Tuesday, January 7, 2014

OSLOB & Mactan- Combining adventure & luxury

When my mom bought me an underwater pink camera years back,  I proclaimed to the world that I would swim with whale sharks. Of course when you talk too much, less action is done. So this 2014, we made a decision on a whim to head over to Oslob. Everything fell into place. Extremely grateful as well that after hearing sad stories about how the whale sharks were used to monetize the town, improvements have actually taken place. They all work together now to keep these gentle giants coming. A great adventure for the family, paired up with a relaxed weekend resort hopping experience is what we got. So here's a quick how to on how to head to Oslob for those who would want to...just do it!:) 

1. Fly in via Dumagete (if you're coming from Manila). Flights are usually cheaper and travel is shorter than going back and forth from Cebu. 

2. From the airport, take a tricycle for Php150 to Sibulan port. If you wish to stay in Dumagete, our trike driver, Kuya George09269072597, has a great contact with some good resorts around. The ride will take around 20min. 

3. From Sibulan port, buy your boat tickets to Liloan, around Php45 for adults and Php25 children. That's for a pump boat. Fast crafts are just for Php10 more. Either way, they're both good to use with almost the same amount of time to get to the other island. 

3. Prepare your coins.  Php2.00 is collected for each pax as a toll upon arriving. Php5.00 if you need to use the toilet is collected as well :D

4. Hire a trike again to take you to Oslob. It should cost you around Php300 for around 30min. 

5. Make sure to arrive before 12noon. They stop the tour after 1230pm. Feeding stops and Whale Sharks leave after that. We paid Php1,200 for 3 pax. Foreigners usually pay a little more. This fee is if you'll opt to swim. A cheaper rate is given if you'll just stay inside the boat. 

You'll be given a little briefing first before heading out to the whale sharks. Make sure to pack light since a lot of traveling will be happening. Leave your thingswith either the tricycle driver or ask for a room where you could keep your stuff. Remember, no sunscreen if you'll be swimming with the Butandings. Simple showers are available outside for some quick cleaning up. 

6. You may choose to stay in Dumagete and explore more. I hear Apo island is a wonderful place to go to as well. You may also book a resort in Sumilon island for some glamping moments, or head out to Cebu like we did. If Cebu is your choice of destination, you could take a bus after the swim for Php150/pax. Bus arrives every 15min and may take around 3-4hrs. Our trike driver knew a seaman who had a comfy 4x2 and who was willing to take us to Cebu for 3.5k. Not bad at all! Private vans usually cost around 6k to head to Cebu. Our gracious driver brought his wife along for the ride and we were able to make comfortable stops along the way whenever we wanted to. 

     Shangrila Mactan

    Movenpick Hotel

My suggestion is to take a flight back to Manila via Cebu. After the tiring swim, a good beach trip in Cebu would be awesome. My personal picks are Shangrila Mactan for a very very very good family R&R, as they are well equipped with kiddy stuff all around the resort. Movepick Hotel for a cool ambiance, perfect for younger ones out to enjoy and have fun. Plantation bay may not have a wonderful beach to boot, but service is priceless and Mogambo Spa is always amazing! Cheaper than Chi but hella good too! Of course there are other cheaper city hotels & resorts around (e.g Imperial (great for kids), Be resorts, Island stay, Crown Regency etc etc). Choose depending who you're with and what you need from a vacation. This is the reason I keep coming back to Cebu. It has endless possibilities for a vacation. There's always never enough time to explore and enjoy Cebu. 

Anyhoo...My say, have a weekend or 4days/3nights package mixed with roughing it out the 1st or until the 2nd day in Dumagete, then head over to Cebu to relax and unwind. Oh... And whatever you do, if you plan to swim with the whale sharks, don't forget to bring an underwater camera:) 

For hotels,resort,flights, and tour package bookings, call 8541813 #jerontravel or email inbound@jerontravel.com :)

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