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!
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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- 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 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.
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.
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):
|Oslob whale shark watching: Local – P500 / foreign – P1000 per person
– Entrance fee: P50 per person
– Boat rent: P1500 – 2500 depending in boat size. You may also join other groups.
– Entrance fee: P20 per person
– Habal-habal from jump-off point to Tumalog Falls: P50 per person
|Habal-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:
- Day Tour in Oslob
- Day Trip in Moalboal and Kawasan Falls
- Travel Guide to Moalboal
- Travel Guide to Bantayan Island and Top Things to Do in Bantayan Island
- Travel Guide to Malapascua Island
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).