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Saturday, February 23, 2013

How to get there: Whale Watching Butanding, Oslob Cebu, Philippines

Swam with the famous Whale Shark "Butanding"

How to get there: Cebu-Oslob
Location: Natalio Bacalso, Tan-awan Oslob 6025, Philippines

From the airport:
Take a taxi to South Bus Terminal, from the bus terminal look for the Ceres Bus bound to Bato then alight at Oslob. 

From Cebu City:
Head to South Bus Terminal, a few walks metres away from Elizabeth Mall. The terminal is clean, organized and don't worry you'll never get lost inside. Buy your ticket in the counter and make sure to read the board signs placed in front of the windshield mirror before hopping inside the bus.

Transportation and Travel Time
From Airport to South Bus Terminal: 1 hour ( depends on the traffic )
Taxi Metre Fare: 60-100 php

Buses Operates from 1 AM - 9 PM 
From South Bus Terminal to Oslob:
Ceres Bus Fare (non-air-conditioned) :150+ php
Ceres Bus Fare (air-conditioned) : 155 php
Travel time : 2-4 hours ( depends on the traffic )

Another alternative if you're around this two towns:
From Bato 
Trave time: 20-30 minutes  
Ceres bus: 30 php. 

From Moalboal 
Travel time: 2 hours (1 hour plus to the town of Bato plus another 20 minutes) 
Ceres bus: 100 php.

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, be early as much as possible . It's a long cold and windy ride ahead of you, earliest bus trip are non 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 kilometre drive away from the town center of Oslob. Don't forget to inform the ticket collector or commonly known as "konduktor" of the bus where you're heading, he's the one who collects the ticket fare and knows the road pretty well. As we drove along the road we were like in a rock concert, together we banged our heads and sway them from left to right as we drift off to dreamland. We looked ridiculously tired and I've even plan to film my friends if only I wasn't so preoccupied of getting some sleep too. However, I can't resist the twilight zone and eventually forgotten about it. There are billboard signs placed near the road for the Butanding briefing area but if you plan to be as early as 6 in the morning like us, then it's more realistic and responsible enough to inform the driver or konduktor to avoid missing out the stop point.

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

Take note of the Guidelines

Butanding Feeding Schedule:  6:00-12:30am

UPDATED PRICE LIST as of March 2014
Whale Watching only : 300 php (Locals)

Whale Watching plus Snorkeling (inclusive of equipments) for Locals : 500 php
For foreigners- 1,000 php
Waterproof Camera Rent (without memory card) : 500 php 
Waterproof Camera Rent (with memory card) : 550 php 
Optional: Locker Rent of 20 php or just leave your belongings in the fisherman's shack.

This is one of the best experience in my life. I would do this again if I had the chance to be in Oslob again. A memorable experience that would surely be in everyone's checklist. Take this chance to swim with the whale sharks, it's not everyday that you're given a chance to be with these lovely creatures. 

The world is such a mysterious place. There is still a lot species undiscovered, some that were discovered still remains a puzzle for scientist. To be able to explore and experience the wonders of the world is a gift I am grateful to my Heavenly Father. I believe traveling is not just about going to other places or an escape from the stressful life ,it's also about self discovery and feeding the soul with good stuffs. I've always thought that my base jumping sort of Bungee Jumping experience in Bohol will remain on top of my list for the best extreme adventures of my life. Yet I was wrong and I couldn't believe it. I've always been a fan of aerodynamics, I crave for adrenaline rush and a beggar for life threatening activities. The desire to feel the intensity of falling and the mind blowing heart jumping out of your chest feeling felt like drugs. You can't just get enough of it. It's crazy when you're fighting the fear; it's an addicting feeling but, but, but for the third time my Butanding experience is way over the top! This really should be in everyone's bucket list.

Back to the City or Sidetrip
Two options:

a. 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 it has the sign going back to Cebu City. 

b. Check out Tumalog Falls. There are parked motorcycles nearby the briefing area. These guys will you take you to the Tumalog Falls. Entrance Fee: 20 php 

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

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