Cebu Photo Diary: Whale Sharks of Oslob and Sumilon Island

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This is the last instalment of the Cebu Photo Diary series. Check out the earlier posts here and here!

Last full day in Cebu! We travelled early from Moalboal to Oslob as we were aiming to catch the earliest trip for the whale shark encounter to avoid the crowd. The travel to Moalboal to Oslob took more than two hours, and it has one transfer. From Moalboal, board a Ceres bus towards Bato, and then alight at the last stop, which is the bus terminal. Then, from the terminal, board another Ceres bus going towards Cebu City, and alight at Brgy. Tan-awan.

Anyway, our travel was a total failure, and our efforts to reach Oslob early all went down the drain because we missed our stop. Not our fault, though; we asked the bus conductor to let us know if it's time to get off of the bus, and specifically told him that we need to go to the place where the whale shark encounter takes place. I'm pretty sure he understood because he told us, "It is a famous part of the town, and many people visit it". When we started to feel that the travel is getting longer than expected, we asked the bus conductor if we are almost there; he insisted that it's a few kilometres more. And then, some minutes later, a ticket inspector boarded the bus, so we took the chance to ask him as we are really getting suspicious because we've been travelling for more than an hour already. To our dismay, he told us that we have travelled past the place already. It greatly ruined our schedule as we reached the place around 10am -- two hours late of what we planned.

Okay, sorry for the rant. What happened is still very fresh in my memories. Haha.

Moving on, the homestay that we have booked is just along the highway, and it is a walking distance from the beach where the whale shark encounter takes place. We hurriedly checked in and ate brunch which was prepared by our host. By the way, the whale shark encounter is only until 12 noon.

Before proceeding to the sea, everyone must register first, and attend a short briefing. The watching fee plus the equipment cost 1000 pesos per head -- this fee lets you swim with the whale sharks; you may opt to just watch from the boat which costs less, around 600 pesos. In the briefing, they will basically tell what are the dos and don'ts while swimming with the whale sharks.

Onto the sea! As expected, many boats are already crowding the sea.

When we reached the part of the water where the whale sharks are swimming, the boatmen just told us to "Dive in!", and we did. I was actually nervous at that time, and I thought the boatmen will help us, or even just guide us while we were swimming. Our boatman actually just stayed on the boat. It was a total chaos in the water as there were lots of boats and people gathering around the whale sharks, and trying their best to take photos of them, and with them.

The whale sharks are massive. The big ones are like 20 feet long, while the small ones are around 8 feet long. The rule that you must be at least 5-6 metres away from the creature is very hard to follow as the whale sharks tend to swim around. I even accidentally touched one as it swam past me!

Sadly, the most awaited photo that we'd like to have with the whale sharks didn't happen. It is so damn hard to take pictures, seriously. And no one wants to help us. Anyway, it is okay, we still enjoyed the experience. But as much as this experience is truly wonderful, in the back of my mind, I feel bad for them. People are doing this and making a profit out of this at their expense — they must be scared and uncomfortable the whole time.

Boat ride back to the shore

Our next activity is at Sumilon Island. It is a small island famous for its sandbar located a few kilometres away from the main town, and it is reached through a boat. In Sumilon Island, there is a resort called Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort where you can check in. But if you are on a budget, and just want to see the sandbar, you just need to pay an entrance fee as the sandbar is not owned by the resort.

The sandbar was not that big, but it is beautiful. And the water is so clear! Albeit there were lots of stones in the sand, which I think was caused by the big waves, because when I saw images of the beach on the internet, the sand looked fine. The weather was not good when we were there, actually. It was drizzling, and the waves are strong. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed, and should I mention we were the only ones in the island (counting out the boatmen)! Those couple of hours, we felt like we owned the island! Haha!

We were supposed to go to Tumalog Falls after our visit to Sumilon Island, but it was raining, and it was getting dark already. So we just decided to just rest and end our day early.

The following day was our flight back to Manila, so we headed back to Cebu City very early in the morning.

Before we went to the airport, we stopped by at the market to buy some pasalubong. Cebu is famous for danggit (dried fish) and chorizo. By the way, as you all know, danggit smells. And the market is full of them wherever you go. So, don't be surprised that you will smell like one after you leave. Haha. And also, the danggits are not allowed to be hand-carried in the plane, as its smell will spread around the aircraft and may inconvenience other passengers.

This ends our trip! We went back to Manila with big smiles on our faces as this Cebu trip had been very enjoyable and fulfilling one!

If you have questions about travelling to Cebu, let me know in the comments below! I'm no pro, but I'll try my best to answer them. :-)

Also, I am sharing our itinerary and expenses for this whole trip, which you can download from here. Please let me know if the guide helped you, that would mean a lot!

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