Oslob is the place for another kind of beach adventure. It’s not the white sand beach that you imagine when you think of summer vacation. In fact, I wouldn’t call it white sand but white stones. But Oslob is among the most special beaches because of whale shark watching in Barangay Tan-awan.
At Oslob, you watch and swim with the gentle giants we locally refer to as butanding.
How to go to Oslob
At Cebu South Bus Terminal, ride a bus going to Oslob and inform the conductor to drop you off at Barangay Tan-awan for whale shark watching. You’ll see the below signage at the left side of the bus:
During my vacation in Oslob, I stayed at Lagunde Beach Resort. It’s 15 – 30 minutes away from Barangay Tan-awan. You will reach the resort first before Tan-awan. To go to Tan-awan from the resort, you just need to wait for a bus in front of the resort. All buses will pass by Barangay Tan-awan.
Lagunde Beach Resort Review
I appreciate that they have a nice swimming pool. However, I was disappointed with some things about the resort. The room assigned to me was not really cleaned prior to my arrival considering that I have booked my reservation in advance through their Facebook fan page so they should have taken the initiative to clean it. The bed linen looks dusty and there were lots of insects. So, I had to ask them to clean the room.
It’s good that the room has a television and a refrigerator with drinks. However, everything looks depreciated and the fridge is all rusty.
They have a restaurant but it’s currently close so it’s really better if you’ll bring your own food. I was told by the person I’ve talked to on Facebook that there are restaurants outside the resort. But the truth is, there isn’t any. You will have to ride a tricycle to go to the market. Transportation there is quite hard and it takes around 10 – 15 minutes before you can get a tricycle.
There are really no decent food establishments in the market but they sell grilled meat and roasted chicken at night.
Watching some fish swimming and crawling crabs were my best entertainment in the resort.
I’m just glad that the staff at Lagunde Beach Resort are helpful. They offered me an umbrella when it was raining and provided me a chair while I was waiting for a bus.
Whale Shark “Butanding” Watching in Barangay Tan-awan
You can choose to either just watch the sharks from the boat or to swim with the butandings. If you choose to just watch the sharks, payment is 300 pesos per head and if you choose the latter the fee is 500 pesos per head. There are also underwater cameras for rent for around 100 pesos.
The whale sharks are protected marine animals and there are some guidelines to follow:
- Do not touch the shark
- No more than 6 tourists per shark
- Do not throw trash in the water
- Keep a minimum distance of 4 meters from the shark
- No flash photography (whale sharks are sensitive to light)
- No feeding from tourist boats
* Violation of the rules can lead to imprisonment for up to 6 months.
The whale sharks are hand fed by the fishermen while the tourists enjoy watching. However, environmentalists claim that hand-feeding whale sharks is detrimental to their health.
Though they have rules in Oslob in order to protect those animals, those rules are not strictly implemented. The fishermen really touch the sharks’ faces or mouth while feeding them. The sharks’ skins are really sensitive and touching them can lead to infections and skin problems.
As what I’ve seen, the crowd is also overwhelming and it’s clear that the “no more than 6 tourists per shark” rule is not followed. I just hope that it doesn’t stress the gentle giants and I wish that it doesn’t change their natural diet.
Anyway, it’s their main source of income so I hope that they’ll do great in protecting these beautiful marine animals.