Oslob, Cebu (Whale-Shark Encounter) Itinerary - 1 day

Get caught in awe by these distinctly spotted creatures
Beach, Wildlife | Oslob Cebu (whale-shark) Itinerary
Oslob, South Cebu, Philippines
Hours: Whole Day Tour
Specs: Beach, snorkeling, swimming with sharks (butanding/whale-shark), diving, waterfalls, old churches, old stone fort, optional side trip to Dumaguete

. This itinerary to Oslob, Cebu is tailor-made for those who wish to experience butanding watching, swimming with the sharks and a little bit of side trip all in one day.
. It is common practice for Cebu City locals to visit Oslob this way because it is more economical (average overnight room rate is P1000).
. The Cebu south bus terminal is located in downtown Cebu City (N. Bacalso Ave). An entrance fee of P3 will be collected at the door.
. Ceres bus and Sunrays bus have daily trips to “Bato-Oslob”. They have excellent airconditioned buses and the fare is around P155.
. The first trip from Cebu City is 0000H (midnight); from Oslob (coming from Lilo-an port), it is around 0300H. After sundown, the last trip is around 1930 from Cebu City and 2100 from Oslob.
. Choose your seat wisely. By that I mean the window seat. If you choose to sit on the left row (facing East), you will be rewarded with breathtaking coastal views. On the other hand, the right row promises a chance of “speed-Visita-Iglesia” to some of the well-kept cenuturies-old churches of South Cebu.
. Tell the bus conductor you are getting off at Barangay Tanauan. You can never go wrong because the entrances to the beach resorts  are right along the highway.
. Day use/Entrance fee on beach resorts start at P50 (depending on which resort you choose). This allows access to their facilities like parking, shower, use of tables and general safekeeping of your belongings.
. Bring your own toiletries and towels because the beach resorts may not be able to provide these.
. Visit the Barangay desk to register for the whale watching activity. Registration fee (per person) for snorkeling/swimming activity is P300. Diving (bring your own equipment) is around P500. It covers boat rental and Barangay fees.
. Additional fees will be collected for bringing a camera P100 (per camera), video camera P600, snorkel rental P60, life vest rental P40. *Fees posted are as of January 2012
. A short briefing will be conducted by the barangay official. Whale-shark interaction do’s and dont’s will be discussed along with other rules and regulations that need to be followed.
. A no briefing-no swimming policy is strictly implemented. Those who intentionally break the rules will also be sent back to the shore.
. In an nutshell, participants must: swim at least 5 meters away from the whale-shark; stay away from the mouth and tail area; never touch the animal; never feed it; never use flash photography; never make wild, splashing movements; never poke it with an object and always follow the boat man’s instructions.
. Make sure you bring a waterproof camera or waterproof camera case. You may also bring your own life vest and snorkel gear.
. The time limit for the entire activity is set at 20 minutes (max) per group. This regulation was made to accommodate more tourists and to lessen the stress to the gentle giants. After the whale shark encounter, the boat man will take you back to the shore.
. You may order breakfast in advance before heading out to the whale-shark feeding area. Sadly, fresh fish produce are not readily available since all the fishermen in the area have switched to tourism. You can expect canned food and eggs for breakfast. Some resorts may offer buffet breakfast.
. During your free time, you can get some rest or go beach combing.
. By 9:00AM, you can rent another boat to check out the reefs around Oslob and Sumilon Island (~P500).
. To go to Tumalog (aka Toslob) waterfalls, take a tricycle (~P50) and ask the driver to wait for you. You can also go on foot – about 3 kilometers from the beach resort main road. There are no entrance fees to go there.
. By lunch time, your group should be all packed and ready to hit the road.
. Take a bus bound for Cebu City but tell the driver you are getting off at Boljoon town.
. The Boljo-on church is the oldest standing original stone church in Cebu. I boasts of intricate wall carvings and ornate ceiling paintings.
. Not far from the church’s white sand beach front stands the ruins of one of a fortress (balwarte). A number of similar structures were built along the coastline of Cebu, from Santander to Carcar, between 1700-1900s, thanks to the direction of Fray Julian Bermejo. Maybe you can spot the others along the road.
. After the short sightseeing, it’s time to head back to the city.
. Feeling hungry on the ride home? Why not try some chicharon Carcar – best crispy pork skin (with fat!) in Cebu. Peddlers climb the buses so just wait for them (price is at 3 small packs for P100).

. If you missed the trip to “Bato-Oslob”, you can wait for the next bus or take the “Oslob” trip (P144). Get off at the town center and then just take another bus to Barangay Tanauan (P11 non-airconditioned). Tricycles are also available (around P85 per trip).
. The best time to swim with the sharks is early morning, to avoid the tourist crowd. In case you decide to go later in the morning, keep in mind that the whale-shark encounter only happens around 0530H to 1300H. After that, the sea giants go on with their routine swimming around the neighboring islands.
. If you plan to stay overnight, you may schedule a side trip to the coastal town of Santander – southernmost tip of Cebu which is famous for its dive spots.
. A visit to Dumaguete is well within reach as boat ferries travel back and forth Santander. Travel time is about 30 minutes.
. Another option is to do a full-stopover trip on the way home. After Boljo-on, you may visit the following town centers having similarly interesting churches: Alcoy, Dalaguete, Argao, Sibonga and Carcar.
. Something of interest as well are the hot spring resorts in Argao area – I have yet to visit them but you will pass by some of them along the road.

Expenses: around P1430 per pax
Budget estimate for 4 people:
---- Hotel accommodation
100 Taxi fare
620 bus fare
200 resort day use/entrance fees
1300 whale-shark fees
1000 snorkeling
500 other fares
1600 meals and snacks
400 misc (other fees, tips, etc.)

Traveling with a kid = lunch anywhere

St. Francis of Assisi Church in Naga

Unexploited coastal towns - I can work with this!

Butanding (whale-shark) watching not too far from the shore.
Fishermen-turned-tour guides

These are actually juveniles compared to the whale-sharks in Donsol

Swimming with sharks!

Father Tapi's resort (P50 entrance)

The more famous signbord (P100 entrance)

If you look closely, behind the banana leaves, you will see a fortress.

If not for Sinulog the next day, I will stay another night!

*Itinerary and expenses recorded on January 2012


  1. hi, am so impressed with your detail explanation of your trip! am sure you have a good time!!

    we are also interested to go for whale shark viewing in april. :))

    we will fly into cebu city, and then will go to south bus terminal to take a bus to oslob, alight at barangay tanauan.

    we are wondering is there a possibility to head back to cebu city right after the viewing?

    where do we take the bus? the same place where we alight? how often is this bus service? every hour?

    do you have the bus schedule for this bus service from cebu city to oslob?

    my email is hongli_hl@hotmail.com. hope to hear from you soon... many thanks. :))

  2. @hongli

    Thanks for visiting blog!
    You can definitely go back to Cebu City after the whale shark activity. just wait for the bus along the road, where you alight.

    The bus service is intermittent (depends on the time it leaves from Lilo-an port), but you should be able to catch a bus within an hour.

    Last daily bus from Oslob to Cebu City is around 9PM.

  3. thanks indieescape!!!
    have a nice day!! :))

  4. Thanks for the post. You have made my upcoming trip from Cebu to Oslob much easier. I very much appreciate the time you took to post this itenerary.

  5. Hi! Indie Escape, Thanks for the blog very helpful. Just want to know if the P300 fee for whale shark encounter includes the life vest and the P50 trike fee going to Tumalog waterfalls is one-way and per pax? Are the beaches there good for swimming with small kids? White sand?

  6. Hi!Indie Escape, very helpful blog. Just want to know if the P300 fee includes the life vest already? Are the beaches there good for swimming with kids. Does the P50 trike fee to Tumalog is one way and per pax? Does it include long trekking? How's the trail going there? Is it safe for a 6yrs. old kid?

    Appreciate your response.

    1. Hi late response but I'll answer for the sake of other readers -- P300 fee doesn't include life vest/snorkel rental. The beaches are pretty OK for 6 yr old kids, not a lot of sand in some resorts, though (ie Fr. Tapi's doesn't have a sandy front). P50 trike fee is per pax. Thanks for visiting!

  7. helpful blog! planning a trip this July. i hope rates remain the same, if not, minimal increase. do you think this trip is okay/safe for kids? i'm bringing my 3 daughters (9yo, 6yo and 1yo). thanks again!

    1. Hi, I don't recommend taking your kids to the actual whale-shark activity. But the beach is pretty OK to kids. Just choose a resort with a sandy front. I brought my then 2-yr old kid during this trip but he stayed in the resort while I did the Butanding encounter :)

  8. Hi, are there underwater cameras for rent there if i dont have my own? How much? Thank you :)

  9. Hi! I'll be visiting Cebu in a few weeks and would like to do an Oslob day trip while there. Are taking the bus from Cebu to Oslob, and visiting nearby Oslob sites (Tumalog Falls, heritage Boljoon sites) safe to do independently for a foreign solo traveler? Thanks!

  10. Hi, can you also rent gear in Oslob if deciding with scuba dive option? Thanks!

  11. hello it's the whale shark is all year around or they have season to see it ?

    Samantha Siaahaan

  12. Yes the whale watching in Oslob is all year round from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm and after a whale watching you can have a side trip to Sumilon Island in Oslob Cebu or going to Panglao Island in Bohol.

    If you are coming from Manila by plane, the nearest airport in Oslob is Dumaguete Airport....there we can pick you up by pump boat at Silliman beach in Dumaguete City and you'll be in Oslob just less of an hour.

    For more inquiries just call or text 0923-699-4023 (Tekyo Soyoso).

    Thank you.

  13. Yes the whale watching activity in Oslob Cebu is all year round from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm, and if you are came from manila by plane...the nearest airport in Oslob is Dumaguete City Airport and we can pick you there and you'll be in Oslob in less than an hour.

    If you wish for a side trip to Panglao Bohol...we can also bring you there by a pump boat ride.

    For inquiries just contact 0923-699-4023 (Tekyo Soyoso)

    Thank you.


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