We went with the family for a road trip to the south of Cebu from Bacolod. Our destination was to see and swim with the whale sharks.

Whale sharks are commonly known in the Philippines as Butanding. They are giant but friendly whales that grows to a maximum of 40 feet. They hold the record for the largest fish species in the entire world.

Whale shark watching is a popular tourist activity. Swimming with the gentle giants is one of the most exciting things you should do while in Oslob, Cebu.  It’s a great experience for kids and adult alike having this close encounter.

Here are some tips when you are planning to go swimming with the whale sharks:

1. Directly head to the Whale Shark Watching Briefing Area. Pay for the fee and attend the orientation. The fee includes the boat ride fee and a life vest you will be required to use.

With or without own snorkeling gear will still have to pay the fee. Whale shark watching (from the boat) vs snorkeling with whale sharks have different ticket fees.

Oslob Whale Shark Watching Fees

Watching (1 ticket is good for 30 mins) – Php 300 – Local guest | Php 500 – Foreign guest
Snorkeling (1 ticket is good for 30 mins) – Php 500 – Local guest | Php 1, 000 – Foreign guest
Scuba Diving (1 ticket is good for 1 hour) – Php 600 – Local guest (diving gears not included) | Php 1, 500 – Foreign guest (diving gears not included)

Children 3 years old and below are free of charge.

Tip: There are some resorts that offer the same service and you need to pay an additional Php 100/ head on top of the required fee in Whale Shark Watching Briefing Area. So it’s better to go directly to the venue instead of going inside a resort.

2. When traveling with a children, we recommend that you bring your own life vest for kids as they only have adult sizes.

Oslob Whale Shark Watching

3. Bring your own snorkling set or even just swim goggles. While the fee includes the free use of the snorkeling set (adult standard size), it is always better and hygienic to use your own.

4. Bring an underwater camera to document your experience. If you do not have one, there are some groups offering to take your photos/ videos for a fee.

5. Wear rash guard and/or swim wear that can cover and protect your skin as you will not be allowed to apply sunblock when swimming with the whale sharks.

6. Swim and watch from a distance. You are not allowed to touch and come near the whale sharks. During the orientation, you will be reminded of the 5m distance you should maintain when swimming with the whale shark during the 30-minute encounter.

Whale Shark watching activity is done at the Tan-awan, Oslob. Tan-awan Oslob Cebu is located 8 kilometers Southeast from the center of Oslob town.

Read more here on how to get to Oslob.


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