Top 10 things you need to know about the Whale Shark Activity in Cebu

Oslob's Whale Shark Watching

This is a summary of my Whale Shark experience in Oslob. Enjoy and I hope this information helps. Let's go!

1. Location and Accommodation
Natalio Bacalso, Tan-awan Oslob 6025, Philippines

For Accommodations check out:
I love this site because they have "pay later" or "pay upon arrival" when booking for rooms. This gives you options to cancel bookings, manage activities and figure out the location, and if transportation works going to your destination. 
Most travelers I know booked from this site. I try to be flexible when it comes to my bookings; I go for whichever site gives me a cheaper price.

2. Transportation and Travel Time

How to get there: 
From the Mactan-Cebu International Airport:
You can take a cab to go to the South bus terminal.  The estimated fare is 250 PHP – 350 PHP, depending on traffic.  Or you can take it straight to Barangay ("Brgy" for short) Tan-awan in Oslob, but we try for the cheapest travel method, which is by bus. 

Alternatively, if you're familiar with Uber and/or Lyft, then you can download and use the mobile app, Grab, to book your transportation. 

Travel time from Airport to South Bus Terminal: 1 hour (depending on traffic)

From Cebu City:
Take a cab or jeepney to South Bus Terminal which is a few meters away from Elizabeth Mall.  The terminal is clean and organized.  Buy your ticket at the counter and make sure to read the board signs placed in front of the windshield mirror before hopping inside the bus.

From the South bus terminal: take the Ceres Bus 

Buses Operate from 1 AM – 9 PM 

Bus Fare: 150 PHP – 180 PHP 
Bus Route: Bato via Liloan to Oslob 
Drop-Off: Brgy. Tan-awan in Oslob 
Travel Time (bus/private car): 3-4 hours

Prices may have changed.  

Another alternative if you're around these two towns:

From Bato to Oslob:
Bus Fare: 40 PHP – 60 PHP
Travel Time: 20 – 30 minutes  

From Moalboal to Oslob: 
Bus Fare: 100 PHP – 150 PHP
Travel Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes – 2 hours (1 hour+ to the town of Bato plus another 20 minutes) 

3. Early Crazy Birds

Be there as early as possible to avoid the crowd and be the first to see them during their feeding time.  We were at the terminal as early as 2 AM to catch the earliest bus.  It will be a long, cold and windy ride ahead of you; the earliest bus trips are not air-conditioned so better keep the window down and try to get some sleep.

Oslob's whale shark watching is located at a small barangay named Tan-awan, a 10-kilometer drive away from the town center of Oslob.  Don't forget to inform the ticket collector — commonly known as "konduktor" — where you're heading.  He's the one who collects the ticket fare and knows the road.

As we drove along the road, it was like we were at a rock concert, banging our heads together and swaying them from left to right as we drifted off to dreamland.  We looked ridiculously tired and I had even planned to film my friends sleeping if only I wasn't so preoccupied with getting some sleep too.  However, I couldn't resist the twilight zone and eventually forgot about it.

There are billboard signs placed near the road for the Butanding briefing area.  However, if you plan to be as early as 6 in the morning like us, then it's more realistic and responsible to inform the konduktor to not miss the stop point.

As I was saying we were busy sleeping and didn't notice that we were almost to our stop, maybe less than 50 minutes away.  Good thing we informed the konduktor ahead of time, and what perfect timing because another group was also heading to the same destination.

4. Take note of the Guidelines

Take note of the Guidelines

5. Butanding Feeding Schedule:  6:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Whale Watching-Only: 300 PHP (Locals) // 500 PHP (Foreigners)

Whale Watching plus Snorkeling (inclusive of equipment): 500 PHP (Locals) // 1,000 PHP (Foreigners)

6. Waterproof Camera Rent (without memory card): 500 PHP
Waterproof Camera Rent (with memory card): 550 PHP
Optional Locker Rent: 20 PHP or just leave your belongings in the fisherman's shack

7. There are diving shops offering whale shark diving packages, price depending on how many divers.  They can accommodate from 1 – 12 divers.

Local Diving Rates: 3,500 - 8,000 PHP
Foreigner Diving Rates: 4,500 - 9,000 PHP 

8. Bucketlist
This was one of the best experiences in my life and one that would surely be in everyone's checklist after trying it.  I would do this again if I could go to Oslob again.  Take a chance to swim with the whale sharks; it's not every day that you get to be with these lovely creatures.

The world is such a mysterious place.  While scientists have discovered and studied many creatures, some of those still puzzle us, and many more are undoubtedly waiting to be found.  To be able to explore and experience the wonders of the world is a gift I am grateful to my Heavenly Father.

9. Back to the City or Sidetrip
Two options:
1. If you're in a hurry or need to catch your flight or a boat ride, then better get back to the city early as the traffic is unpredictable.  Just wait for the Ceres Bus to pass by the road and make sure before hopping in that it has the sign going back to Cebu City. 

2. Check out Tumalog Waterfalls.  There are parked motorcycles nearby the briefing area.  These guys will you take you to there.  Entrance Fee: 20 PHP 

If you still have ample time then you can drop by Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion Church, one of the oldest churches in Cebu.

10. Check out my Butanding Experience:
Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight, and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/BnB booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs, and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks add up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city/food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have one more day to spare why not go do something unique and fun like Wall climbing or a Zip-line adventure in Cebu.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to check out the Hidden Waterfalls in the Southside of Cebu. 


  1. interested on swimming with the butanding,do i need to have reservation?or if so,do you have any contact number or email on them?sorry for asking too much

  2. interested on swimming with the butanding,do i need to have reservation?or if so,do you have any contact number or email on them?sorry for asking too much

    1. Hello lleneth, You don't need a reservation, just get there before the cut-off time which is around 12 noon. Thanks for checking out my post. Cheers!