Excerpt from Rose’s Narrative:
The sun-kissed tour guide was humming along a familiar tune from an old radio on our boat. He looked content sitting there whistling every once in a while as he waited for us to finish.
It was a pleasant morning. The sky, a perfect blue dotted by tiny cumulus clouds while the sun wasn’t too bright or too hot. The water was a bit warm too and it was indeed a good day for a swim.
The small town was called Oslob – about two to three hours’ drive away from the Queen City of the South, Cebu.
When my husband and a couple of friends told me that we were going for an adventure, I thought it was something that I can easily do. I guess after climbing the 3,366 ft Mount Arayat in Luzon without any sort of preparation, walking for more than 18 hours in darkness just to reach the peak, sleeping in a horrible tent while the temperature outside dropping to 10 to 15 degrees Celsius on a rainy November month, forging our way in an uncharted territory because the old pathways were destroyed by landslides, getting attacked by a congress of monkeys who stole the rest of our ration and then walking another 20 hours just to get to town, nothing in my mind could top such misadventure. But I was mistaken.
I was a few meters away from the boat trying to keep up with my giddy husband when I saw the shadows in the water. When I noticed that there were several of them, I looked at how far I was from the boat and had the tour guide looked my way, he would have seen the dread on my face.
When I finally felt the rough skin of a whale shark caress my back, I put my hand into my mouth to muffle a scream that wasn’t coming. When another one swiped my side, I stopped breathing for a few seconds. Although I grew up near a beach, I haven’t really learned how to swim and with my eyes tightly shut, I was imagining that the rough creatures they called “sharks” are already nibbling on my limbs.
Excerpt from Yeru’s Narrative:
“How do you feel about swimming with whale sharks?” I asked my sister-in-law, Irene, in a chat.
We just got back from Cebu City, an island in the Visayas that is about an hour away by plane from Manila, and had a great time interacting with the giant creatures and I thought it would be a great idea to bring them there once they come home from the States.
“We’ll you see, they might be gentle and all but they are still SHARKS!” she said.
And I remember Rose cursing me for putting her through another hell and I can’t help but just laugh. The truth is, we humans are more dangerous to the whale sharks than they to us. Although whale sharks have gargantuan mouths, the openings where the food passes through are too small that often, they survive on planktons. The fishermen of Oslob had to ground anchovies just for the whale sharks to eat them.
Seeing the whale sharks up close is in itself, a great adventure. The thought can be a little scary but from our experience, it was worth the dip.
How to get to Oslob:
Option 1: From Manila, book a flight going to Cebu.
a) From Cebu Mactan Airport, rent a taxi going to Cebu South Terminal. (Cost: Php 300 – Php 500)
b) From Cebu South Terminal, look for the Ceres buses going to Oslob.
Earliest bus departure is at 2 a.m. (Cost: Php 150 – Php 250)
Option 2: From Manila, book a flight going to Dumaguete.
a) From Dumaguete Airport, hire a trike that will take you to Sibulan Port. Trip takes about 15mins. (Cost: Php100 -Php150)
b) From Sibulan Port, board the ferry that will depart for Liloan Port. Trip takes about an hour and a half. (Cost: Php100)
c) From Liloan Port, look for buses going to Cebu. Instruct the conductor to drop you off in Oslob. (Cost: Php150 – Php250)
a) Once you’re in Oslob, there will be a community fee of Php1000 for foreigners and Php500 for locals to swim with the whale sharks. It will include a short seminar and payment for the boat you’re going to use. Make sure to tip your boatman.
b) Best time to go swimming is early morning since its normally in the morning that the whale sharks are fed.
c) After swimming with the whale shark, rent a trike that will take you to Tumalog Falls and prepare yourself to be mesmerized. I don’t have to say more. You just have to see it for yourself to appreciate.