. Now you have an idea on my next post. ;]

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