Oslob: A Shangri-La For The Gentle Giants
21 April 2015
We decided to go to Oslob, Cebu to visit its popular whale shark or locally known as Butanding. Within minutes of waiting in the middle of Tanawan Sea, this was our first glimpse of the gentle giant, here a medium sized one at say six to seven meters in length, just breaking the surface and looking pretty ominous to the uninformed. You can’t touch the whale sharks, and you’re supposed to stay a decent distance away from them, but that can be hard to manage if there’s a strong current or if they’re swimming right towards you. I might have accidentally bumped into a tail at one point. It didn't seem bothered about it though.
If I were on a little raft at open sea and this passed a few meters away, I would have been seriously freaked out. In case you do find yourself bobbing up and down on open seas… if the tail has a vertical fin, it is a fish/shark. But if the tail fin is horizontal, then it is a whale.
They are beautiful. Impressive. Gentle but powerful. We had an absolutely wonderful experience in Oslob, Cebu. I am not that fond of swimming in the deep ocean. Having watched the movie “Jaws” at least a dozen times on the big screen in my pre-teens. So even if the rational mind explained that whale sharks don’t eat humans, the sheer size of them ignited the irrational part of the brain. Whale sharks are a misnomer, as they are not whales really, they are sharks, albeit the non-frightening kind.
Swimming with the whale sharks is an experience of a lifetime, and I am glad we got to try it. We were nervous at first and naturally so because these creatures were big, even if they were not fully grown yet. If there is any more spontaneous trip I have ever done, then this is on top of the list!
Oslob in Cebu is a destination all in itself. As you can imagine, the views are spectacular in every direction offering wonderful species in pristine waters surrounded by beautiful and diverse scenery. And if you would like to experience an awesome staycation in Cebu, stay at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa. We had experienced endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and recreation!