Butanding Whale Shark Watching in Oslob Cebu
This post might be a little late in terms online visits due to its popularity and the number of people (including other bloggers) that have spread the news and make a post of about (it even reach national television for that matter). But it was truly a very great experience even if many had came to the popular butanding (bisaya for whale shark) in Oslob, which is located in the far southern part of Cebu.
To get to Oslob by the way, you have to ride a Bus or a car(if can endure the long hours of travel/drive). Indeed it was a long ride to get there, from the City Proper (south bus terminal) to the Oslob province is a 3 hours travel time approximately. And it is also advisable to travel early in the morning for better spot and to avoid large crowds in the whale shark watching. The place really is not that difficult to find due to large trampolines and banners along the road (in Oslob proper).
Upon arrival you will be required to attend the seminar which is kinda good because we will be able to know the rules and guidelines in the Whale shark watching. Actually it was implemented by the Oslob municipality (the government actually just get involved in the business) has strict implementations to not harm the Whale Shark in the process or destroy its ecosystem (I think there are laws pertaining to that). It is actually to regulate those kinds of rules to control the activities and keep the Whale Sharks safe and sound but the downside is that the fee is higher than before :/
So there in the briefing section we were told to keep a distance to avoid any injuries to both (audience and whaleshark) and keep proper etiquette like not throwing any food, splashing near the sharks, don’t wear sunblock so that they will not be poisoned (really?) and ask permission when jumping out of the boat. We also paid 300 hundred pesos for the entrance fee including the the banca boat ride to the whale sharks. We also paid 50 pesos for the life vest (I actually don’t need one , but it is in their strict implementation). So there it is the briefing session before the actual ride.
You will ride the banca (small boat) to get to the whale sharks as they reside in the deep waters, maybe not that far , maybe about 500 meters from the shore. You will also go with the other banca boats with other whale shark watchers. There you will see about 2 -3 Whale Sharks near a Banca , actually they feed the whale sharks with something so that they will go near to the banca in order to get a better view for the visitors , you are also allowed to watch them closely by swimming near it but not too close.
It was really an amazing experience because it was my first time to get near a very big fish (whale shark) and not on a plate or something,haha.. Too bad I didn’t bring my cam on the actual boat riding because of safety issues of my cam (don’t have water protection) nevertheless the ambiance is very great for whale shark watching along with a good weather . Hope they will not abuse the popularity of the whale shark watching and ignore of the whale sharks safety and take advantage of tourist and visitors. Maybe have more control of some of crowds and tourist watching by following the rules and guidelines for the safety of both.
credits: rarusuchin for tourguide
last photo: www.oslobwhalesharks.com