Sumilon Island sand bar in Cebu
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

Day Trip in Oslob (Cebu): Things to Do + Itinerary

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Oslob is a coastal town in the southern area of Cebu, popularly known for its whale shark activity where you can swim up close with whale sharks in the ocean. It’s a must-visit when you’re in the province. We visited here on a day trip during an outreach trip. Here’s our Day Trip Guide to Oslob, Cebu!

P.S. If you’re exploring the south, don’t forget to read about our Day Tour in Moalboal & Kawasan Falls and Travel Guide to Moalboal.

How to Get to Oslob (Cebu)

There are different ways to get to Oslob.

From Cebu City

From Cebu City, travel time is 2.5-3 hours.

  • From Cebu South Terminal, ride a bus to Bato via Lilo-an (P155 per person, 3 hours). Inform the driver know to drop you off at the whale shark activity site or resort you’re heading to.
  • Alternatively, you can also ride a van (P150 per person, 2.5 hours) at the GT Express Terminal along Junquera Street. Get off at Oslob town proper and then ride a tricycle or habal-habal to the whale shark activity site.

From Badian

  • Ride a bus to Bato and get off at the last stop. Transfer to a bus bound for Cebu City and get off at Oslob. Let the driver know you are going to the whale shark activity site or else you will be dropped off at the town center (10 km away), where you will need to take another ride.
  • You can also rent a scooter for a minimal fee. This is a good option for budget travelers who are exploring the south for a few days.

Oslob Day Tour itinerary

Here is a sample itinerary for your day tour in Oslob.

7AM – 8AM Whale shark activity
8:30AM – 11AM Sumilon Island
1PM – 3PM Tumalog Falls
4:30 – 5:30PM Sunset at Osmena Peak
6PM End of tour

If you’re coming from Cebu City, it’s best to leave at 3 or 4AM so you’ll arrive early in the morning.

Here are the activities you can do on a day trip to Oslob.

Whale shark watching

Oslob is mostly known for its whale shark activity. Here, you have to ride a boat to an area where you can see the whale sharks up close. Sightings are guaranteed all year round.

The whale shark activity is located in Barangay Tan-Awan. Once you get here, you can find resorts offering boat tours to the whale shark area. The activity starts with an orientation where you will be reminded (1) to not touch the whale sharks and (2) to avoid wearing sunscreen.

Guidelines on whale shark watching in Oslob
Guidelines on whale shark watching in Oslob.

First of all, we were amazed that the whale shark area isn’t very far from the shore. In fact, we could already see the tour boats before boarding.

The experience was great. The whale sharks glide in the water in ones or twos and threes, mouths hanging open. It was difficult to swim though since the currents were strong. Our guides were helpful in taking pictures. I was wearing a lifevest so one guide pushed me down the water while another took photos with our action camera.

Swimming with whalesharks in Oslob, Cebu
All of us were grabbing on to the boat because of strong currents.
Whaleshark in Oslob, Cebu
Twice, Hali got hit by a whale shark swimming too close to the boat.

What I noticed though is that it was easy to touch or hit the whale sharks unintentionally, due to the strong current and the fact that the whale sharks swim too close to humans.


  • The activity starts from 5:30AM to 12 noon only. It’s best to get in the wharf early in the morning before the current gets strong.
  • The activity is good for 30 minutes only.
  • Bring an action camera. If you don’t have any, you can rent one with CD copy for P550.

Update: Why we don’t recommend this anymore

After this trip, I’d read about whale shark watching in Oslob and learned that it is harmful to the whale sharks for various reasons. If you still want to have a whale shark encounter, a good alternative is that in Donsol, Sorsogon, where whale sharks are left in the wild.

Here’s further reading on ethical animal encounters around the world.

Sumilon Island

Sumilon Island is a private island famous for its picturesque sand bar. Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is located here, but it is also open for day passes.

The island is just several minutes away from the main beach in Tan-Awan. You can arrange a boat trip to Sumilon Island.

Sumilon Island in Cebu
Approaching Sumilon Island.

We stayed here for a few hours, and it was time well spent. The water was clear and from there were different shades of blue.

Sumilon island clear water
Team Alon in Cebu.
Sumilon Island sand bar in Cebu
Walking through the fine sand of Sumilon Island sand bar.


  • Day pass starts from 7AM to 5PM.
  • If you’re on a day tour, you can only stay in the sand bar area.
  • There are no stores here. Bring packed lunch or food from the stores or restaurant in Oslob’s beachfront.

Tumalog Falls

Tumalog Falls is a 15-minute ride from the resort area. Ride a habal-habal to get here.

Tumalog Falls is an 80- to 100-meter high waterfall with umbrella-like formations, similar to Ulan-Ulan Falls in Biliran. The water falls gently into a man-made pool, which then flows down to smaller pools. The pool is a beautiful light blue. It’s shallow so it’s safe for kids, but it’s also freezing cold.

All I can say is that Tumalog Falls is lovely. It’s high so it’s difficult to capture whole in the camera. It’s also one of the best waterfalls in the Philippines I’ve seen as of yet. I highly recommend including this stop in your Oslob day trip itinerary.

Interestingly, I googled Tumalog Falls after the trip and noticed that the cement pool walls were a recent addition. I think I would’ve preferred it au naturale, but I understand that the local government also has to make it more “palatable” and “easy” for visitors. Anyway, as long as it’s clean and properly managed, I’m happy.

Tumalog Falls in Cebu
Tumalog Falls from afar.
Tumalog Falls in Cebu
Tumalog Falls.
Tumalog Falls in Cebu
Tumalog Falls features a gentle curtain of water falling from perhaps a hundred feet high.

Sunset viewing in Osmena Peak

Sunset viewing in Osmena Peak is a wonderful way to finish your day trip in Oslob.

To get here, ride a bus bound for Cebu and ask the driver to drop you off at at Dalaguete (pronounced Dalaget), which is three towns away. From there, hire a habal-habal or multicab to take you to Osmena Peak.

Osmena Peak is one of the highest points in Cebu. It’s famous for its natural rugged peaks and a favorite stop for those who want to see the sunrise or sunset.

Osmena Peak in Cebu
Osmena Peak.

You can choose to hire a guide. The trek is relatively easy and takes only 20 minutes to reach the peak.

Reminders and tips

Here are some reminders and tips when planning your Oslob day tour:

  • If you have more time, you can also visit Oslob Heritage Park, where you can explore a museum and Spanish-era buildings. Entrance is free.
  • This is the usual day trip itinerary in Oslob. An alternative to the afternoon schedule includes visiting Tumalog Falls and then heading to the town of Samboan to visit its 3 waterfalls: Aguinid Falls, Dao Falls, and Binalayan Falls. However, you won’t have time to trek to Osmena Peak. (Another nearby waterfall is Kawasan Falls, although this one is best visited on a half-day tour.)
  • This day trip can be done DIY. You can also booked packaged tours online.

Budget and expenses

Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2020):

ActivitiesOslob whale shark watching: Local – P500 / foreign – P1000 per person

Sumilon Island
– Entrance fee: P50 per person
– Boat rent: P1500 – 2500 depending in boat size. You may also join other groups.

Tumalog Falls
– Entrance fee: P20 per person
– Habal-habal from jump-off point to Tumalog Falls: P50 per person
OthersHabal-habal from Dalaguete to jump-off point in Osmena Peak: P100

In a group of 5 people, a safe budget is P1400-1500 per person.

That concludes our guide for day trip in Oslob! Has this been helpful to you? Let us know in the comments below!

What to read next:

Visiting Cebu? Here are other posts you might be interested at:

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  • Kristine Adan

    Hi! Thank you. Your blog is very helpful. I have a question. Do you know when’s the first trip of the vans going to Oslob? Thank you!

  • rrl

    hi! can you share info regarding boat rental? I’ve been looking through FB, but all are linked to a tour package. we only need a pumpboat for the Sumilon island trip

  • Imee

    Im so xcite because i read a lot about in cebu theres a lot of fun..this is my list bucket for my vacation dis coming december in the philippines…i never canceled to go there with my family..thanks for sharing the xpirience in cebu

  • Em

    Hi. Just want to know if you can book directly in oslob for the swimming with the whale sharks? And can we join other groups for this activity to cut the cost since the tours i’ve seen in various websites are expensive for 2persons? Thank you.

  • Alana Delia

    Thanks so much for this! I am planning my first trip with my sister and filipino boyfriend to do this travel together in south cebu,looking forward to it! Thanks

  • Camille

    I’m planning a day tour for Oslob for my family. Would you know any beach resorts around the area where we can wash up?

  • 2traveldads

    What a beautiful place and an incredible experience! I feel like 4 meters is still too close for the creatures’ own comfort though, when considering their size in comparison. Was this area baited/krill-stocked to attract the sharks? I’ve read of that being done, which would be my only concern with visiting.

    • Kat

      I think so, yes. It turns out there’s a controversy about whale shark watching, with environmentalists saying it changes the natural behavior of the sea animals. I think whale shark watching in Donsol, Sorsogon, is a good alternative to Oslob.

  • Adrenaline Romance

    Amazing trip! On your next trip, try the other side as suggested by Mustachio. There’s snorkeling and scuba diving in Moalboal, falls hopping in Samboan, and more! Cebu has so many adventures and sites to visit. 🙂

    • Kat

      Next time we’ll do that! 🙂 We only had a day to spare because we were on a connecting flight to Siargao then.

  • mustachio

    Have you been to the southwest municipalities in Cebu? I recommend boating/snorkeling in Moalboal, canyoneering in Alegria (though I haven’t tried this myself), going to the waterfalls in Samboan, Ginatilan, and Badian.

    • Kat

      Haven’t yet! This is literally the only time I’ve been in Cebu haha. 🙂 But I’ve been seeing so much photos of Moalboal, Alegria and the waterfalls you’ve mentioned I think it’s time I actually schedule another visit.

  • ASKSonnie

    I love the beach and the falls, swimming w/ whale sharks seems fun, but according to studies, it disrupted the normal behaviour of this gentle creatures.

  • Cai Dominguez- Travelosyo

    I never been to the southern part of Cebu, I’ve been planning to visit oslob ever since. I love to do diving with Butandings too that’s sooo awesome. Lovely beach plus falls. Ohhh Cebu has a lot to offer. By the way, I explored the northern part of the Province when I went there 🙂

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