You may have already heard by now about the new buzz going around in social networking sites and in some travel blogs. The once sleepy town of Oslob located just south of Cebu City is now starting to attract thousands of local and international tourists, all thanks to the Whale Watching attraction that just hit the town, whale sharks, that is.
The butanding(Tagalog term) or tuki (local term) started to appear late last year after a fisherman apparently spotted a group of whale sharks swimming in the area. Since then, swimming with the whale sharks at Oslob spread like wildfire. The municipal-controlled Oslob Resorts and Recreation Commission will charge you a considerable amount of PHP300.00 for the registration, which is already inclusive of the boat rental, local guide (1-2 fishermen), and whale food.
You will also need to attend the briefing before you sail out. Do remember the important rules and regulations like: (1) Do not touch, ride, or chase the whale shark; (2) No flash photography since this may shock the whale shark; (3) Viewing is limited to 30 minutes; (4) No feeding other than whale food (krill); (5) Do not restrict normal movement or behavior of the shark; and etc. Otherwise, you will be reprimanded by the fishermen.
Viewing/swimming is on a first-come-first-serve basis, which starts from 6 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. Upon registration, the locals will assign you a "priority" number written at the back of your ticket and you need to present this to the fishermen before they will let you ride the bangka (small boat).
You are also required to wear life jackets, which can be rented for only PHP25.00. For those who want to swim with the whale sharks, you can bring your own gear or you can rent their Speedo snorkeling gear for only PHP100.00. For a small fee and a quick briefing, you can swim with these colossal giants, having fun under the sun.