I just ticked-off one item from my bucket list—to swim alongside a whale shark with my son! Whale sharks (a.k.a. “butandings”) are the largest fish in the sea. There are only a handful of destinations around the world where in-season sightings are almost guaranteed. Lucky, Oslob, on the southern tip of Cebu, is the half-way home to probably the largest school of whale sharks in the world. According to Oslob’s boatmen, Raymond, Lucky 7 and Charming regularly come to feed, and they always bring “new recruits” each day. 0730H Arrival at Oslob The Welcome Committee of Oslob Whale Sharks Center is well-organized. They greeted us at the entrance, and directed our van to the parking lot. Registration fee is PhP500 per person. If you are coming from Cebu city, it is best to leave at o4ooH, Oslob ETA is 0700H.
0735H Briefing & Gear Up The Whale Sharks Center OIC gave a briefing on what to do (and not do!) when the whale sharks approach. He said we can’t touch the whale sharks, I thought it was best to keep a respectful distance from the gentle giants, and resist the urge to touch them or use flash photography. We were not allowed to have sunblock or off lotion on, and all were required to take a shower before loading onto the small boats. Preserving this Magical Experience There are counters that offer photo services (about PhP500) and video too!
At the Whale Pods Enjoying our time with the whale sharks. They come for feeding from early morning till noon.
Runway! Whale sharks look like 747s. It was like watching a runway from above! The thought of swimming alongside them petrified me, but when they proved to be gentle and peaceful I calmed down. I wonder what they tell their deep ocean friends after each encounter near the shore.