If you’ve ever wanted to travel to the Philippines, you have probably seen things like swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, Badian canyoneering and Kawasan Falls. However, if you’re tight on time or like an adventure-packed tempo, did you know you can plan all the highlights of Cebu into a single day trip?
We hired a private air-con van for 5 people (seats 8-10 pax) for 6,000 PHP and set out in the early morning to begin our Cebu Tour.
First Stop, Oslob!
Oslob is known worldwide as the home of the infamous whale sharks that visit the beach everyday for travelers and tourists to experience these gentle giants up close. You can choose from simply whale-watching on a longboat, snorkeling or even SCUBA diving. Controversy aside, swimming with these massive creatures has to be one of the coolest things I have ever done. Prior to the interaction, there is a short orientation in which the workers go over a few important rules to protect the whale sharks.
- DO NOT TOUCH the whale sharks
- Do not apply sunscreen of any kind
- No flash photography
It seems like the people of Oslob are taking steps to protect the whale sharks, however, the animals are still being fed by local fishermen to keep them close enough to the boats for people to take photos. Some will argue that these daily feedings are affecting the whale sharks’ natural migration patterns. There are other options out there to swim with whale sharks in the wild, but do your research and decide for yourself. At the very least, do follow these rules to protect the whale sharks.
Prices as of January 2017 are the following:
- Whale-watching only from the boat = PHP 500
- Snorkeling (equipment included) = PHP 1,000
- SCUBA (equipment not included) = PHP 1,500
Pro Tip: Discounted rate for Filipino travelers and Philippine locals! We were never asked to show any kind of ID and are technically all Filipino.
Filipino Visitors/Philippine Locals
- Whale-watching only from the boat = PHP 300
- Snorkeling (equipment included) = PHP 600
Next Stop, Aguinid Falls!
One of the benefits of traveling with a private driver is that the locals go to places that are not in your average travel guide. I had never even heard of Aguinid Falls before this trip, but it definitely did not disappoint! If you’ve ever seen videos of Badian Canyoneering to Kawasan Falls, you can imagine that but without the 20-60 meter jumps. I would still eventually like to experience canyoneering, but Aguinid Falls is the perfect consolation for travelers that want the thrills of Badian for a fraction of the price. Aguinid Falls is a series of waterfalls, which you climb through to the next level.
Guides are free and heavily recommended! Levels 0-5 are advertised and include some mild inclines and man-made steps. However, when we arrived at Level 5, our guides told us there were 3 additional falls and a shortcut back to the base camp. All we had to do was scale the side of a huge waterfall using only the natural elements and the help of our guides. This was an experience we will never forget. Disclaimer: Moderate physical activity required and not for the faint of heart! Unlike Badian Canyoneering, these falls do not require guides, helmets or life vests, but accidents do happen! The locals saw a lack of safety in the area and started a coalition of guides to help travelers safely maneuver the slippery rocks. As Aguinid Falls is a small and unknown excursion, all guides are unpaid and volunteer their time. Please tip your guide!
Entrance Fee: PHP 40 per person
Parking Fee: PHP 50 per vehicle
Final Stop, Kawasan Falls!
Whether you’re taking the local bus to Kawasan Falls or a private driver, the entrance is the same. Look for Matutinao Badian Church. Parking is PHP 100 for a van. As soon as you park, a swarm of locals will begin asking if you’d like a guide or book a bamboo massage for PHP 600 pp. The road to the falls is easy and straightforward, skip the guide and just walk yourself. Entrance fee is PHP 40 pp.
Kawasan Falls is actually comprised of multiple waterfalls, the second one being the most popular and most photographed. Instagram worthy! With that being said, massive tourism has built up the area around the falls. We opted for the bamboo massage, in which a guide will row you out towards the falls as you lay flat and feel the sheer power of the waterfall against your skin. It was COLD! Like really cold, but the ride on the bamboo raft puts you in the center of all the action, which is where I was able to snap this photo. Avoid prime times and weekends if you hope to snag a great pic without the crowd!
Until next time, Cebu! Be sure to follow @nextdextination to stay updated on all my travels and find out #whatsnextdex ! Leave a comment, what’s your next destination?