Oslob, like a thousand other *less* popular places in the Philippines, tucks away from the tourist frenzy, but close enough for the adventurous and the seekers, the divers and the bucket listers.
Down the southern tip of the province of Cebu, Oslob is in close proximity to Dumaguete and Siquijor. That just leaves you with more options to choose from and a crucial decision to file a longer leave to cover the interesting mix of the area.
How To Get There
Local carriers fly daily to Cebu.
From Cebu City, you have the option to stay for a day or go directly in a 3-hour private van trip. Buses (Ceres Bus) are also available. Airconditioned buses leave hourly, while regular buses departs every 30 minutes.
Here’s our draft itinerary to help enlighten your road to
El Dorado Oslob.
|Expenses||Amount in Peso (group of 7)|
|Van rental from Cebu City to Oslob and vice versa||7,000|
|Rooms for 2 nights at Aaron Beach Resort (1,000 fan room, 1,500 ac room, 100 extra bed)||8,200|
|Resort-cooked meals (for 7 adults + 2 kids, for 2 days; breakfast, lunch, dinner)||7,776|
|Boat Rental to Sumilon Island||2,000|
|Entrance Fee to Sumilon Island||140|
|Multi-cab rental to Mainit Spring||2,000|
|Entrance Fee (P20/head) + Table rental (P100) at Mainit Spring||240|
|Swimming with Whale Shark + Camera Rental with CD (P600)||3,000|
|Multi-cab rental to Heritage Sites and Tumalog Falls||1,500|
|Habal-habal rental to and from Tumalog Falls (P30/way)|
|Cebu City rooms (Island Stay Hotel) for 7 adults + 2 kids; 1 night||3,700|
|Banana Leaf Dinner||2,760.80|
|City Taxi Fares|
|TOTAL FOR 3 DAYS/4 NIGHTS for a group of 7 adults and 2 kids||41,477.3++|
|Total for each person||5,925.33++|
Where to Stay
A neighborhood of beach front resorts are available in the
land sea of whale sharks in the Visayas. We stayed in Aaron Beach Resort, which claimed to be the pioneer in Oslob. The accommodation was basic but the service was extraordinary. We requested for a seafood dinner, just because that felt apt given the setting. To our surprise, what surplus they have of butandings, they lack in shrimps, and other families. Somebody had to visit town to make our seafood cravings not just a mere wishful thinking but a feast! We asked for a lot of other things, and they happily obliged liked we were the only guests to please.
As part of trip planning, we collated various travel blog reviews and accommodation websites to come up with a shortlist of which to check out and reserve. Here are a few of the resorts that were spoken with good words. Take your pick.
Best Time to Go to Oslob
As in any part of the country, dry season is from December to May, while rainy season starts from June and comes to an indefinite stop in November. The best time to go is during the dry season so that spirits aren’t dampened and the beach vibe can hover.
But can rain actually stop anyone? :]
How Long to Stay
We always say a minimum of 1 week to truly experience most of what there is in Oslob. As we discovered, there were a lot more to see some hours of road trip away than swimming with the whale sharks alone. That was awesome fun, though.
What to Wear
Rash guard. This does not only protect you from no-sunblock skin required as you swim with the whale shark, this also proves warmth for the cold Tumalog Spring.
What to Bring
- Water-proof cameras!
- Sunblock lotions SPF+++
- Ziplocks for gadgets during all the boat rides
- Easy-dry beach wear
Things to Do
Explore Sumilon Island
If you happen to arrive on a Friday night, we suggest to hold your horses and skip swimming with the whale shark the next day. Saturday is high volume for tourist flocking in from all over the country, even the local Cebuanos from the city. Instead, ride a boat to a less crowded Sumilon Island and enjoy the water everybody’s talking about!
The expensive way or the budget traveler way. You have the option to have a pre-arranged trip and exclusive access to the Sumilon Island Resort. It will be inclusive of buffet lunch and use of facilities like the infinity pool, fishing bay, among others. Fee is P2,000 per adult.
You can, of course, like we did, enjoy the white sandy shore and the pristine clear turquoise water until we gave up on the UV rays. For a minimal boat rental fee.
Picnic by the white sandy shore of Sumilon Island
Play with your underwater camera and capture distorted, but thoroughly happy, faces of yourselves
Relax, Enjoy the View, Walk the Bay
Appreciate the Spanish architecture and flood your feed with it!
Do a Family Portrait Shoot
Watch the locals play their game
Take advantage of the architecture and do a couple photoshoot for free wallpapers!
Appreciate life and things during the Spanish era in the museum
Feel the air on a multi-cab ala Perks of Being a Wallflower with a road trip!
Hike/trek to the falls
Bathe in the therapeutic sulfuric hot springs of Mainit Spring
If you’re craving for more adrenaline, do waterfalls rappelling
Swim with the whale sharks, of course!
Out of routine, perhaps, the woman in red gave a brief and really robotic dos and donts for the activity ahead.
It sums up to:
- No touching the whale sharks. P2,000 fine for that.
- No sunblock
- Wear your life vests at all times
- No flash photography
- You have 30 minutes to enjoy
30 minutes was a bit short especially if you’re a having a great time photographing them and with them. But it was exhilarating! It gets too crowded at times because there’s a lot of them gentle giants! You have to maneuver yourself to keep the 4-meter distance required. But they keep swimming near you! Haha!
One of the travel reminders for me this season involves words like, “if you can’t find a couple of things to do in a place, it’s either you’re not looking well enough or you’re doing the locals injustice.
Not all places are created equal. Not every city or province can become as itinerary-rich as Paris or Japan. Some, I meant to say A LOT, are mysteries to be unveiled, like a shy kid you need to encourage to uncover what occupies his or her meek mind.
Just because travel guides or blogs recommend the same thing, doesn’t mean there’s no new path to beat.
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” -Gilbert K. Chesterton
As for me, I saw people, in a way where perspectives shifted. I saw courage. I saw a renewed outlook on the depths of the oceans and the limits of the seas.
Where are you headed next? 2 months more to cap off 2014 travels!