12 In Animals + Wildlife/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ The Philippines/ Travel

Whale Sharks & Waterfalls – Oslob, Philippines

I saw photos of my cousins swimming with whale sharks a last year and knew when we planned this trip that that was something that I wanted to do! It was in my Top 10 List, but as it drew nearer and nearer to it happening I started to be concerned about what my reaction would be since I was struggling so much at keeping it together in the ocean, but I knew I wanted to try my hardest, so we got on a plane to Cebu to give it a shot.

Steve and Karen had a driver waiting for us at the Cebu airport and he took us to our hotel at almost 1 a.m. I’m so thankful that we had Will there to pick us up from the airport. Stacey and I had to be up bright and early at 4:30 a.m. to drive from Cebu City down to Oslob. Once again, Will was there to pick up up around 5:15 a.m. and he drove us down in a van so Stacey and I could each have a seat to snooze in.

When we got down to Oslob I was pumped full of excitement. I wanted to get in the water and swim with these gentle giants. We purchased our tickets to swim (and we also paid for someone to take our photos- which is totally worth it. It was around $10 total so we each paid $5 – so worth it!) 

Our day started out with a little instructional video that gave facts about whale sharks and instructed how we were to interact with them. Here are a few facts that I learned about whale sharks:

⋙ the largest whale shark measured was just over 41ft long!

⋙ whale sharks have been around for over 60 million years

⋙ despite being filter feeders, they do have over 300 rows of teeth – they’re just teeny tiny teeth


We waited around for our boat and then we got out on the water. We could see the whale sharks just below the surface. Stacey jumped in the water & in that moment I wasn’t afraid at all, I jumped in after her. Stacey said she came up out of the water and expected to have to talk me into jumping in, but when she turned around I was right behind her. Apparently, when I know the sharks are there, I’m alright. (Of course, they also happen to be filter-feeder sharks, so it’s less terrifying – not to mention that the water is perfectly clear and turquoise!)












this was a moment of not being too sure about that giant fish next to me haha



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how amazing is this? What an intimidating but beautiful view!





one of the whale sharks from underneath


we saw 5 different whale sharks


This is such a crazy view with its face coming right at me

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This water is so salty that it made it hard to stay under so we would push off of these bamboo rods




Look at how small we are compared to the whale shark! So crazy!












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Back in our boat, happy with our experience and I was instantly wishing we could do it all over again!


After swimming with the whale sharks Will took us to Tumalog Falls – a very tall waterfall that falls like nothing else I’ve ever seen. You can pay to ride a motorbike down & up (which seems terrifying because it is such an intensely steep road), but we chose to walk it for a little exercise and mostly to save money!



The top of the falls at the top of the cliff


the very base of the falls where the runoff turns into a tiny waterfall that drops into this milky turquoise water.



The major pool full of milky, mineral water – it’s much more turquoise in person


The water trickles down like rain which has helped create this beautiful cliff formation


Stacey wading in and enjoying the water – it was really cold!


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Oslob is a place where one of my dreams came true. When I go back to swim with whale sharks again, I want to stay in Oslob overnight and swim with them two days in a row… Yeah, it’s that cool!

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  • Reply
    wild life photos
    September 22, 2015 at 9:59 am

    oh man – that must be fantastic!! 🙂

    • Reply
      October 26, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      It was an unbelievable experience! I think a nature-lover like you would adore it!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    The whale shark swimming experience looks amazing! Definitely on my list too!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      It is unreal. I have never experienced anything like it, but I want to do it again. I can’t wait to read about your experience when you do it; you’ll love it! Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers!

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  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    This brings back so many memories- my husband and I did this just last month! Were there a a lot of people when you went? I’m asking because it looks so empty at the waiting/orientation area in your pic. It was SO PACKED when we were there, literally body to body like sardines as we were lining up to get the tickets haha. Despite the huge crowds I like how they were able to keep things organized once on the water, to not disturb the whale sharks. I felt a little iffy before going because of the controversy surrounding how this is run but having experienced it first hand I think the locals are doing a good job given the resources they have.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 8:14 am

    we swam with a whale shark in the Maldives, it’s such an incredible experience to see these gentle giants slowly float through the water. We were so lucky to see one that day and ever since have wanted to go back and swim with them again. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 14, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      I’m with you; I’d love to do it again! This is one of my must-repeats with my husband when we go! I love hearing all the different places that people have swam with whale sharks. Were you near the shore or out in the open water?

      • Reply
        October 16, 2016 at 8:03 am

        We went on a dhingi to the outside of the reef, not too far away from shore. I am terrified of deep water but somehow the excitement when we saw one took over and I didn’t care anymore and just jumped in. Friends of us went to Galapagos and they saw so many of them, even pregnant females, unbelievable, I think that’s where to go, if anyone is really interested in them. The videos I saw was literally like swimming in an aquarium. Incredible!

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    Oslob Badian Day Tour Package
    November 27, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Wow! This is great. You got an amazing photos of the whale sharks. Thanks for featuring this.

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