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 on 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 times.
Most travelers reported as an unforgettable experience, others felt more like being on a zoo, because they are still while 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 on the location.
How manyOn a normal morning you can observe from 1 to 5 whale sharks. A few people reported me to have seen up to 9 whale shark on a single morning.
Getting there From CebuTake the Bus on 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 is 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.
Take the boat to Lilo-an. In Lilo-An take the bus to Tan-awan, on the direction of Oslob.
Just tell the bus driver to drop you on Whale Sharks.
Although the distance between Dumaguete and Tan-awan is quite short, with waiting distances, it can take from 1h to 2h to get there.