The Whale shark Encounter
Day 2 highlights the entire Cebu experience. They say it couldn’t be a “legit Cebu experience” without swimming with the whale sharks in Tan-awan, Oslob. We also went to the mystic five-layer falls of Aguinid in Samboan, visited the cultural heritage of Museo Oslob and its old churches, and spent a lovely afternoon at Pebbles Beach in Santander.
We hired the hotel’s vehicle service that toured us around these sites the entire day. The fee was 1, 500 for the three of us. However, there are habal-habals (motorcycle) as accessible means of transportation everywhere.
If you’re planning to head straight to Oslob, travel by bus going to Oslob at South Bus Terminal then tell the driver to drop you directly to Whaleshark Watching Area at Bgy Tan-awan Oslob. It’s best if you travel as early as 3 -4 am to avoid the traffic.
Oslob is prominently known for allowing tourists to swim with the whale sharks. This has been the town’s main booster of tourism and source of income. Contrary to my common perception, these gentle giants are not to be feared at all. However, it bothers me that with the outstanding number of tourists everyday, they are disturbed from their habitat and natural behavior.
Before riding the boat, you have to attend the briefing first. The rules for interacting with the whale sharks seem well-organized, but I doubt that they are strictly followed by the stubborn tourists.
Boats attract the whale sharks because for them these mean food. And with the uncontrolled flock of tourists, the distance of 4 meters away from the sharks is not closely observed. I also read that with this scheme, the whale sharks are not getting the right nutrition that they need.
While I had my “bragging rights” overcoming this fear of whales, my heart is slightly broken for the whale sharks and hopefully they’d implement stricter measures to preserve these creatures.
Anyway this experience is a milestone for me. It’s not everyday you get to see these giants underwater, much more swim with them or feed them. They seem ready to attack you anytime with their humongous size, but in reality they are harmless, and cute. 🙂
- Unless your gadgets are waterproof, don’t bring them on the boat. Lockers are available for 20 pesos each.
- There are small souvenir shops and restaurants at the area but expect the prices to be doubled.
- Whale sharks will migrate to another place by 12 noon. Schedule starts as early as 6-7 am.
The Mystic Aguinid Falls
Oslob is pretty much a frequented place by tourists because of its several beautiful waterfalls. Aguinid is just one of them, a multi-tiered falls in Samboan – around 1 hour away from the whale shark area. What sets apart Aguinid from the rest of the falls is that it has five levels and you’d have to climb through limestone rocks and hike to reach every tier.
Again, if you did not hire a transportation service, you may ride a habal-habal going to Aguinid.
The entrance fee to Aguinid is 20 pesos each, but tips for the tour guides are voluntary. Each group will be given two tour guides to help you in the rough terrains- carrying your stuff, teaching you strategies how to climb, ensuring the water level before allowing you to swim and even taking your photos! Ours were both nice, helpful and friendly, so we gave them 300 each. Before proceeding with the hike, you will be oriented by your tour guides and your things can be deposited at the registration area.
Prepare to get wet. Secure your things in a dry bag.
The level 3 is the most difficult of all. We have to use the rope to climb and it was too slippery at that time since it was raining. There are makeshift marks that you can use as guide where to place your hands and feet while climbing.
We didn’t have photos for the 4th level since it started to rain really hard and we have to keep my camera.
There’s a jump-off point at 5th level but we didn’t dive anymore since it was too crowded.
The gushing water was cold and refreshing and not too noisy. There are also awesome rock formations in the cascading waterfalls.
Pebbles Beach Santander
Thirty-minutes away from Aguinid Waterfalls is Pebbles Beach Santander, in Bgy Liloan. It’s where we took our lunch and lazed by the beach to rest. Entrance fee is only 30 pesos. You can also reach Dumaguete in 20 mins by boat at the port for only 65 pesos.
The sand was pristine white with pebbles, hence its name. We were fortunate that at that time, there were no people except for us. The only companion who joined us was a stray dog, whom we named Pebbles. He kept following us up to the time we left the beach. Aww.
The scenery was surreal – clear blue skies, boats floating idly on the water, raging waves, peaceful surroundings and white sand that stretches to infinity.
The beach is impressively clean, with small huts you can lie under.
The placed looked so serene and calm, you’d enjoy your solitude. This is one of the unspoiled beaches I have seen in Cebu, not too commercialized and over crowded.
For a time, you’d empty yourself and leave all your worries behind.
This was my best friend for the day.
Palette of blue and white paint the sea and the sky.
Museo Oslob and The Ruins of the Oslob Cuartel
A walk in the heritage park of Poblacion gives a glimpse of the history of Oslob. The ruins of Oslob Cuartel was built by a priest named Fr. Julian Bermejo in 1788 to serve as barracks of defense for the Spanish armies against the Moro raiders. The stones used for its construction were believed to be from the remnants of the collapsed floor of Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Concepcion .
The construction was then stopped when the Americans arrived in 1899 and remains unfinished for more than a century.
The sturdy ruins are still erected up to the present and now remain as one of Oslob’s tourist attractions.
The park also has a nice view of the sea.
Adjacent to the church and Spanish Cuartel is Museo Oslob, which was closed at the time.
We ended the day by having a food trip at a fishball stand.
The day was packed with water activities the left us tired, but fulfilled. We then headed back to hotel in preparation for our trip to Cebu City.
On my next post, stories of City tour will be unraveled.
Read my next post : Cebu Adventure Series Part 3: Tops Lookout, Magellan’s Cross, Taboan and Shamrock Market