If you’re tired of weekend getaways that only revolve around lounging and partying by the beach, shopping and non-stop eating, Cebu offers all of that and more. Drive or take a 3 hour bus ride out of the city and you’ll be on your way to an off the beaten track adventure that you can tick off your bucket list!
Cebu is a province in the south of the Philippines with both big and small islands, that has retained it’s famous landmarks from the 16th century Spanish colonial past. It is the first Spanish settlement and the oldest city in the country, and has since been the centre of trade and commerce in Southern Philippines.
With such rich history, walking around Cebu will make you feel like you’ve entered a different era, with old fortresses and churches that can be found around the island and within the city itself. But if you’re looking for an adventure, read on to find out what you can do in Oslob and Kawasan in Cebu.
1. Swim with Whale Sharks
Whether you want to snorkel, dive, or even sit on the boat to watch the whale sharks in Oslob, you’ll definitely be in awe as you swim next to the biggest fish in the sea.
As early as 6am till noon, the whale sharks come close to the shores of Oslob. Registration for the activity costs P500 for locals and P1000 for foreigners, which includes the life vests, snorkel gear, and the boat ride.
After registration and a 15 minute briefing of do’s and dont’s, you’ll be put into groups of 10 onto a boat, and are brought out to about 1km from the beach where the boats will be linked together.
Once linked, you’ll be able to jump out of the boat to swim with the 20 foot whale sharks. Fishermen on tiny boats continuously move around the swim area, feeding the whale sharks with small shrimp. This ensures that everyone gets a chance to swim close to the whale sharks, while controlling excited tourists to stay within their area.
Note: The Oslob department of Tourism fully controls the whale shark swimming activity to ensure that the animals are kept safe from harm from any human interaction. While it is exciting to swim with the whale sharks, do remember to stay at least 5 metres away.
2. Tumalog Falls
If you’re looking for some down time with mother nature, make sure to visit the Tumalog Falls. With crystal blue water, it’s no wonder that so many people make a stop here to have a picnic or a drink, and jump into the cool water.
To get to this beautiful fall, you can either go for a hike up the mountain’s main road which would take around 30-45 mins. An alternative is to take a habal-habal for P50 (SGD2) so that you don’t have to break a sweat! The habal-habal is a quick mode of transportation around Oslob where you ride on the back of a motorbike – a sure fun way to travel and feel the wind on your face!
Fancy hiking and jumping off canyons? Canyoneering in Kawasan is definitely a must do! Kawasan Canyoneering is one of the trusted canyoneering tours with the most friendly guides, who will ensure you get the thrilling canyoneering experience. For a price of P1500 (SGD50) per person, the tour includes the guide, safety helmet, lifevest, ride to the jump station, guide and government fees, bottled water, luggage counter, dry bag, and lunch at the end of the tour.
The 4 hour guided hike will take you through the mountains and lush forest. If you’re worried you won’t make it through, don’t worry as the entire experience is so enjoyable you won’t even feel tired. You’ll be swimming and jumping into the crystal clear cold water that with every jump you do, you’ll be pumped to go back for more!
Scared of going hungry along the way after all the adrenaline and action? Fret not as there is a halfway point in the middle of the forest where you can grab some food. The villagers have set up a BBQ station in the middle of the forest to serve tourists who want a bite along the way. Every day they carry their bags of BBQ up and down a cliff to make sure you’ll never go hungry!
The vendors sell a variety of hotdogs, chips and drinks . But if you’re up for some food adventure, they’ve also got a local delicacy called the “isaw” – a pork or chicken intestine that’s been barbecued (definitely a must try!).
After climbing up on big and small rocks, sliding into the cool water, jumping off 40 feet cliffs, getting muddy and clean again together with a group makes it all the more fun! After enduring 4 hours with the group, you’ll definitely make friends as you scream with each other and laugh at each other’s jumps off the canyons.
4. Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls has numerous falls. If you are going canyoneering with Kawasan Canyoneering, this fall would be the last stop where you can enjoy the majestic view, go for a swim, or rent a bamboo raft and sit right under the fall. Alternatively, Kawasan Falls is also accessible by a 15-20 minute walk from the main road.
You can bring your own food and drinks here and rent one of the tables or cottages. But if you don’t want to be carrying loads of bags, there is also a restaurant available at your convenience.
Oslob is a very small town in Cebu with a population of less than 30,000. Because of the growth in tourism in this town, there is an abundance of lodging available. While there are a lot of lodgings spread out in Oslob, the best area to stay at will be in the town proper where there is easy access to restaurants and stores.
A recommended place to stay at will be the Oslob New Village Lodge which is strategically located in the town proper. They have a variety of rooms available from double rooms to family rooms, with the choice of a fan or airconed room. The prices vary, but can be as low as P1000 to P2000 (SGD30-60). The lodge is a 2 minute walk from the main road, 1 minute walk to the beach, 5 minute walk to the historic Cuartel (the Spanish fort back in the day), and a 15 minute ride to Tumalog Falls and Whale Shark Swimming Area.
The lodge also provides packages available upon request. To get in touch with them, visit their Facebook page here.