Philippines became world famous for Whale Shark watching due the fact that those huge creatures seasonly pass near the shores of Donsol.
Things changed when in 2011, the fishermen in a small place called Tan-awan, 10km south of Oslob, started to daily feed the Whale Sharks.
Allowing to watch them all year-round, and for longer [periods of time.
White most travelers reported to be an unforgettable experience, others felt more like being in a zoo because the animals are still being feed by the fishermen.
If you want to take the best of this experience and make it unique, my advice is:
- Go by yourself, not on a tour
Even if you are on a time constrain.
- Go as early as possible. Preferably around 6am
This way you will arrive before the hordes of tour boats
The best is to overnight in Tan-awan
- Choose a day with good visibility and when the tide is low
Entrance FeeIn 2011 it was only required to give the fishermen a fee, but as it grow in popularity so did the fee. At the time of the writing(2013) the entrance fee is already 1000php.
Budget AccommodationIn 2012, a dorm open in Tan-awan, with 300php per bed. More hotels, resorts and hostels are expected to open over time.
To Dive or to SnorkelIf the day is sunny and the tide is low, the conditions are perfect to observe every detail of the animal from the surface. Diving is not necessary to fully feel the experience.
If you prefer to observe from all angles then diving is possible and offered at the location.
How manyIn a normal morning, you can observe from 1 to 5 whale sharks. Some people reported me to have seen up to 9 whale shark in a single morning.
Getting there From CebuTake the Bus in the direction of Oslob from the Cebu South Bus Station.
The journey takes about 3h-4h depending on the traffic.
Ask the bus driver or the ticket seller to drop you of where are the Whale Sharks. The price differs from Non Air-con to Air-con.
Plus, there is a small terminal fee to be payed in Cebu South Bus Station.
If you are coming from the Cebu Airport take a taxi(ask where are the white taxis. They are cheaper) to the Cebu South Bus Station.
Getting there From DumagueteFrom downtown, near the Vintage Inn, take a jeepney to Sibulan Boat Pier then take the boat to Lilo-an. For last, In Lilo-An take the bus to Tan-awan, in the direction of Oslob.
Just tell the bus driver to drop you at the Whale Sharks.
Although the distance between Dumaguete and Tan-awan is short, with the waiting distances, it can take from 1h to 2h to get there.