Oslob Whale Shark Watching

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you purchase after clicking the link. For more information, please read my disclaimer.

One of the most popular activities, yet controversial, in Cebu is swimming with the whale sharks. Whale sharks are gentle giants and are the biggest fish in the world. It is called ‘butanding‘ in the Philippines.

The whale shark tourism center is located in Brgy. Tan-Awan in Southern Cebu. Local fishermen feed these gentle giants with shrimps and lure them to the boats so tourists can swim with them. This became controversial because the whale sharks don’t naturally gather there, and it disrupts their natural behavior.

Hopefully, more tourists will respect Oslob’s whale shark guidelines. But, the Oslob Whale Shark Watching is no doubt a unique experience. I have put together everything you need to know about Oslob Whale Shark watching.

oslob-whale-shark-watching

There are four places in the Philippines where you can swim with the whale sharks:

  1. Pintuyan, Southern Leyte 
  2. Tubbataha Reef 
  3. Donsol, Sorsogon
  4. Oslob, Cebu

Whale shark watching in Sorgoson should be your best option since the fishermen are not hand-feeding them for the tourists.

There’s a higher chance to see the whale sharks in Donsol between April and May.

How to get to Oslob for whale shark watching

It will take between 3-4 hours to travel from Cebu City to Oslob depending on the traffic. The first trip is at 1:00 AM and the last trip is at 12:00 MN. The ticket costs at least PHP 200.

  1. Go to Cebu South Bus terminal 
  2. Ride a Ceres Liner bus going to Oslob. 
  3. Ask to be dropped off at Oslob whale shark watching briefing area in Brgy. Tan-awan. 
  4. It’s along the highway, so you could see the briefing area right away.

Schedule and fees

The Oslob Whale Shark Watching is only available between 6 AM until 12 noon. The activity is only for 30 minutes.

Fees for local tourists

  • Whale watching (with life jacket): PHP 300
  • Swimming with the whale sharks (with life jacket): PHP 500

Fees for foreign tourists

  • Whale watching (with life jacket): PHP 500
  • Swimming with the whale sharks (with life jacket): PHP 1,000

Rules

  • Everyone is required to attend the orientation on the rules on interacting with the whale sharks. 
  • Viewing is limited to 30 minutes. 
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 5m from the head and 6m from the tail. 
  • Do not touch the whale sharks. 
  • Do not use flash photography.
  • Do not wear sunscreen if you are going to enter the water.

Oslob Whale Shark Watching – what to expect

Since Oslob Whale Shark Watching is a popular activity for tourists, expect that there will be hundreds of tourists every day.

If you want to arrive early, you should leave at 3 or 4 AM from Cebu City. Our group arrived at 5:45 AM and a lot of people have already arrived.

There’s no reservation and it’s a first-come, first-served basis so you need to arrive ahead of time.

Once you are in the briefing area, the orientation will start at 6 AM. You will get a group number, and after the orientation, everyone will proceed to wear the life jackets and get the snorkeling gear.

If you don’t have a camera, you can rent a GoPro for PHP 550 and an additional PHP 150 for the boatman to take your pictures.

Getting ready for whale shark watching

I had different expectations of this experience: I was expecting that we will wait for the whale sharks. Instead, the fishermen hand-feed them so the whale sharks will come to the tourists.

It felt different when looking at the whale sharks from the boat and swimming with them. They are huge!

I only spent 5 or 10 minutes in the water and went back to the boat. Everyone has 30 minutes for this activity. Nonetheless, whale shark watching was a unique experience.

Whale Shark
Swimming with the whale sharks

Swimming with the whale sharks is only 30 minutes, but because of the volume of tourists, you need to queue a long time for the shower rooms.

The shower rooms are clean and properly maintained!

Tourist spots to visit after whale shark watching

Right after swimming with the whale sharks, you should not miss going to Sumilon Island! It’s a small sandbar that is a short boat ride away from the briefing area.

Our van is parked at the briefing area, so after visiting Sumilon Island, we went back to take a shower and have lunch.

Here are other tourist spots you can visit after whale shark watching:

Cebu package tours with whale shark watching

One advantage of getting a tour package is it includes almost everything. From transportation, accommodation, itinerary, and sometimes food.

We booked our tour in Cebu for two days & one night with Happy Juanderer. The package we booked is called Project Sursuroy.

Here’s a complete travel guide to Cebu including itinerary, budget, and tips.

Discounted Hotels & Resorts in Cebu

Save money on your accommodation by booking from one of the hotels & resorts below! You’ll also get more perks like late check-out or more discounts.

Click the links below to get more details.

bai Hotel Cebuup to 75% discount! Overnight or 2-nights stay in a deluxe room inclusive of breakfast for 2 and PHP 500 or PHP 1000 worth of food and beverage credits that can be used in Marble and Grain Ume Japanese Restaurant, Wall Street, Pool Bar, In-Room Dining, or Lobby Lounge.

Bluewater Sumilon Island Resortup to 65% discount! A minimum of 2-night deluxe room with breakfast, 15% discount on F&B, BlueCARES Sanitation Kit & welcome Bluewater coolers.

Seda Ayala Center Cebuup to 35% discount! 1-night stay in a deluxe room for 2 person(s) and inclusive of breakfast and/or PHP500 worth of dining credits.

Seda Central Bloc Cebuup to 35% discount! 1-night stay in a deluxe room for 2 person(s) and inclusive of breakfast and/or PHP500 worth of dining credits.

More activities in Cebu

If you enjoyed reading this post, feel free to share it with your friends and family on social media.

You can also help us with the updates! If you have new information, questions, or comments, you can reach us via Facebook Messenger or tweet us on Twitter.

Our content is free and always will be. But if this post has saved you time or made your life easier, feel free to buy us a coffee. We’ll really appreciate your support.

15 comments
  1. Awesome blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping too start my own travel blog website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. I am hoping to blog about travelling in my home place the island of Cebu but i need to know the best way to start. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed … Any tips? Cheers! https://whalesharkoslob.com

  2. Hello, we are from Cebu Bohol Travel and Tours and we would very much applaud you with your coverage of the beautiful Oslob Whale Sharks. We are very glad that you were able to encounter such fantastic giants in the sea of Oslob. We find your post very personal and real. We would like to introduce also our company Cebu Bohol Travel and Tours and we offer also tours in Cebu North and South also most of the island hopping adventures like Kalanggaman, Pescador and malapascua. We are wondering if you can also give us a chance to be featured in your beautiful and very informative, not to mention very personal travel blog site. Just message us if you can accommodate our request and how we can be of service to you. Thank you and more power to you and your travel site. https://cebuboholtraveltours.com/

  3. Swimming with the whale shark in Oslob is awesome, but have you ever tried canyoneering in Cebu South in kawasan Falls. I would highly recommend this activity for you. It is a very challenging yet fullfilling experience for you and your group. Should you want to try it out we can help you at http://canyoneeringcebutours.com

    1. Crossing my fingers for you! I hope you can go there soon. There are several places that you can visit in Oslob. Don’t forget to visit Tumalog Falls. We didn’t go there, but I heard that it’s beautiful there. ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *