The beauty of Sumilon and my Whale Shark encounter

10:20 AM Lee 0 Comments

Going to Cebu is not my first time, probably my 5th visit to the island. I’ve been there for city trips and weddings. This time it’s special because I get to see the whale sharks for the first time. I’ve seen a lot of these gentle giants on television, websites, and social media however I don’t feel the thrill unless I experience it myself.   

Together with two of my closest family, we booked for a 3-day trip to Cebu with loads of activities in mind. Of course, lechon is part of the itinerary along with the local favorites otap and rosquillos. Listed to our schedule is a visit to a laid-back island, appreciate a stunning falls, and snorkeling with the whale sharks (butanding).

First day of the trip is to relax and chill. We decided to check some food spots but to our dismay some establishments were closed since it is Maundy Thursday.  Good thing I read about Escario Central, a small place where Zubuchon has a branch. I only had a little taste of our orders since I cannot over eat. Probably of all our orders, the lemon grass cooler was surprisingly good. Not much for this day, mostly rest and a quick visit at the grocery.

On our second day, we had to wake up at 4:00AM to catch the Ceres bus at South Bus Terminal going to Bancogon, Oslob. It took us 3hrs. ride to reach Bluewater Sumilon drop off point. Upon arriving at their guest hall, we were asked for our names for the day pass package. The package includes: boat transfers, lunch buffet, use of swimming facilities, kayaking, trekking, and snorkeling for P2,000 (peak day rate).

Together with other tourists, it was just a quick boat ride going to the island and a very pleasing staff at the island welcomed us. A calm beautiful surrounding greeted us with welcoming facilities for us to enjoy in a day. Lunch was served on the beach side opposite to the lagoon where we also enjoyed kayaking. All meals were delicious! 
Chillin' while waiting for our lunch
The best experience of visiting Sumilon Island was snorkeling. We went snorkeling first at the Marine Sanctuary (which is a public area since the sandbar is situated there) with our slices of bread to feed the fishes. It was a great encounter with the colorful marine life! But the best area to snorkel is at the beachfront for there are bigger fishes (real BIG!!!) that might scare you at first, yet the spectacle is so fulfilling!

For our last day, another early rise time for us but this time we have a private car to pick us up at our hotel. I pre-availed the Oslob Whale Shark Watching package from Island Trek Tours, a 10-hour duration inclusive of entrance/watching fees, pick up & drop off, light breakfast, lunch, whale shark watching, side trip to Tumalog Falls and a tour facilitator.

Tumalog Falls
By bus, you can just take the Ceres bus going to Oslob. Since our flight is at 9:00PM we opted to get the package to avoid stress catching our flight. That day, it was chaos in Oslob since there are so many tourists arriving. Cielo, our tour facilitator came in handy for she managed everything for us and all we had to do is wait for our turn to be called (Thank you Cielo!).  

No GoPro or underwater cam? No need to worry! There are underwater cam rentals in the area for P500 and a CD will be given after. There were also rash guard stores and canteens if you plan a DIY travel.
Ron with the Butanding
Whale Shark Watching
The feeling of excitement and numbness seeing these giant creatures is a little terrifying to be honest. The tourist boats were tied up together circling around the whale sharks where one boat feeds the giants. Every time it passes, we dive our way under the sea to see the butanding in it’s composed swim and stunning fins. We dive again, and again, and again until we have the best picture (but sadly for me I didn’t have one. Haha!). But hey, definitely an extraordinary encounter! 

The night came and it was all goodbyes for this trip, but we had all our smiles and stories on our way home. I hope we continue to take good care of our environment for it bonds us with the best experiences of life. ‘Til my next adventure!

(More photos on my Facebook account) 

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Here's my itinerary during our trip. (Since most of the schedules were not followed, you can use it as a guide).