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Oslob Whale Sharks

Features Animals
Oslob, Philippines
About Oslob Whale Sharks
Whale sharks can be seen in a small barangay Tan-awan, which is 10 km away from the center town of Oslob. Whale shark watching in Cebu started last September 2011 and it became popular all over the world when the news hit in the internet last November 2011. By December 2011, local fishermen's interact with the whale sharks by feeding them that result to flocking of tourist to the beach of Tan-awan
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Shanel M wrote a review Apr 2022
3 contributions2 helpful votes
We went to see the whale sharks and were surprised to see no line (pre-pandemic lines were hours long apparently). We showed up at 9am and by 9:30 we were in the water swimming with whale sharks. We saw so many, too many to count. You get so close to them that you have to be careful not to touch them as it is not allowed! They truly are gentle giants, beautiful animals. We found the price to be reasonable, 500 pesos each for over 30 minutes of swimming. Bring your own fins if you have any (they aren’t included but are available for rent). I was stung by a jellyfish while in the water, however so maybe wear a rash guard if you have one. It was a great experience overall, I’d recommend anybody to do it!
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1 Helpful vote
Cam wrote a review Nov 2021
6 contributions1 helpful vote
You will ride a boat together with 4 boatmen with 10 tourists inside including you, then your boat will anchor 500m away from the coastline and there you will see 10 boats like your group and some boats feeding these gentle giants sardines. It was a little bit scary at first but these sharks are so gentle. I swam near them and took a picture with the help of the boatman.
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DzemoMB wrote a review Nov 2021
Maribor, Slovenia101 contributions68 helpful votes
If there is only 1 thing you can do in Philippines it is this and you can go home happy. Unreal experiance that you wont forget for the rest of your life.
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Date of experience: December 2020
critter_world wrote a review Sep 2020
Canada82 contributions30 helpful votes
I visited Oslob twice, in 2013 and 2015, and the second time was really crowded as hundreds were waiting to go see the sharks. I can see that some people are concerned about the ethicality of whale shark tourism in Oslob. As an animal lover, and especially a big fan of the whale sharks, I would like to share my opinion. 1. In a perfect world, we would love to see wild animals roam free with no interference from humans, and we should close all the zoos and let animals go back to the wild. However, I am sure the majority of people would never have seen a lion if not for zoos, let alone exotic species such as the icon of WWF – the giant panda. Is it important to see animals? Let’s just say, if you’ve never seen a panda, you would not love it, or put in effort to save it. For the whale sharks, some of my Chinese friends who swam with them vowed that they are never eating shark fin soup again. So, the Oslob whale shark operation is at least a good education program. 2. As far as I know, the practice of feeding the sharks in Oslob began decades ago: local fishermen use feeds to lead the sharks away from their fishing area, so that the sharks do not damage their nets. Then some entrepreneur saw this and suggested to the fishermen to turn it into a tourist attraction. The experience of Oslob showed the fishermen all over Philippines that live whale sharks mean $ year after year, so they bought in to the protection program. 3. The guides at Oslob told me that there are only 14 sharks that come to feed here, but not all of them show up everyday, sometimes there are only 3 or 4, so the sharks do not depend on the feed at all. In fact, whale sharks eat tonnes of plankton daily, and there is no way the fishermen can supply them with enough. So the sharks have to feed elsewhere – Oslob is just a snack-stop for them. 4. Since only the same group of sharks show up, these must be non-migrating sharks: they are either resident sharks originally, or they have decided to settle down – which is not uncommon. We humans should understand that animals do not want to migrate if they don’t have to: every year, some 25% of all migrating wildebeests perish in Africa. The animals would avoid it if they can. Several years ago when a director of WWF gave a talk on the subject in Hong Kong, I had an opportunity to discuss with him about Oslob, and he agreed that the verdict is still out on Oslob. In summary, is the Oslob operation non-ethical? I suppose the answer is “yes” by definition; but is it bad for the whale sharks? My answer would be “no”. Is it bad for the tourists? Well, it is getting too crowded!
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Date of experience: October 2019
3 Helpful votes
Turinot wrote a review Jun 2020
Turin, Italy54 contributions66 helpful votes
I love so much watching close the whale sharks, it has been one of the greatest experience of my life.
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Date of experience: July 2019
2 Helpful votes