Swimming with the whale sharks

When I think about Philippines, I think about beaches and blue waters. But in those blue waters lives one of the largest fish on the planet. The whale shark can grow to be between 25 and 40 feet in length, and weigh up to 20 tons. And only when you are swimming with the whale sharks, you acknowledge their sheer magnitude.

The mighty whale shark
The mighty whale shark

Not only do whale sharks have a gigantic size, but their life span is also titanic — they can live to about 100 years. Some scientists even estimate the sharks have lived 150 years. And in those many years they are essential to the ocean world. They are in charge of keeping the ocean’s populations young by eating old, sick and dead fish. And as you can see humans are not on the list. Whale sharks have 300 to 350 rows of teeth — about 3,000 teeth total — but none of them could help them eat humans.

Even though I enjoyed seeing them so close, I still feel a little bit disappointed that they are being fed by the locals. There are still some rules in place – maintain a distance, no sunscreen, no flash photography. Tours start at 6:00 am and lasts until noon. We were there at 5:30 am and we still had to wait at a line, so choose your timing perfect, you want to be in that first boat that sets out. You will avoid the crowds and the heat at the same time. You can either book a tour from their website or just pop up at the entrance. We chose to pay our ticket at the entrance since it was a lot more cheaper than the tour and we were staying just across the road from the watching point.

Once you reach the spot, the boats align and you can go in the water. You are instructed to stay near your boat. After that there are several boats that follow a line along all the parked boats. These are the ones that are feeding the whale sharks. It was amazing to see this beautiful creature so close, but at the same time it felt like a zoo. After 15 minutes you are asked to come back to the boat in order to return to shore. My advice if you have more time to spend in Philippines find those few spots where you can swim with the whale sharks in the wild.

The mighty whale sharks
Swimming with the whale sharks

Oslob is full of other natural beauties in addition to the whale sharks. After we finished our tour we got to visit Aguinid falls. Once you reach there you are assigned 2 tour guides and start your adventure. Important to note, the guides at Aguinid serve voluntarily, so tipping is the nice thing to do. Their importance will be obvious once visitors start the beautiful, and slightly precarious trek through the falls. To see the falls in its entirety, you will have to do some climbing and wading through five levels, six if you count level zero.

Aguinid Falls
Lush jungle
Aguinid Falls
Climbing towards level 3

Aguinid Falls

Aguinid Falls
Admiring this paradise from level 3

Aguinid Falls

Aguinid Falls
Happy to reach level 5

Aguinid Falls

This may be smaller than the well-known waterfall Kawasan, but we were alone there and got to enjoy this paradise. Climbing all the levels of Aguinid falls is amazing. The landscape is out of this world, and even though there are some difficult portions the guides are very helpful. They even took pictures for us, which was amazing.

We only had a day to spend in Cebu, so after we finished our visit we headed to the next island: Bohol.

 

Other posts that will make your planning for your Philippines trip so much easier:

 

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