There are a few ways to get between Tagbilaran, Bohol and Oslob, Cebu. The first is to charter your own boat from the harbour across, however these are local, unlicensed boats and it is a fairly long crossing so may not be the safest option. You can fly from Tagbilaran airport to Cebu city airport but be ready for the 3-4hour bus down to Oslob once over on Cebu island. The option we chose was to get a ferry across to Dumaguete and then another one across to Cebu island and a short bus up to Oslob.
Our guesthouse was called Sascha’s Resort. We picked this because it was cheap but it did mean we were in a room with 2 double beds that was only really big enough for one. Unfortunately the pool had been drained for renovations but there was a staircase down into the sea from the porch area so that evening we went and splashed around in the water using the little outrigger seats and watching the reverse sunset. Be aware in the water for the urchins on the floor and the fact there are venomous sea snakes which thankfully I didn’t see but the others all saw as it swam past my legs.
The following day we had booked a private package to hit the 2 big attractions around Oslob. The first required an early start to be out before sunrise to head slightly down the coast to go and swim with whale sharks. We had seen articles online about how magical this experience was however when we arrived we realised we were certainly not alone. There were hundreds of people there. We had a short lecture on the rules about interactions with the sharks and then trooped down to the shore to file into the boats to head out to where the sharks were swimming. My go pro chose that moment to run out of battery even though it had been plugged in all night so I wasn’t able to get any photos but there were so many whale sharks in the water and they were amazing creatures. That being said the whole set up was so touristy and I really had to question the ethics. The sharks swam alongside local boats who were definitely feeding them. Although I loved seeing these beautiful fish I don’t think I’d do it if I’d realised the circumstances prior to going, I’d try and find a place that makes the whole process more natural and ethical.
In the afternoon we went to Kawasan Falls to go canyoneering. To get there we had a short motorbike ride then a mini hike. The route once in the canyon consisted of jumping off rocks into the water where the drops got gradually larger as we made our way down the route. There were also natural slides, short walks between pools, waterfalls and a large rope swing. The landscape we were travelling through was absolutely stunning and the activity itself was amazing fun. There were options to skip the bigger drops if you aren’t keen on heights so this made it a perfect itinerary for all of us. I can not recommend the Kawasan Falls canyoneering enough, a must do if visiting the Philippines.
We then went back to out guesthouse and spent the evening walking into the local town where we found a pizza house for dinner. The next day we travelled the 4 hours up to Cebu City to the airport to fly to our next destination, Palawan.
Have you ever been somewhere that offers more ethical encounters with whale sharks? Any recommendations for other places around the world where we could do some amazing canyoneering experiences?