Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob Cebu: Do’s and Dont’s

whale sharks in cebu oslobwhale sharks in Oslob, Cebu crowded with divers

When we first went there last November of 2011, there were no people nor divers nor banka looking for the whale sharks (tuki in local Cebuano Visayan dialect). There was no fisherman who was willing to guide us to the tuki watching.

The next month, we were surprised that the sleepy resort we once visited was now bustling with a lot of people, cars, divers, and fishermen who’d bring you to the tuki.

The influx of visitors to this part of the province came as a surprise – without regulation, we have had committed lapses on issues of sustainability, ecology, and decorum.

The following are just a few reminders how to interact with a tuki or a whale shark or a butanding:

  1. Never ever touch a whale shark. Ailments may be passed from human to them.
  2. Keep a distance of about 5 meters to allow them to swim about freely.
  3. Do not use flash for taking pictures.
  4. Avoid using lotion or sunblock.
  5. Minimal movements to avoid bubbles and refrain from splashing into the water.
These guidelines are in place so we don’t upset or harm these whale sharks. In that manner, we can avoid upsetting the balance of ecology of that place.
Secondly, it is there to prevent accidents from happening. Like what happened to me. I was swimming so close to the tuki that I got hit by its tail. Here’s a not-so-clear-video about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOowku9QwXs.


A lot of people have violated the no-touching guideline as these wonderful mammals are so irresistible. Below is a video where one tourist couldn’t resist.


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  1. zhequia says:

    I hate the fact that no matter how hard we try to impose these rules there are just waay to many hard headed people that needs a little more than a punch in the face.

  2. Nakakalungkot na kahit andami ng nagbabawal eh sige pa rin sa paghipo ang ibang mga turista. Eh kung sila kaya yung hipu-hipuin matutuwa ba sila? Tsk tsk tsk.

  3. I agree with Zhequia. Andami talagang matigas ang ulo.

  4. lakbay says:

    emzh: harsh pod u uy. chill lang. asa ra man ang lansang ug martilyo. hehehe
    @joan: honga e :(
    @synz: lami pangsikaran mga dagway hehehe…

  5. traveltabai says:

    This is one of the reasons why I went to Cebu last holy week. I want to see this whale shark and experience to swim with them but sad to say I did not make it..:-( cguro di pa time ko na makita sila…sa susunod nlang cguro pag balik ko sa cebu…:-)

  6. I wanna swim with these whales too..
    I don’t think I’ll try to touch them too, masyado akong mabait like that.. di pasaway! harhar! I do hope these precautions would help maintain the ecology..
    Already, humans are intervening with the feeding patterns of these whales.. They may have already associated having boats and tourist to mean feeding time.

  7. lakbay says:

    @traveltabai: ooohhh… balik ka na! :)
    @francis: hahahaha i hope so too.

  8. Island Hopes says:

    Kahit naman sa Donsol where it is highly regulated, ang gulo gulo rin when they spot a whale and everyone jumps in and although it’s supposed to be 30 pax to a whale nagi-ging 100 dahil walang masyadong nakikita.

    I think it’s better to have glass bottom boats nalang. Imagine if you’re the butanding tapos araw araw bawat oras may nag ha-harass sayo habang kumakain ka.

  9. dapat may penalty for every rule broken. di magtatanda mga irresponsible na turista na yan eh.

  10. lakbay says:

    @island hopes: yeah that’s really terrible. wild panaman to sila…
    @idol: dapat lang. and hopefully i implement ng mga LGUs at nung mga mismong tour guides.

  11. It’s hard to stop those hard headed tourist breaking those rules. How peaceful tourism would be if all tourist have self discipline.

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