From a faint town that serves as a jump-off point to Sumilon Island, Oslob slowly earned its rightful place in the Philippine tourism map. A fourth class municipality south of Cebu, it attracts local and foreign tourists from its arsenal of attractions, especially the whale shark encounter off its coast.
After manong tricycle driver drove us from Simala Church to the main road, we jumped on an Oslob-bound bus and travelled for about 1.5-2 hours before we perched on Oslob whale-watching center. From there, we were fetched by a crew from Ester’s homestay and settled in our room.
I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls from my previous travels, each is distinctly unique from another and Tumalog Falls is no exception. After lunch, we hired a tricycle that took us to Tumalog falls. From the falls’ entrance gate, we trekked down a steep but paved slope (imagine how hard it is for us to trek back up!)
The beauty of Tumalog Falls is as raw as it can get. Surrounded by lush flora, the water of the falls cascade down the big rocks that seemed molded by the tearing mountain. Standing below the pouring waters is like being showered in the rain but the swamp-like basin is not advisable for swimming.
Sumilon Island is a small island opposite the coast of Oslob, Cebu. It boasts of white sand beaches and world-class dive sites surrounding the island.
The island hosts Blue Water Sumilon Island Resort that bids luxury rooms and amenities within the island. Room rates start at Php10,000 ($227.26) per night but for those who have a tighter budget, they offer a day tour worth Php1,500.00 ($34.09) /person on weekdays and Php2,500.00 ($45.45)/person on weekends and holidays. It includes set lunch, roundtrip transfers from Oslob, and free use of island facilities (swimming pools, kayaking, trekking, and snorkeling).
For those who have an even tighter budget, like us, one can ask Oslob boatmen to take you to the famous shifting sands of Sumilon Island with side trip on one of the snorkeling sites. The owners of the resort allows the boatmen passengers to use the best place of the island, the shifting sandbar.
My friends and I decided to visit the island late in the afternoon so we could capture the sunset from the island but the clouds were not cooperative and hid the sun on their shades. We forewent the chance to see the shifting sands at its whitest and missed the chance for a lovely sunset. This just gave me the chance to come back in this beautiful place.
Whale Shark Encounter
Oslob’s major tourist bandwagon is the whale shark encounter. Locals claim that only in Oslob would the whale sharks come to people because fishermen feed them.
On the second day in Oslob, we didn’t pass up the chance to have the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with the world’s largest fish in the world.
Whale shark encounter in Oslob is currently handled by the local government unit (LGU). They issue the tickets (Php300.00 for whale shark watching, Php500.00 for Filipinos that will get out of the boat to swim with the whale sharks and Php1,000.00 for foreigners) and facilitate an orientation before the actual whale shark encounter.
The fishermen-guide would throw krill near the boat to lure the whale sharks to swim near where the tourists are.
Like a vacuum, whale sharks just open their mouth and sucks in masses of water including the tiny fishes that comes with it.
NOTE: The feeding of whale sharks by fishermen in Oslob has sparked a debate on altering the whale shark’s natural activities.
Where to Stay in Oslob?
Ester’s place is a good choice of accommodation when in Oslob. It is located along the road, just a few walk from the whale-watching center and food options. Security is not a concern for it has a fence and gate that is locked at night. It has its kitchen where you can cook your own food, a living room, and its own bathroom that is shared by occupants of two airconditioned rooms that can accommodate 3 pax each. During our stay, no one was occupying the second room so we had the whole house all by ourselves.
ESTER’s homestay (09235577613 / 09332233784)
OUR OSLOB EXPENSES:
- Simala Main Road to Oslob bus fare: Php87.00/pax
- Lunch at a local carinderia: Php185.00/group of 3 pax
- Habal-habal from Ester’s homestay to Tumalog falls to Oslob whale watching area: Php100.00/pax
- Entrance Fee in Tumalog Falls: Php20.00/pax
- Sumilon boat transfer and snorkelling: Php1,200.00/boat. Our boatman was manong Tikyo (+63908-770-0018)
- Lodging at Ester’s homestay: Php1,000.00/room for 3
- Whale Shark Interaction: Php500.00/pax