South Cebu Adventure: Whale shark watching in Oslob and Sumilon Sandbar

Whale shark watching in Oslob and stunning white powdery sandbar in Sumilon Island are one of the beautiful places that will surely make you return in Cebu.


This massive guy from Oslob, Cebu is a such a wonderful creature that I’ve ever seen in my life by far. Despite from their physical attribute and appearance,  they are actually harmless and they only eat planktons, squid, and other small fishes. So, don’t be afraid by their look nor to their size, they have a GMRC way back their high school days hahaha. Just kidding, they are super friendly and amazing.  A Whale shark is also known as the largest fish and the biggest of all sharks species on the planet today.


We woke up around 6:00 in the morning just to be able to see the famous whale shark in Oslob. Since there’s a lot of visitors and tourist who also visit Oslob to see the whale shark, you have to wake up as much as early in the morning because you have to register and take an orientation first before you go to your designated boat. The orientation last about 10-15 mins. They have to orient visitors to not touch the whale shark, sun cream/sunblock or other chemicals that will harm the whale shark is prohibited.


whale shark watching and sumilon bar
As you can see in this photo, the distance of the boats is near from the seashore.

So after the orientation, we get our life vest, helmet, and snorkeling mask, obviously for safety purposes. It is also included in the package. The life vest is very useful here especially if you don’t know how to float above the water and another reason why is you can see the whale shark much longer than not wearing a life vest. At First, I thought the whale shark can be found in the middle part of the sea, but it is actually near the seashore.

It was crowded that time, there are so many tourists and there are so many cops as well, I don’t think why there’s a lot of cops that time, I thought that was just for the security of the tourist, but it was a huge number of cops and SWATs and you can see them anywhere around, until I saw the news and I found out that the Thai princess was also there to watch the Whale sharks.


Whale shark watching. Since I want to have a nice and clear picture with the whale shark, I decided to remove my life vest to get closer to our massive friend in Oslob. From the Pescador Island, My friends and I talked about the whale shark and I said to them that we will remove our life vest so we could take a better picture of each other under the water since they also know how to swim without a life vest. Unfortunately, they didn’t remove their vest hahaha, so no one would take a picture for me under the water. So I just borrowed my friend’s GoPro and I started to record a video.

whale shark in oslob

The boatman lures the whale shark to the line of watchers by giving a food back and forth. When the whale shark is near our boat, we become excited and we all shout (Nandiyan na! nandiyan na!). When I dive, I saw the whale shark was near to me and I started to panic, I was shocked by its gigantic size and its super big mouth and it seems like a size of a bus! I was almost get drowned that time. So the next dive, I prepared myself, and luckily I captured him in the video.

Aside from the whale shark, the beaches in Oslob is really wonderful. I promised myself that I will go to Oslob again for a clearer picture with the whale shark. Bucket list checked!


Another thing you might want to see is the stars in Oslob.

This photo was taken in Oslob around 9:00 PM.

Since the there’s no light pollution in Oslob unlike in Manila, I grab the opportunity to take some photos of the night sky, and this is what I captured. Thousand or probably millions of stars. #stargazing.

If you want to take a photo of Milky way galaxy, the best time to capture it is around 2:00 AM – 4:30 AM.


So after the whale shark watching in Oslob, we went to Sumilon island to see the famous sandbar. Sumilon Island is a small island located in the southern part of Cebu. I must say that you should not skip Sumilon Island if you’re already in Oslob. It’s lies about 20-30 minutes boat ride away from Tan-awan in Oslob.This fascinating island in Cebu is one of the top destination and one of the most popular among the tourist because of its perfect white powdery and smooth sandbar. The sea is so amazing because it’s divided into three colors. Navy blue, turquoise, and something like light blue-green.  The Island is quite a paradise not only for me but also for the marine life living around Sumilon Island. In addition, some part of the beach is a bit rocky so always wear your slippers or shoes.

Whaleshark watching and sumilon sand bar
As you can see in this photo, the water was divided into three colors.

whale shark watching and sumilon sand bar
Our group photo at the Sumilon Sandbar

Whale shark watching
It is better to see the sandbar if you’re in a high place.

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Based on my research, Sumilon Island is privately owned by the Bluewater Island resort so the access is only restricted to the sandbar.

Several activities are also available on the island such as:

  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Hiking
  • Trekking

So, If you are planning to spend a night in Sumilon Island, you can book a room online via and Agoda


I highly suggest to book a room online. For less hassle of calling, arranging and emailing back and forth.

Book room online via

Book a room online via Agoda


Aside from and Agoda, you can also book a room via Airbnb, especially if you are in a thigh budget. If you are looking for a place to stay in Oslob, there are several hotels and a transient house in the Island for a cheap price yet comfortable and a nice. Just click this link.

I can share you a discount coupon if you signed up through my referral link. Just click this link and it should be direct you into Airbnb website “Benjoe gave you  $______ to travel. Click the sign-up button to claim your credit.  Follow the Airbnb instruction to create an account, you can use your Facebook or Google Account upon signup. Once you already have an account, you can search for several hotels and resort in Oslob or in Sumilon Island and use the discount coupon. Airbnb is the best way to rent unique, local accommodations on any travel budget.


  • If you are not a guest of the resort, you have to bring your own foods and a supply of water since the restaurant is not accessible by the non-guest. Do not leave your trash there.
  • If you want to experience snorkeling, please bring your own snorkeling gear. You can rent a snorkeling gear from Tan-awan in Oslob.
  • Since there are no cottages and shaded area aside from the rocks at the ride side of the sandbar. You can bring a sun cream/sunblock if you don’t want your skin to be tanned.
  • Bring your camera. No explanation needed for this.


The best way to get into Sumilon Island is to go to Oslob first. If you are coming from Cebu city,  ride a bus bound for Oslob from South Bus Terminal, it only takes 2-3 hours ride going to Oslob proper.  You can also drop off in Puerto Sumilon Port in Bancogon. From there you can charter a boat to take you to Sumilon Island.


There are boats which are provided by the resort that transfers the guest from Bancogon to Sumilon Island vice versa. The first trip is 8:00 AM, so before you go to Sumilon Island, I highly suggest to go to Oslob first for a whale shark watching.

Mainland Bancogon to Sumilon Island

  • 8: 00 AM
  • 9:30 AM
  • 11:00 AM
  • 12:30 PM
  • 2:00 PM
  • 4:30 PM

Sumilon Island to Mainland Bancogon

  • 9:00 AM
  • 10:30 AM
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1:30 PM
  • 3:30 PM
  • 5:00 PM

Based on the Sumilon bluewater resort website. There are additional P 1000.00 for boat transfer in between the regular trip schedule and additional P 2000.00 for special boat transfer beyond the regular daily schedule.

Don’t forget to ask the locals around. 🙂 Just like in the riteMed commercial. (Huwag mahihiyang magtanong). : D

Thanks for reading!

You might also want to read our Cebu Adventure series

For questions, you can drop a comment below and you can also share your thoughts! This Whale shark watching and Sumilon Island experience is a part of our South Cebu Adventure last February.

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Benjoe Vidal
Benjoe Vidal is a full-time software engineer, part-time travel blogger, and a Hobbyist Photographer. Aside from writing codes he also loves to share and write his travel experiences. He hates describing himself and writing in third person. He is the guy behind this travel blog.

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