Oslob, a coastal town on the southern tip of Cebu province in the Philippines, is well-known for whale shark watching. Many locals and travellers head to Oslob to swim with whale sharks (or butanding, as Filipinos call them).
ATTENTION: Before you go here, we want you to be aware of the consequences of swimming with these whale sharks in Oslob. The whale sharks are fed every day so they can be used as a tourist attraction.
Once you go here, they will call your number so you are ready to jump in the water and swim next to tons of tourists around the whale sharks. These beautiful endangered creatures normally swim thousands of kilometres each year but are now completely removed from their natural habitat.
If you really love the underwater life, think twice before you go. There are other less touristic places where whale sharks still live in the wild and professional organisations care for the well-being of these animals. I will publish an in-depth article about swimming with whale sharks in the next months.
If you are not coming to Oslob for the whale sharks, there are still other exciting things to do in this small town. At its heart are remnants of the strong Spanish rule in the province, dating back to the 1700s.
A little bit outside town, you can either cool down at Tumalog Falls or heat things up at Mainit (Hot) Springs. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss a visit to the nearby Sumilon Island, which is just 15 minutes away by boat. Its beauty will blow you away.
There are 3 ways you can travel the 120 km distance from Cebu to Oslob: a 4-hour bus, a 4-hour public van, or a 3.5-hour taxi. Rates range from 160 PHP ($2.75) to 3,900 PHP ($68).
The bus is a cheap and comfortable way to cross the distance from Cebu to Oslob. You’ll get good enough legroom for fares starting at 160 PHP ($2.75). Travel time is around 4 hours.
Taking a van from Cebu to Oslob is also affordable, but not as pleasant. That’s because vans are not as spacious as buses and are often fully-packed. Fares also start from 160 PHP ($2.75) for the 4-hour journey.
Taking a taxi is the most expensive option but definitely the most convenient, especially if you’re coming straight from Cebu Airport. Rates start from 3,900 PHP ($68) for a 3-seater sedan from Cebu to Oslob. The taxi ride takes around 3.5 hours.
These buses pass along the main road in Oslob. You can tell the driver or conductor beforehand where exactly you want to be dropped off. If you don’t have a specific landmark, you can just get off the bus at Oslob Public Market and then find your way to your hotel from there.
Cebu to Oslob by Van
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: 160 PHP ($2.75)
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: 160 PHP ($2.75)
Public vans also operate from Cebu to Oslob. We don’t recommend them though if you’re a tall passenger and/or carrying a lot of luggage.
These shared vans are often packed and offer very little legroom. There’s a chance you’ll have to endure an uncomfortable 4-hour ride.
A van seat from Cebu to Oslob costs around 160 PHP ($2.75).
Departure and arrival station
Vans bound for Oslob depart from GT Express Terminal, located within the perimeters of SM City Cebu.
You will be dropped off at Oslob town centre. From there, you can walk or take a tricycle to your accommodation. If your destination is located along the main road along the way, you can also ask the driver to just drop you off there.
Take a van including pick-up*
If you prefer a van that will pick you up from your hotel in Cebu and will go straight to Oslob Whaleshark Watching Center, you can also join a shared van transfer from Klook.
A seat costs 850 PHP ($14.50) for a one-way trip, but you can save a few dollars if you book a return trip with them. This van departs from Cebu at 03:30 in the morning. Be ready to be picked up about an hour before departure time.
You can also book a taxi to take you from Cebu to Oslob. We say “book” because taxi drivers do not use the metre for long-distance trips like this. They will quote you a fixed price, and you can negotiate.
We recommend asking for your hotel’s assistance in finding a trusted driver.
An acceptable rate when taking a taxi from Cebu to Oslob is around 3,000 PHP ($52) to 3,500 PHP ($61).
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