To borrow Discovery Channel's words "The world is just awesome!"
How to find them whale sharks: Hop on a bus bound for Oslob and get off just before you reach the drop off for Sumilon Island (tell the bus conductor you're paying the whale sharks at Barangay Tanawan a visit, they'll know where to let you off). If they eject you in front of a gate with a whale shark painted on it, then you're in the right place.
What to bring for this awesome experience:
Snorkel and mask or goggles (to avoid getting red eyes after staring underwater at the whale sharks too long)
Rashguard (if you're afraid of jellyfish)
Money (to pay the fees)
Waterproof camera (to record this bucketlist item)
Answers to questions I would most probably have asked before going:
- The bus ride to Oslob will take 2.5 to 3 hours. Buses for Oslob leave the South Bus Terminal every 30 minutes.
- Driving will take 2 hours if you're a speed devil or 2.5 to 3 hours if you're a Sunday chill driver. There is a parking area.
- If you're thinking of having a picnic, open cottages are available (Php 100).
- It is not every day the seven will grace you with their presence. After a typhoon, underwater visibility will be low, and some of them might hide (yes, yes, I made that up) or take a holiday somewhere.
- You can wash the seawater off your hair and skin, there are shower rooms you can use for free (bring your own shampoo, soap, and towel... it is not that free).
How this awesome experience bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Cebu to Oslob nonAC bus Php 150
Entrance fee at a resort Php 100
Banca Php 200
Lunch at Lusapon Resort in Boljoon Php 0, thanks to the kindness of a stranger
Oslob to Cebu Php 0, thanks to the kindness of a stranger
- January 7, 2012 – Heard there are 14 whale sharks now!
- January 10, 2012 – This from a friend who went to see the whale sharks last January 8: you have to register and pay at the barangay. Fees are as follows: Php 300 for banca, add Php 20 if you're going snorkeling, and Php 100 if you're bringing a camera. (Why all the fees??) And according to this news article, 60% goes to the fishermen, 10% to the barangay, and 30% to the municipal government.
- April 28, 2013 – Fees for Filipinos: Php 300 if whaleshark watching only / Php 500 if snorkeling. For foreigners: Php 1000. Fee already includes banca ride, life vest, snorkel, and transfers to and from registration area/briefing area. Whaleshark watching is from 5AM to 12NN only.