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Wonderful Whale Shark Snorkeling in Oslob

By on 15. May 2017

The whale shark snorkeling in Oslob is an awesome but very controversial thing. I personally loved it. These animals are something truely special. They are the biggest fish species on earth and fascinate a lot of people. Especially scuba divers like me usually can not get enough of them, because they are so beautiful. You will rarely have the opportunity to see them, so it really is very unique to dive or swim with them.

Whale Shark Snorkeling in Oslob

This post is about a very tense topic I think. I want to try to keep this relevant point/ argument out of this post, because I guess everyone has to make his/ her own opinion about it. I will say what I think in the end though. The topic that I mean is using animals for tourism purposes. Especially feeding them is the main point to discuss here.

But anyway, I rather want to focus on the activity itself and show my appreciation that I could see such beautiful creatures at the whale shark snorkeling in Oslob.

Whale shark snorkeling in Oslob

Whale Shark Snorkeling in Oslob: General information, costs and how to get there

The whale shark snorkeling in Oslob can be found on the southern east cost of Cebu. Cebu nearly lies in the middle of the Philippines. You can reach Oslob by bus. That’s almost the only way besides taking a scooter. It will take you about 4 hours from Cebu City and 1 from the most southern point of Cebu Island (costs: 3$ ruffly – either way).

The whale shark snorkeling in Oslob is one of the bigger tourist attractions in the Philippines and especially on Cebu Island. You will find many hostels an hotels in the area for decent prices as well as restaurant, bars, and street food shops. We stayed at MB`s Sunrise view, which I can definitely recommend. Very nice staff and comfortable rooms.

Oslob itself is a small village. For the local community it is pretty important though, because it is a pivotal point and a fisherman’s place. A Filipino told me so đŸ™‚

The journey itself is quite nice, because of the beautifully shaped landscape.

Markets on the way to Oslob

Sunset in Oslob

Whale Shark Snorkeling in Oslob: Highlights and other things to do

Of course the whale shark snorkeling in Oslob is the main attraction in the whole area. The process is the following:

You go there (preferly early in the morning = way less people), you watch a safety movie, you jump into the water, take a couple videos and pictures with the whale sharks and that’s it. Sounds pretty boring right?

No. It is really great! Honestly it is awesome. If you like unique animals and fun adventures, than this is for you. Even though it is very touristic and really crowded, it is just a cool experience. Whale sharks can get up to a length of 18m. Just massive!

When my girlfriend and me jumped into the water, it was a moment of pure amazement and fascination. You will not believe what you see. These animals are just massive. The first one I have seen had a length of about 8m. I was blown away by it. I mean 8m… how crazy is that?

Whale sharks are huge – 8m ones

They get even bigger

When I raised my head out the water, the Asian boat driver was like:,, What are you looking at?” I said:,, That one (the 8m one).” He was like:,, Mate are you stupid? Look there!” So I got down again and looked left of me. In the distance I could see the siluette of a giant. It swam towards me. I could really not believe what I was seeing. This thing was about 12m đŸ™‚ Just gigantic. Absolutely crazy…

The 12m one from the side

12m one coming while eating during the whale shark snorkeling in Oslob

And it was so gentle. Such a lovely animal. I could not imagine how a 18m would look like. Just brilliant. It really is. After 30 minutes it’s all over. Time goes by really fast. We all know that it does in general, but in the water with these beautiful creatures the time goes by like it’s nothing. One finger snap and it’s finished…

But there is a lot of other stuff to do near Oslob. It’s also possible to spend a day on Sumilon Island, which is a small paradise island close to Oslob. A day trip is pretty expensive though, because it is a private island (about 30 $). You can also sleep there, but because Sumilon Island is a private island, sleeping there is even more expensive.

Sumilon Island from far away

Sumilon Island is a small private island

Other highlights in the area besides whale shark snorkeling in Oslob are the Kawasan Falls Canyoning tour and the Tumalog Falls. I have only done the first one and it was brilliant. So there is enough to do for every kind of interest.

Kawasan Falls

Whale Shark Snorkeling in Oslob: What I have learned

As said, the whale shark snorkeling in Oslob is controversial. Nevertheless I did it without having regrets. Reason being is, I quickly realized on the Philippines trip again, that you should just always do what you want to do. ,,Just do it” is one of many travel lessons that I have learned on my travels so far. It does not really matter what others say. Of course it is not good, that the whale sharks get fed. But, if I don’t do it, it does not make it any better really.

Either everyone stops the whale shark snorkeling in Oslob, the goverment stops it (which they won’t for obvious reasons) or the Filipinos stop it themself. But then everyone would lose their job, which is also not a good thing. It has positives and negatives I think. So think twice before you judge đŸ˜‰

Because of all these problems, I decided to “just do it”. This time I am not recommending anything. It’s up to you whether you wanna do it or not. I can only say for myself, that it is an exciting experience and I learned/ got reminded of something important again đŸ™‚



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  1. Reply


    1. January 2018

    The whales sharks in Oslob have been regular visitors to the area even before the tourism boom began. There had been no feeding before but the sharks always come and the fisherfolks didn’t really know why. They even hated them as those massive fish always ruined their fishing nets. They even killed some of them as they considered them as pests. When they learned that they could make them as a tourist attraction, they learned to love the animals. They got educated about the fish from advocacy and animal welfare groups. Feeding doesn’t make the activity abusive to the fish. Even if you feed them or not, they will always come to the area because some experts suggest that the area must be rich with planktons that they feed on. Whale sharks are filter feeders eating only tiny krills. The area is believed to be a spawning ground for krills which make the sharks get attracted to the area. Whether they are fed or not, they always come. Besides, the sharks are not abused. If feeding them is an abusive way, then what do you think the zoos around the world are doing with animals being kept in a restricted area or caged and prevented from going places. Those sharks are not kept or restricted in anyway. So where’s the abuse there?

    • Reply


      3. January 2018

      Hi Leo,

      thanks for your long and very informative comment. I am very happy about it đŸ™‚

      To answer your question:

      Yes you are completely right with the “zoo” part, even though I have to say, that this is an ambivalent topic, because we never know, how the animals got there. Have they been saved from violence? Have they been saved from clearing woodland or anything similar? Or have they been caught, only to put them in the zoo and make them an attraction?
      Very hard to say in my opinion, which is why I can’t really make up my mind about that đŸ™‚

      What I think about the whaleshark situation is a bit different. It is a sensitive topic, so it is not that easy to find the right words.

      First of all, as I said in the first couple sentences, I don’t want to make up an argument about the whole topic, because everyone should make up their mind on their own. With this post I only wanted to inform about the activity itself.

      Secondly, as said in the article, I think it is not a good thing to feed WILD animals, because, if you do it long enough, they unlearn to hunt for themselves. Additionally, they are called WILD animals for a reasons đŸ˜‰ The same thing happens in a zoo. Animals, that get fed all the time, stop hunting and eventually won’t be able to survive in the wilderness anymore, which is a sad and unnatural at the same time.

      On the other hand I think it would not be good to totally stop the whaleshark feeding, because there is a whole economy based around it. Many people would loose their jobs, which would be very bad.

      This is why I said in the article, that I wouldn’t want to make ANY decision about the whole topic, because it has pros and cons on both sides đŸ™‚

      I hope I could answer your question. If not, let me know and I try again đŸ˜€



Christian "Volle" Vollmert
Hamburg, Germany

I am a german dude, who loves travelling and exciting adventures from bottom of his heart. I want to inspire other people to get out of their comfort zone and travel the world. Plus I really want to show how much you can learn from traveling and what kind of personal development as a human being comes along with it!


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