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Guide to Snorkeling with Whale Sharks & Sumilion Island | Oslob, Philippines

Get to Oslob from Cebu

Upon arriving in Cebu from Hong Kong, I headed straight for the South Bus terminal to get to Oslob. It’s about a 3-hour bus ride, but the bus was air-conditioned and even had wifi. At the South Bus terminal, as about Oslob or look for the “Ceres Bus” going to “Bato via Liloan.” My driver even dropped me off closer to my accommodation than the stop in Oslob, so you can show them your booking to see if it’s on the main road that runs right through the town.

Oslob Town

To be honest, there’s not a whole lot going on here besides the main tourist attractions. It’s a tourist town, but there are some decent restaurants to choose from and a 7/11. You can pretty much walk a straight line along the main road through Oslob to get from your accommodation to the “city center.”

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Restaurants in Oslob

A few decent spots to check out include Le Bistrot, Paul n Madz, and VLK pizza if you’re looking for a break from Filipino food. I loved the pork and chicken Adobos I had at both Le Bistrot and Paul n Madz, and the food here is very cheap.

Beer is also very cheap – try the Filipino San Miguel Pilsen for a refreshing, light beer option.

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Whale Sharks

Now, to see the whale sharks, the attraction that Oslob is most well-known for. We woke up super early and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise while waiting for our ride over to the entrance point on the water, where we’d be able to swim with these majestic giants.

Waiting was the name of the game for this excursion. After a safety briefing, we waited two hours with tons of other tourists for our chance to swim with the sharks. I will say that this experience probably pales in comparison to seeing whale sharks by chance out on a dive trip or snorkel, but for most people who do not dive or get those chances, it’s an excellent way to get a taste of how huge whale sharks really are. Bring water and be prepared to be sitting around for a while, but also be warned the toilets are disgusting at the tourist site. In hindsight, we should’ve gotten breakfast at one of the little bodega restaurants on the beach while waiting to kill some time.

The whale sharks tour cost about $25, and you’re in the water for about 30 minutes. It includes your lifejacket and a mask and snorkel. We had at least 4 swimming around our boat and us in the water the entire time. I wouldn’t do this tour again, but I’d say it’s worth it if you want a guaranteed experience of swimming with the biggest fish in the sea.

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Sumilon Island

After our exciting morning of swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob, we decided to tick the other big tourist attraction of Oslob off our list – Sumilon Island. Just a short boat ride away, this tiny island is host to some gorgeous beaches and a little bit of a nature walk. There isn’t much to do here, and you can’t access the resort if you aren’t staying on it, so I’d highly recommend bringing food and drinks and don’t plan on being here all day. There also isn’t a ton of shade – so make sure you have sun protection! The water sparkles a spectacular blue, and you’ll definitely get tan in the blazing sun on this island.

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And that about wraps it up! There’s not a whole lot to do in Oslob apart from the main tourist attractions, but it’s a relaxed little jaunt to enjoy when exploring the Philippines. We stayed at Charlotte’s Inn, a budget backpacker accommodation, which was nothing fancy but was ridiculously cheap and had everything we needed.

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