When talking about summer, beaches always comes to my mind. Everyone is on the “salt in the air, sand in my hair” feels, and so am I. Going to the beach doesn’t only mean getting a nice tan. It is a great place to free your mind from all the daily stresses, to find relaxation, and just feed your eyes with the view of the sea and the clouds.
However as time went by, people are more inclined to traveling. The beaches in the Philippines has been one of the go-t0 places by travelers – local and foreign ones. As they say, it is always summer here in the Philippines. Beaches started to get crowded, especially the famous ones and it has become a place for drinks and parties. Luckily, living in a country with 7,107 islands (and counting), I could just go on an hour bus ride and find a beach somewhere. Without spending too much, I can get a beautiful, relaxing view away from the crowd. If you feel like getting more adventure, island hopping could be one for you.
One of the best things I was able to do this summer was, yes, beaching. This time, with a little taste of adventure. As usual, I joined another group of travelers going to Oslob, Cebu City. The town is best known for the whale watching adventure and the nearby Sumilon Island.
From Dumaguete, we went to Sibulan Port and got into a ferry boat going to Lilo-an Port. And yes, the 6am view at the port was beautiful.
After 30 minutes on the ferry boat, we were welcomed by this amazing view at the port. I wanted to jump into the water right then and there! Good thing we have a bus to catch going to Oslob where the whale sharks were waiting for us, or I already took a dip into that crystal clear waters.
A 30-minute bus ride from Lilo-an Port got us at the briefing and registration area in Tan-awan, Oslob for the whale watching adventure. I was told that there might be quite a lot of tourists going to the place during weekends, but I was not expecting that we will be welcomed by a sea of people! Because of that, we have to wait for a couple of hours to get on the boat.
After two long hours of waiting under the scorching heat of the sun, we finally got into the boat going to the site. Whale sharks, here we come!
And there goes Mr. Whale Shark! This friendly giant was definitely worth the wait. The thrill and the excitement every time they pass by in front of me was just priceless. It was very tempting to touch them, but I wouldn’t risk paying 20,000 to 50,000 pesos as fines for touching the whales, or worse going to spend some time in jail. They said that whale sharks are pretty sensitive that touching them wouldn’t be good for these gentle giants. So, nope! My eyes are already satisfied just by watching them swim right by me.
Yes, under Republic Act 9147, an Act for the conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and Habitats, it is illegal to maltreat or kill endangered species, like the whale shark. The penalty is three to six months in jail with a fine of P20,000 to P50,000 for maltreating an endangered species. A longer prison term and higher fine is slapped for killing and destroying them.
We were on the site for 20-30 minutes and then we went back to the briefing area. Swimming with whale sharks was an experience of a lifetime. Although I am not part of their food chain, seeing these gentle giants up close with their mouths wide open as they were being fed was terrifying. However, they seem very calm and kind.