After admiring the pristine white sand beach of Casay, Dalaguete, climbing up the uncovered 132 steps staircase of Eli Rock View Deck and sat at the edge just to witness the deep blue ocean along the cove of Boljoon municipality in bird’s eyes perspective; and after indulging myself in the history of Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria or commonly known as Boljoon Church, I headed to the next municipality which is famous for sighting the largest fish in the world, Tan-awan, Oslob.
Tan-awan Oslob was placed on the map as a tourist stop due to the numbers of Whale Sharks that appears meters away from the shore every first half of the day. So if you want to witness these harmless gentle giants swimming in their natural habitat or even swim with them, then Oslob is the place to be.
Because of the growing popularity of this gentle giants in Tan-awan town, millions of tourists flock in this part of Cebu Island annually since then. As you are allowed to swim or see them from early 6am until an hour before noon, you better plan ahead and leave Cebu City before the sun rises. In my own experience, I woke up at two in the morning, headed to the South Bus Terminal of Cebu and took the Ceres bus that departed at 3am. At the time the bus started running, I shut my eyes and just slept on the entire bus ride. Hours later, I woke up due to the sun rays that hit my window-seat and when I check my watch it was already half past six. The bus conductor shouted “Tan-awan, Oslob” then pulled over and I alighted. Even at 6:30 in the morning, the briefing area was already packed with tourist waiting for their turn and eager to see the biggest fish in the world, the whale sharks. So I went to the registration area, paid, and waited for my priority number to be called It took an hour for me to be able to encounter the gentle giants in their natural habitat. Indeed the 30-minute experience I had with them will always be with me wherever I go.
Actually, when you arrive in Tan-awan town, locals will guide you to the jump off area, so no need to worry. But before you can have the unforgettable whale shark encounter, there are few steps you need to follow:
Step 1 : Write your name in the Registration Book
Step 2 : Make your Payment. It vary according to your nationality.
Foreigner – Scuba Diving (w/o gear) : Php 1500
Snorkeling : Php 1000
Watching : Php 500
Local – Scuba Diving (w/o gear) : Php 600
Snorkeling : Php 500
Watching : Php 300
Step 3 : Listen to the official’s 5-10 minutes Briefing and Orientation
Step 4 : Priority number are handed out for verification purposes.
Step 5 : Go to the waiting area and listen to your priority number to be called.
When your number is called, it is your time to put that life jacket on and board on a wooden paddle boat what will shuttle you in and out of the water. After that, all you have to do is enjoy and see these majestic whale sharks up close in their natural habitat and savour this experience of a lifetime!
How to Get to Tan-awan, Oslob Whale Shark Watching:
From Cebu City, take a jeepney, Grab, or Taxi that goes to Cebu South Bus Terminal and take the bus bound for Oslob via Liloan. Inform your bus driver or conductor to drop you off at the town of Tan-awan, Oslob for Whale Shark watching. Bus fare at the present is Php 155 for Air-Conditioned and Php 140 for Non Air-Con. It is a 3-Hour bus ride, so buckle up and enjoy the scenic south coastal view of Cebu.
Tumalog Falls, Oslob
Tumalog Falls is not new to me. In fact it is on my “To Go List” since I first saw it on social media years ago. I have been to Oslob a couple of times but this was my very first time gazing the spectacular Tumalog Falls in my own bare eyes. I stood there in awe doing nothing but mesmerizing the cascading waters flowing from the top down to its turquoise pool basin surrounded with such lush of greenery. Nature is truly amazing.
Tumalog Falls is one unique falls I have seen so far. It was breathtaking and so magical. It seemed that I entered a world of fairies. The falls was huge enough that I felt so tiny sitting and gazing the beauty of the Tumalog Falls. I did nothing but stared at the falls for thirty minutes or so. This natural beauty is absolutely worth the 15 minute motorbike ride up the hill of the Tan-awan town of Oslob.
Before sighting the falls, you have to pay the Php 20 Entrance Fee.
How to Get to Tumalog Waterfalls:
From the town of Tan-awan, Oslob, you can hire a “Habal-Habal” or public motorbike that takes you to the foot of the majestic Tumalog Falls. Mostly, drivers will ask you a round trip fare of Php 120 but thats for 2 persons. Also, don’t forget to let your driver know what time they have to fetch you back to your resort/hotel.
I planned to cross the water of Oslob the next morning to visit Bluewater Resort in Sumilon Island and therefore staying near the town of Tan-awan was the best choice. However I did not know that it was the town’s festival that weekend causing all the accommodations in the area fully booked. I searched for my shelter for the night with great deal of effort but it was undeniably hard. I almost gave up but good thing I did not as I found a vacancy right across the street of the Whale Shark Briefing Area. It was a relief! I paid my hostel and unpacked my things and headed out to fuel my starving stomach.
Poblacion is a 10-15 minute away from the Tan-awan town. If you want some fresh fruits and affordable meal then this is the place you are looking for. In fact, I was surprised seeing lots of foreigners in there dining in this open-air makeshift restaurants along the national road of Oslob. I ordered chicken breast and chicken liver BBQ, Cebuano style sausage BBQ, and fried chicken for my dinner. I was really starving. LOL.
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort
After having breakfast at my hostel in Tan-awan, Oslob, I packed my stuff and checked out. I then hired a motorbike to drop me off at the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort reception area. It is a 3-minute drive. Very near. Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is a private island resort and owns most part of the Sumilon Island. That is why they have their own docking port. So if you are checking in at the resort or going there for a Day-Use, you should alight at the Bluewater Resort Docking Area and not in the public one.
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is a twenty-four hectare island privately owned by the resort itself. This island is famously known for its long stretch of white sandbar, one of the best sandbar in the Philippines. Though Sumilon is a private island, the sandbar is the ONLY public area of the island that is open for beach bummer who wants to see the pristine white sandbar in day time. If you want to experience and indulge yourself in the secluded luxury resort, you have to avail their Day-Use Package which is Php 2000 on weekdays and Php 2500 on weekends and holidays. I know it is a bit pricey but you get what you pay for. The package includes: Resort Entrance, Round Trip Boat Shuttle, Lunch Buffet, Island Activities (Snorkeling, Kayaking Paddle Boat, Island Trekking, Fish Feeding) and Use of Resort Facilities (beach, swimming pool, cottages, and showers.)
The boat we were on was a big one. It can accommodate 80 passengers.
Right: Signs leading you to the resort amenities
I did not really stay that long on the Island. I was even hesitant to pursue my plan in going there that morning due to the intermittent rain and the low pressure that was present on the area. Actually I have been on the sandbar area twice few months ago and did really enjoy my times in there. However, I just want to see the vicinity of the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort this time for further purposes. Upon disembarking the private boat, I was grateful as the smiling and lovely staffs of the resort greeted me under my name then handed out a glass of refreshment. It was very overwhelming. It seemed like I have arrived in my own private island. I totally admire the resort’s hospitable staffs, they showed me around the resort and vigilantly answered all inquiries I had. After that, I just allowed myself to enjoy the rainy weather under one of their cottages while sipping a cup of coffee. And at 10:30 in the morning, I hopped on the boat and 15 minutes later I was back on the mainland cebu already.
My weekend journey was about to end but when the bus was approaching the Municipality of Carcar, I then remembered a cafe in town that serves specialty coffee. I cannot miss this chance. Thus, I paid my fare and alighted near the Gaisano Mall Carcar.
The cafe that I am talking is called LOKAL BREW. It is very easy to find because it is at the far end of the Petron Gasoline Station across the Gaisano Mall. So when you are planning to go there, inform the bus driver or the conductor to drop you off at the Petron Gasoline Station before the Gaisano Mall.
The Lokal Brew cafe’s cozy ambiance was very soothing and relaxing. Their owner which is the house barista as well and the friendly staffs and the were very accommodating. They make sure that you get the coffee you deserve. It is very evident that they are very passionate with what they are doing. And one more thing that really surprised me aside from their hospitable owner/baristas and staffs and their amazingly delicious coffees was the beverage pricings. They were so pocket friendly. If I lived in Carcar, I would love be their daily costumer.
How to get to LOKAL BREW, Carcar:
Address : Petron, Poblacion III Awayan, Carcar, Cebu, 6019
Contact # : +63 977 802 8513
Business Hours : 11:00 – 22:00 (Closed on Tuesday)