Whale Shark Watching in Oslob
Whale Shark Watching is on the bucket list of many people around the world. Since a few years, the “Butanding Tours to Oslob” on Cebu Island are famous with tourists and locals. While many are using local your operators to organize the trip or go from one of the Dive Resorts in Dauin on a day trip to dive or snorkel with the whale sharks, it can also be done by public transports from Dumaguete. This will save some Peso and is good fun. The DINS-Team made this trip recently. We were 5 people; three adults and two teenagers.
How to get from Dumaguete to Oslob
As the Whale Shark Watching is limited to the morning (6:30am to 12:30 noon) one needs to start early. At 6.30 we got on the way from Dumaguete to the Sibulan Seaport just north of the Dumaguete to catch a ferry across the Tañon Strait, which separates Negros from Cebu.
Depending on the personal preferences, on has the choice between a public bus (Ceres Liner) a multicab (small Jeepney) or pedicab (Trike). The bus is only 10 Php per person.From 5:00 am on ferries or pumpoats go each 30 minutes to Liloan until 7:00 pm in the evening.
The regular fare for the fastcraft is 62.00 PHP, for the pumpboat it is 45.00 Php (including 10.00 Php terminal fee). Pumpboat and fastcraft offer discounted rates for senior citizens, students and children.
Ferry Schedule from Sibulan to Liloan and back
From Liloan/Santander to Oslob is another half hour ride. There is always a bus waiting for arriving passengers. There are also Tricycles waiting to bring you to the Whale Shark Sanctuary in Oslob. We paid 200 Php for five persons and were 30 Minutes later at the beach in Tan-awan/Oslob.
All together the DINS Team spend only 560 Peso on fares for 5 persons, getting from Dumaguete to Tan-awan/Oslob
Alternative route from Dumaguete to Oslob
Another option is to get to the Ceres Bus Terminal in Dumaguete and book a ticket for a bus heading to Cebu City. Let the assistant on the bus know where you want to go and they will stop and drop you off at the Whale Shark Sanctuary in Oslob. That way one does not need to leave the bus until you reach your destination.
The Whale Shark Experience in Oslob
Many resorts and sheltered areas have been built since the Butanding were discovered. The one we chose had a fee of 100 Php per head. That included the use of a cottage as well as a safety locker for our belongings.
Three different options for Whale Shark Watching:
Just sitting in a boat 300.00Php – Foreigner 500.00 Php
Snorkel with Whale Sharks: 500.00 Php – Foreigner 1000.00 Php
Diving with Whale Sharks: 600.00 Php – Foreigner 1,500.00 Php
Mask and Snorkel are included in the fee, Scuba gear need to be brought or rented locally separate.
The operators in Oslob also offer underwater cameras for rent for 500.00 Php. If you bring a USB flash drive, they copy all pictures from the camera to your drive. Otherwise one pays additional 50.00 Php fees for a CD.
Before interacting with the Whale Sharks one needs to attend a 5 minutes “seminar” about the rules and regulations for snorkeling, diving or swimming with the Butanding.
After that the snorkel gear and life-vests are handed out and your assigned guides bring you to the beach, where you get on the assigned boat.
Your time with the gentle giants of the ocean is normally limited to 30 minutes. When getting there during the week or early morning on a weekend, this half hour is stretched up to 45 minutes.
All guides and helper at the Whale Shark Sanctuary in Oslob are very helpful. The two assigned to the DINS team helped us with each getting in and out of the boat, took the pictures with the UW camera, carried our stuff and were smiling all the time.
What else to do in Oslob
After the snorkeling with the whale sharks most people are certainly hungry. There are a few restaurants and food-stalls in the area which mainly offer Filipino food and BBQ as well as cold drinks.
The DINS team had a bite to eat and decided to be lazy and just hang around at the beach. One option in Oslob is to visit the Tumalog Falls (also called Mag-ambak Falls or Toslob Falls). The waterfalls are only a 20 minute ride and a rather steep path from the whale watching sanctuary. They are truly beautiful and well worth the few peso entrance fee.
For the way back from Oslob to Dumaguete, we used the same options (trike, fastcraft, bus) and paid again 560.00 Php for five people to get back to Dumaguete.
Prices for the whale shark trip when starting from Dumaguete City
(5 people- 2 local, 1 foreigner, 2 students)
|Transfer Dumaguete Tan-awan/Oslob:||560.00 Php|
|Entrance fee resort (cottage and locker):||500.00 Php|
|Whale Shark Experience (all five snorkeling):||3,000.00 Php|
|UW Camera rental:||500,00 Php|
|Transfers back to Dumaguete from Tan-awan/Oslob:||560.00 Php|
Total for 5 persons
Total 5,120 for the five of the DINS-Team or 1,024.00 Php per head is less than US$ 25.00 and less than 20 Euro per head for an experience many people all over the world have on their bucket-list.
The above mentioned prices don’t include any food and drinks. We think that comes down to ones own preferences. We brought some water and snacks from home and had a bite to eat and some shakes and soft-drinks in Oslob. Altogether we spend less than 1,500.00 Php on food and drinks for the whole day for the five of us.
Additional Advices for a whale shark watching trip to Oslob from Dumaguete
- Bring your own snorkel gear and fins if possible. Some of the rental stuff in Oslob is really crabby and you don’t want to mess up the day with a badly fitting mask or a broken snorkel.
- Bring a T-Shirt or dive-skin for skin protection. Any kind of lotion is prohibited in the whale-shark sanctuary. If you sit on a boat on the open ocean or snorkel in the sun, the 30-40 minutes in or on the water are enough to burn your skin badly if you are not used to the sun.
- Bring a flash drive. It is just easier to carry than a CD for your pictures of the whale shark encounter, if you don’t have your own camera.
- Drink enough water before and after swimming with whale sharks. Don’t get dehydrated!
Have fun and a great time swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob!
Just drop us a line if you have any comments, questions, suggestions or want to share your own experience with us.
Why do locals pay P500 and foreigners pay P1000. I think this is a disgrace an is racist.
Thank you for your concern. However, just an international example:
Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and Museums introduced a entrance fee for adult tourists, though local people don’t have to pay.
So the conclusion following your argumentation can only be: The UK is even more disgraceful and racist.
Angkor Archaeological Park will set you back US$20 (£13) if you hold a European passport, but precisely nothing if you live down the road in Cambodia.
Pick any tourist destination in the Caribbean and you pay more admission fee in parks as a foreign tourist.
The Colosseum in Rome allows every person on earth who are under 18 to visit for free. They charges full price for non-EU who are older than 18. , but still set a reduced price for EU aged 18-24.
Other countries just use a different wording like “Discounted rates for locals”, however, as you can see, the dual-pricing system is complete normal (not saying it is good practice) all over the globe…. or to use your words, all are racists and a disgrace.
Your talking through your arse. Why not call it long nose tax like everything else in Philippines.
Foreigners always pay more, that in my view is racism
Thank you Mr. Harrison,
you showed in a very impressive way your attitude. You are certainly a very happy person.
It appears you have no clue what you are talking about and may spend some time travelling instead of trying to be a rather ridiculous keyboard-warrior.
We suspect that the fact that you need to pay more for “everything” is rather an “complete arsehole” tax (CAT). Looking at your attitude we believe the CAT is way to low and should be quadrupled for your kind of people.
Anyway, we leave it to our readers to build their own opinion about your pointless gibberish.
I visit Philippines every year, In fact I wont be using your site again. You have a bad attitude. Plenty of forums to visit of Cebu. So goodbye.
RE: pricing differences . .Tourist V’s Local People.
One price for all . . . .split difference between the High and Low fee ?
You are just a penny-pinching person.
Dear Jim Harrison,
if there is a prototype of an asshole, it must be you. You are the kind of person giving other foreigners living here a bad name. You are no centavo better as that dog-guy.
Even worse, calling the Philippines racist at first place and after that can’t take a factual correct reply a bad attitude.
to admin, thanks for creating this website, the only one with up to date information. Feel free to delete this comment if to aggressive, but that Jim Harrison moron simply gives me nosebleed.
More Power to you
It’s not racist, Harrison. Perhaps you should remember that your housekeeper probably earns 200 – 300 pisos a day, the guy who mows your lawn with a whipper-snipper for 3 hours gets maybe 500 pisos, and you probably pay the guy who cuts your hair 40 pisos. Back in your grand country (in which you should probably stay) you probably pay 800 pisos for a haircut. Mate.
hi, im from dumaguete. can i do this on a daytrip only? is it possible for me to go back from oslob to dumaguete on the same day? thank you 🙂
Yes, you can. The article above is from a trip we did in just one day.
we plan to go last week of february. would that be a good time to go whale watching? also, are tour guides available and how much do they charge?
Good day to you, there is no bad time to see the whale sharks. The waters can be a little bit rough all around the year, however, the area itself is usually ok. Each tour agency in Dumaguete is offering this trips. We actually did it like described in the article above, no need to feed another mouth, who would not do anything different.
Best Regards and Happy New Year
No need to feed another mouth ? Who is feeding your mouth, Rosario ? Your readers, your sponsors, your local businesses, etc… But you are saying that people should not use a local tour-operator who might think it is worth to travel hassle free “door-to-door” ? or do we (tour operators, travel agencies, guides…) not have to eat or feed our children ? I think we should stop feeding the mouths of internet advertisers.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. The second we have the opinion that somebody needs a tour-operator to step into a bus to go whale-shark watching, we will say so.
And yes, we are absolutely convinced that there is no need to feed anyone, like an add-on agent or operator to go to to Oslob from Dumaguete.
There are certainly tours where some travel agents are needed, Oslob is none of them.
We highly apologize that it is not in your interest as a tour operator, and that we don’t emphasize to waste money on operators for trips which are completely “hassle-free door-to-door” (to use your sweet phrase) doing them without some useless add-on.
Now, just to add to it. At least we are stating real facts, real experience and real images, and don’t steal pictures from google of jumping dolphins from Honduras to promote tours like you do on your advertising pages on social media.
So, if Tour-operators like you promote their tours with stolen content and images, we certainly can not recommend to use them.
As a matter of fact using stolen and copyrighted content to extract money from customers like you do to promote your business is about as lousy as a tour-operator can get.
Speaking of Dumaguete, up to this point, we came across 1 (one) single reliable tour-operator in Dumaguete. If we get mails asking for special tours, we always recommend him since many years. And it might be too hard for you to understand, but this operator is NO advertiser, NO sponsor and we DON’T get any commission. Angelo and his crew are just reliable, experienced and professional operators since 20 years.
Kind regards and happy content stealing to you
Thank you for your reply. Since we only started our South Cebu Tours this year, we are still working on our website and our eco-packages. We have experienced all our tours on first hand and all imagines that will be shown will be our personal photos. No need to accuse us of “stealing’ promo material.
We are in the travel industry since 40 years, and now wish to promote South Cebu Tours in Dumaguete and don’t want to start on a “false foot” in Dumaguete. Therefor it would be nice to meet in person, once our packages are published, let s say over a cup of coffee at Casablanca. Regards
Just for the record … the jumping dolphins is certainly the most stolen jumping dolphin picture of the whole wide internet. The image is taken off the coast of Honduras, which is pretty far from the southern part of Cebu. However, as you are that long in the travel industry, of course, you might even be the originator and copyright holder of the image as you took it when visiting Honduras.
If that is the case, please accept my dearest apology 🙂
and that’s where I think this topic can end.
Thank you for your helpful article.
My husband and I are planning to go to Philippines for our honeymoon this February, and we also plan to go to Oslob. There is only one problem that we do not know how to travel from Oslob to Dumaguete or to travel from Moalboal to Dumaguete. Would you please kindly give us clear instructions on it?
Thank you very much.
How to get there from Dumaguete and back is pretty much described in the article. From Moalboal are several tour operators offering trips to Oslob. You also can take public buses. As the location is at the main-street, the bus can directly drop you off at the whale-shark sanctuary.
i enjoyed reading this articles it made me more interested to go there .. am always visiting dumaguete and i never tried to visit oslob which is very near .. im doing trips in a budget .. ill be in dumaguete 2nd week of feb 2016 .so if in case ill visit there can u recommend the name of the resort u visited which i find so cheap a 100 bucks for the cottage and locker.. so would be easy for me to look for it as am goin to be alone to see the wonder of oslob.. the price of 500 for swimming and snorkelling w whalesharks is not bad at all.. Also if im going to see the falls is it accessible to travel there? lThank u and more power !!! see you soon Cebu!
Sorry, we can not remember the name of the place. There are several just in the area and all are inexpensive. You also can get Habal-Habal driver there to bring you to the waterfalls.
Enjoy your trip and best regards
Is Sibulan – Santander ferry schedule actually for now?
While we do not know right now in this minute, it is the same schedule since many years
Hello. Thank you for the article. Very useful. I would like to know if would be possible to take same Ceres line bus from Oslob to Cebu, instead of comingback to Dumaguete. Our plan is going from Dumaguete to Oslob, do the Whale Sharke snorkle. Then go to Cebu from Oslob in the afternoon. Any info for that last part?Buses, jeepneys, schedules and prices? Thanks in advance
Hello, thank you for your comment.
You will have no problem catching a Ceres Bus (or others) getting from Oslob to Cebu City.
If you get to Oslob early. You might even get in a visit at the monastery in Simala which should not be missed when you pass there anyway.
Wow, it’s really a fantasic website for those travellers who are going to visit Dumaguete! I am doing my travel plan now as I will have a trip to Dumaguete in mid June, I found this website is great helpful! Thank you! I am coming from Xiamen of China…no any travel guide website in Chinese is better than this official site. Really thank you for your great job!
So expecting for the coming trip!
thank you for your compliment. We are happy that you like our website.
We are actually a private run website. You will not find this information on an public government or official site. They don’t go the places we do. We hope to extend this site with more of our trips and of course more info about our lovely island.
Hello. My question is rather embarrassing but might as well ask. How do you get in and out of the boat? I am obese (220 lbs) and my concern is tipping the boat over when I try to get back on it. ? Would it be safe?
your question is totally legit. Getting into the water is the easiest task. Getting back into the boat can be a bit harder, however, those small outrigger boats are surprisingly stable and you will not tip it over.
Getting back on the boat as a big person might not be the most aesthetic picture the world has ever seen, but the boatmen are really used to have bigger passengers and know how to assist them. The “worst case scenario” would be that you don’t get back in the boat, and just hold on to it (or a rope) while the boat goes back the few meters to the shore-line, so you just walk out of the shallow water.
Bottom-line, you won’t have big problems and can fully enjoy your trip to the gentle giants. If you go there, let us know how you liked it.
Hi! We went yesterday, and it was so fun. My concern about getting back on the boat wasn’t a problem at all. I did it gracefully. Haha. It was kind of scary at first to swim with the whale sharks, but after a few minutes of observation they were indeed gentle giants. We even caught on video a part where my back side was “tapped” by the shark while it was turning around. So glad I was able to exoerience this. 🙂
Thanks for getting back to us to share your experience. We are happy for you that you had a great time and enjoyed the trip to the gentle giants. This is without any doubts a great experience which should not be missed out on.
hi. this is really a helpful information to everyone especially to us who are planning a 4day trip this july from bacolod city. we’re all excited to visit dumaguete and oslob as well ..
we are just hoping for a fine weather (crossing fingers:-) .. Just wanna ask if is it possible to have a sidetrip in Siquijor if we arrive dumaguete city around 1pm from bacolod? .. we dont want to have a night in siquijor 🙂 ..
Thank you! God bless!
If you arrive at 1pm, it makes not much sense going to Siquijor without staying over night.
All the best for your trip to Dumaguete and to the gentle Giants in Oslob.
At wha time is the best for us to do the whale shark snorkel what is yhe schedule hour the boatmen
The best time is early morning like 7:00am during weekdays, no weekend or public holidays
How’s the weather on September? I hope it’s nice…. I’ll be there 😀
over the last years especially the first half saw some great weather. Have a great trip.
hi im travelling this january from tagbilaran to dumaguete and i think i just need to hire the fastboat going to oslob right? If we arrive at 1pm is there any boat that we can bring us to sumilon island to see the sand bar?and tumalog falls?
no, you can not just hire a fast boat in Dumaguete and go to Oslob. There will be no boat at 1pm to bring you to Sumilon Island and Tumalog Falls.
I have a couple of questions.
1) I am arriving Cebu near midnight and intend to catch a bus straight to Oslob. Is there locker at the Oslob whale briefing station that a large luggage can be stored? And are the lockers safe (for the half hour away)?
2) I am not a good swimmer. How deep is the area where the whale feeding is? I read it is about 8m deep and 200m out.
Thanks and appreciate all replies!
Thanks for your comment and question.
1.) The locker there are not big enough for huge luggage. There are some simple resorts and hotels nearby where you can surely store your luggage for a few peso. However, we think if you give one at the Orientation station 50 peso, they will take good care of it too. We never tried, though, but that is what we probably would do.
2.) You will get a life-vest, so no worries.
Have a safe trip and a great time.
Thank you for this very informative post! 🙂 So excited for my trip!
Just wondering what the ethical implications are of a trip like this? Are the whale sharks baited to coax them nearer the boats? I have heard horror stories of many of them carrying scars from impacts with tourist boats, and although I’m desperate to swim with them, I’d like to be sure they are not harmed or put in danger for the sake of us tourists. Are there rules and regulations (in addition to the ‘no lotion’ rule) in place to account for the whale sharks welfare?
It is up to each and everybody to make up their mind, Some believe “horror stories” from bandwagon environmentalists, other believe what they see themselves or make a real research. There is a 80 page study over 1,5 years from an Norwegian group of scientists available. It mentions amongst many other things the number of whale sharks passing through, the amount of bait in the relation to the food intake of a whale shark and many more interesting points. Bottom-line, it is certainly not a perfect solution there, but neither are the hundreds of thousands of football fans driving with their cars to the stadium each and every week, or the thousands of locals in Dumaguete who need to use tricycles for a distance one can easily walk in 5 minutes.
1. Is there a public beach area at Tan-Awan where the Whale Shark watching takes place? Personally, I am opposed to the feeding of any wild creature as means to attract them, but as a good swimmer I have no problem swimming out to the area where the whale sharks appear.
2. And yes, I am opposed to the two tiered price structure. I live here, my stepfather and wife are both Filipinos and they also do not agree with the practice of charging guests and visitors more than locals. You will not find this practice prevalent in economically developed nations. The same goes for Senior discounts. Most businesses (not all) here require a government issued Senior ID to avail a senior discount. The western nations in which I have lived and visited require no such stipulation. Regardless of race, color or creed you can walk into any establishment in America, show proof of age (even of you look 55-60 they won’t even ask for proof) and take advantage of a senior discount. Actually, there is a three tiered system here. One for foreigners, one for locals and one for Filipinos from a different province. I have seen this in El Nido (I lived there) and other places too. And no, it is not a matter of being cheap. We always tip for good service and consider the needs of others. Our thoughts are based on marketing research and personal business experiences. When the price structure is equal for all…consumerism flourishes because of positive reviews of a given service or product.
Thank you for sharing all the information. This is going to be my guide when I plan my trip in the next couple of weeks. Do they ask for some kind of identification card to prove whether you’re a foreigner or not? I ask because I am an American citizen but of Filipino descent. What am I?
thanks for your compliment. Regarding your question, they probably wont ask for an ID, but as you said yourself, you are an American citizen, that basically answers your question already. Of course if you speak the local language perfectly and don’t show up like a foreign tourist you may safe a few bucks.
Hi. Thank you for this very useful article on how to go to Oslob from Dumaguete.
I assume riding the Ceres Bus from Dumaguete all the way to Oslob (with bus boarding a ferry) will take longer than taking the boat ride?
Yes, it does by quite a bit. Also the ferry is much faster than the Ro-Ro Ferry Ceres buses are using.
If you take the Ferry in SIbulan, there is also a bus usually just waiting on the other side
What a useful website and lovely team of writers. Thank you very much for your hard work.
It is disgraceful to see a reader being abusive to you guys over the pricing scheme. First of all, you guys are just reporting the situation so that genuine travellers like myself can have an idea of what to expect, which I really appreciate. You guys are not policy makers who came up with the price. Second of all, as a traveller who has the privilege of living in a first world country, I am more than happy to pay a few more bucks (less than $3) to give back to the local community. It is also very good to see there are policies to charge a small environmental fee to protect the local ecosystem.
So excited for my upcoming trip. And keep up the good work guys! Much love.
Thank you very much!
We are glad to be of help in any way possible. The DC-Team truly appreciate the support from individuals who are moved by our work. This is the very reason that inspires and motivates us to continue what we do. Hope you have a safe and fruitful trip. Much love from the DC-Team.
Do you have any contact information for the equipment and everything? Thank You!
Sadly we do not. You can try searching for on-site Whaleshark Tour serices instead.