It’s not anew that Philippines is not only endowed with beautiful sceneries, it as well is blessed with a great marine life. A town in Cebu City is now being visited frequently because of its latest attraction – the Whalesharks. Whalesharks or tuki, as what Cebu folks commonly call them or Butanding in some other localities, is starting to draw its appeal to the tourists.
These Gentle Giants were once regarded as pests by the folks. Fishermen used to drive them away by spearing their bodies. Not until a fisherman developed sympathy over these mammals that he started protecting and caring them. A Korean resort owner later learned about him being compassionate about the Butandings that he made arrangements for him and his friends to visit. Later on, other fishermen learned about this and did the same. This has become widespread and became known to media, which led to the influx of tourists in this town.
Here in Tan-awan Oslob,Cebu, there are whale-shark feeders who constantly feed the tukis with uyap early morning. They usually leave in the afternoon then come back in the morning for their breakfast. Tukis had been used to this that having humans around them becomes natural.
From downtown Cebu, you must take a 3-hour bus ride going to Brgy. Tan-awan. Upon arrival, the officers will lead you the tent where you will be oriented with the fees you have to pay. The corresponding fees you will have to pay are as follows:
Whale watching -P300
Camera Fee - P 100.00
Snorkeling - P 20.00
Life Vest - P 50.00
To avoid long lines, you must visit this place during weekends and it’s nice if you’re earlier. Before you are allowed to enjoy the scenery of Butanding, you are oriented first or actually given list of the “10 Commandments” while watching the Whale shark.
Each anticipating tourists are given a 30-minute experience, watching the Butandings. In a banca, there at least 2 people to be accommodated, but there are other bancas that can accommodate more. Butandings or whale sharks are friendly and won’t harm you unless provoked. You can actually swim with them, provided that you don’t touch or chase them.
Butandings are known to be aware of their surroundings, so be very careful.
Unlike the protocols in Donsol, Oslob does not put too much restriction in having a close encounter with these Gentle Giants. Just follow strictly their rules; there wouldn’t be any problems.