So finally after a long time of being in the making we're finally sharing our adventures in Oslob, Cebu. You've probably heard about the whale sharks after more than a dozen of the country's celebrites have posted each of their encounters with these gentle giants. For most Cebuanos and Negrenses, going to Oslob is no hassle. The town is located near the southern tip of Cebu Island making it very accessible to most towns in Negros Oriental. From Cebu city, it would take 2-3 hours to reach Oslob by bus.
We've made a couple of trips to beaches but this one is different. Surely we had a lot of fun with our fishy encounters in Virgin island, Bantayan, but this time we''ll try to get close and personal with the biggest fish in the world. The Whale sharks in Oslob won't be the last of these encounters but this one will be crucial as it will determine how soon we can have the next one.
Whale sharks or known by Filipinos as Butandings have large mouths and bodies resembling that of a whale and feeds mostly on planktons. Here in Oslob these cute giants are fed with small shrimps, and they seem to be loving it.
As soon as we got to the resort who services tourists for whale shark watching, we immediately got our gears and ourselves ready for the swim. But since whale sharks are sensitive animals we need to go through a short briefing on the do's and dont's when we're near them. There has been no reports of whale sharks posing dangers or threats to humans because most of the time it's the other way around. I remember when my first teacher asked us to find among the pictures of animals posted on the board the most dangerous one, my classmate had their fingers pointing on lions, tigers and snakes, but my eyes were fixed on a photo of the Philippine president. I was told I was wrong then, but now one thing is clear, I was a child with a gift.
So enough of the off-track discussions on who's dangerous, and lets start the plunge. With our jackets and snorkels on we boarded a the bangka (canoe) which will take us to where the whale sharks are. On a weekend like this you wouldn't be the only one wanting to catch a glimpse of the Butandings so expect some company.
At first I was scared when I started seeing them on the surface, they had such huge mouths and bodies that I think they could swallow me without a hassle. I paid for this and I came a long way to have this opportunity so I had to cast my fears aside. As soon as I plunged into the water and saw one whale shark swim right in front of me at a distance of about less than a meter, I was ecstatic. They're the cutest big thing I've ever laid my eyes on. They were gentle in their movements filtering the tiny shrimps fed to them by the local fishermen, and sweet in sticking their heads on the surface as if begging for more food. There is that feeling that gives you a surge of endorphines (happy hormones) that you can't help but smile. Even while writing this I still can't help but smile.
I thought thirty minutes was too long to just go and see how they look like and what they do, but I didn't notice the time while I was swimming with them. Before I knew it, my time with these adorable cuties is over and we had to head back to the shores. Well, it was definitely worth it. I suggest you go swim with them in the water but make sure to prioritize your safety as the current can sometimes be very strong.
We rested a little in our cottage, ate lunch and changed clothes. We need to charge a little bit because the whale sharks were not the only reason we went on this trip to Oslob. On the second part of the day, we had to go hike a little to see Oslob's Tumalog Falls. We rode a motorcycle to take us to the entrance of the trail that leads to the falls. When we got there, we had to start the hike.
The track wasn't so long and there was enough scenery for us to stop and steal some shots. Scenes were filled with stones, trees, mountains, clouds, and sun. It was undeniably a beautiful sight, but with the summer sun it can get extremely hot.
It was a rewarding feeling to finally reach the falls. The cold water falling down from above satisfied our bodies tortured by the hot summer sun. The stones were covered in what looked like thin curtains of water dropping from above, illuminated by strips of sunlight escaping from the shade of the trees. The tiny droplets illuminated by the sun creates a magical effect as it sparkles its way down.
As soon as we have satisfied ourselves with the beauty of Tumalog falls, we had to head back. Now this is the challenging part. Our way down here was easy but the way up is twice as hard. All energy must be focused on our trembling legs as we struggle our way back up. Finally when we were all settled we drove back to the resort were we once again recharged ourselves with food and rest.
The encounter with the whale shark was definitely worth it and the hike to Tumalog falls, although exhausting was definitely fun. This trip was crucial as it will determine if there will be a next one. Well, I guess I've had enough shares of smiles and laughter to conclude, that "Yes!", there will definitely be a next one.