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My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

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My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

"Can I get to Oslob from Alona for whale sharking?" is a question I see alot on the forum, but I have yet to see a concrete answer to that question. Hope my story will provide some insight.

Walking around Panglao, you will see many ads and be approached by various locals, offering a trip to Oslob for whale sharking directly from Alona. The going price is 700-800 pesos per person, round trip. As they explained, there are two outrigger boats (which are slightly larger than the small ones) owned by the same person, and they do daily trips- depending on the weather; ie. no matter who you buy from on the island, you will be taken to the same boat.

It was a beautiful day and I opted to going to Oslob the next day, one way, with my luggage, and transferring to Cebu after. I was assured that this is a regular thing, my luggage will be dry and safe and tomorrow will be calm waters.

The next morning it was slightly raining but weather wasn't bad. Since the boat is too large to dock at alona, they take you by a "shuttle" to the main beach. From there you walk for probably 5-7 minutes through the water to reach the boat, ie. knee deep in sewage, seaweeds and some sea urchins.

After about 20 minutes on the water, a big storm started. The boat was thrown side to side, multiple wooden sticks holding the sails broke and tied back with rope, everyone were soaked head to toe with waves and wind hitting the passengers all trip long. The 2 hour trip took 4 hours and as we learned later, if something did G-d forbid happened, the boat has no radio to even communicate with the coast guard.

To top off this journey, upon arrival the boat could not dock near the shore and no small boats were provided. Instead passengers were instructed to jump off the boat, with your stuff (all but luggage) and swim to the shore. Then they had a small wooden boat to transport the luggage to the road. Obviously due to the storm, the whale sharks were cancelled, the return boat trip was not possible, and people were forced to get a hotel on Cebu Island instead. Since we only went one way (thankfully), we got off easy with taking our soaking wet luggage (which was placed under the deck upon boarding) and took the bus to Cebu.

My tip: beware! You are better of taking the boat to Argao at 4 pm the day before, hands down. If you are advantageous, make sure it is sunny with no sign of rain on sight before taking on this journey.

18 replies to this topic
Luzon, Philippines
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1. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

Beware: If something happened to anyone riding that boat then no travel insurance would pay even a single cent as it breaches the terms of conditions when you travel in a "colorum" boat and that trip is not being authorized by the coast guard.

gmanetwork.com/news/story/559715/news/nation…

New York City, New...
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2. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

Or life insurance

Australia
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3. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

Every one thinking of travelling from Alona Beach to read this!

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4. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

OP,

Bodie has posted the suggestions a few times & i also replied a few queries as well as regular Bohol TA Posters..

The bankas travelling between Alona Beach & Oslob is an adventurous option that sometimes has consequences.. the safer way is do it via Lite Ferries Roro between Tagbilaran-Argao & travel by land to Oslob..

For sake of convenience from their lodgings at Alona Beach & assurance from Boat owners, the safer option is often not considered.

Both my motor banka(2 hours+ journey) & mini canoe(paddle to Marine Sanctuary) very nearly overturned a few times near Balicasag Island & return trip from Virgin Island to Alona Beach was harrowing as well.. i did it in the afternoon & waters r very choppy , heard it's worse for the route towards Siquijor..

Sometimes u have to feel it to know how to b cautious next time.. a lot of those reading our posts will still go ahead to try anyway.. what about those who r lousy swimmers or non swimmers then, food for thought..

Cheers & Thks for Sharing Your Experience!!

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5. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

Small addition: you only pay 200 pesos to reserve. So its not too bad if you reserve, and then check the forecast for the day upon waking up in the morning. Anything but sunshine- just dont go.

Luzon, Philippines
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6. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

To give them even a single cent to reserve is definitely not a good idea.

Even on a cloudless day the Philippine Coast Guard vehemently and repeatedly said to avoid such illegal boats as I highlighted above. Even if the weather is perfect what will happen to you all if there's an engine problem. Don't expect there's even a mobile signal in the middle of the sea. One sign of these unauthorized boats is that they don't have a radio. If they can't afford to buy a radio then don't expect any refund or compensation if things go bad.

To summarize in one word: Avoid!

Edited: 21 January 2017, 11:16
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7. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

I doubt very much that these boats themselves are "illegal" or unlicensed. What is more probable is that they are not licensed for inter-island trips such as from Panglao Island to Cebu Island, as additional equipment such as radios and navigation equipment are required to obtain licenses to operate inter-island trips. Passenger boats licensed to operate only in coastal waters have less stringent requirements, and do not require such equipment.

Even on a properly licensed outrigger boat with all the required safety, communication and navigation equipment, the OP's experience (which could have been far worse) is an indication of what will happen if the weather turns bad at any time during your return trip. At best you're going to get very wet and, unless you are an accustomed sailor, pretty scared.

Edited: 21 January 2017, 12:19
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8. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

We had considered the same trip in the past, but we were told that they did not have life jackets on our boat for everyone. That alone makes it illegal, no discussion. We did not do it and these boats are dangerous.

philippines
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9. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

Where did they dock in oslob, the one at oslob town? Or the one right next to the whaleshark activity? The ones that dock at the town are the illegal ones.

philippines
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10. Re: My experience traveling directly from Panglao to Oslob

When i went to oslob at the end of the year, my Nth trip to oslob, i interviewed my boatman about the boats that arrive for the whaleshark. On that day, the boat that arrived at the side of the activity came from dumaguete and from nearby areas like alcoy. There were none from bohol. Only the big boats dock next door. These are the ones that go through coast guards and pass their requirements. Those who dont qualify and avoid the coast guard docks at oslob town, requiring a 10 minute tricycle ride to the center. These illegal boats have smaller engines, will overload, and are the ones that require a minimum of 2 hours travel on CALM seas. Any other that mention 2 hours, those are smaller boats with smaller engines. The bigger boats can do the trip in 1.5 hours.

In rough seas, that same distance becomes 4 hours. Or longer. Thats 4 hours or so of rough seas. By the time you arrive, you either have vomited a few, shouted yourself hoarse, recited the whole rosary or mumbled all sorts of prayers, or peed in your swimsuits.

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Read the bad reviews starting february 15, 2015

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