Travel Time: Oslob, Cebu

8:11:00 AM

After two weeks of very busy work and school life, the awaited early summer vacation has come! Work in my case and school life for my three other friends. One of them is Filipino and the other two are Japanese, male and female.

We had anticipated that the trip to the south will be a 3 to 4 hours travel from the main city of Cebu, Cebu City to the second to the last province of Cebu's south area, Oslob.
It is my father's hometown and I take it as my own too.
So, there we were. We met up at 4:30AM. It was still dark, and since it was early, some of us (me and Mizuki) ate breakfast together in a fastfood chain that is open for 24 hours because the guys had eaten their fill.

We left at around 5:00AM to 5:30AM in a 13C jeepney to Colon, Cebu City and rode a 10M jeepney that goes to Pardo, Cebu City. We stopped at the Fire Department building and walked towards the South Bus Terminal.

We rode an airconditioned bus to Dumaguete since it will pass through Oslob. Since there were plenty of passengers already, the guys sat together while me and Mizuki sat together a distance a way from them.

The bus started running at around 6AM. It was a good ride. Since everyone fell asleep at 12AM and had to wake up early, we were all sleepy and tired so we slept during the ride but sometimes wake up.

When we reached Argao, we had a stopover. We stopped for the people who wanted to take a leak or buy something since there is a toilet and a store.

And a few more minutes, we were at Oslob and I got more excited as we were getting nearer. Because the others doesn't know where it is, and they are still dozing.

When we reached the place, it was still around 10 minutes before 9AM.

Still cool but the sun was hot!
And when we got off the bus. I met with my uncles and we started walking towards the briefing area!

We were still walking in the road to the area but we were already giddy and excited. Feeling like we just want to take off our clothes, jump to the sea, and start swimming. But we composed ourselves, however we couldn't stop smiling.

The thing then was how the four of us were mistaken as tourists and foreigners. I and my other friend had to speak Bisaya, our local dialect, so that they wouldn't mistook our payments.

We logged our names and place we came from before we started the briefing. Then a person would explain the rules and polices of the area to us. Someone would brief in English and gives a copy of the policy to be read and the copies are available in English, Japanese, and Korean.
Right after, we have paid our dues.
Whaleshark watching for registered locals in Oslob costs only PhP 30.00.
Whaleshark watching for other citizens in the Philippines would cost PhP 300.00.
Snorkeling for locals costs PhP 500.00 as of the moment.
Snorkeling for foreigners costs PhP 1000.00 as of the moment.

We also rented a go pro with a waterproof case and it costs PhP500.00 with unlimited shots. Since it was my 3rd time going there, I already have an idea and was prepared for it. I had prepared an 8gb micro SD for the storage of the unlimited shots. Having your own micro SD saves a bit of money because transferring it to a CD would cost PhP50.00

We took our photos before going to the site first with our gears.
In just a few minutes, we were already meters and meters away from the shore, we could see the corals under us, the water was so clear but wavy.

This was on 2013, basically 2 years ago, and I still love swimming with these mammals when I get the chance.
 I started going down, I had to take my life vest away because it was difficult for me to swim. I'm really not a good swimmer, but I, at least, know how to float, so I don't need a vest for snorkeling.
I just used a diver's mask and a snorkel. The gopro was with the care of the boatmen. They will be the one who will call, pull, push, and take photos of us together with the whalesharks.
The boatmen will call us to go near the whaleshark, pull us and bring us near the big fish, then push us down so that we will be just beside the fish and take a photo together. It is really thrilling, because at times the boatman would push us hard making us really near the fish. But beware! I, you, we are not allowed to touch the fish or else we have to pay a huge fine or be behind bars for a certain period of time.

Each one of us from the group enjoyed and did our full best to be near the fish and take photos together.
We only had the chance of swimming with the whalesharks for 30 minutes. The timer starts from when we are near the whaleshark.

After a good 30 minutes, we had to go back to shore. We had to stop, but it wasn't the end of our day tour yet! Giving back the things we borrowed, and preparing our things, we took out our towels and other things that could cover us from the heat and the cold air to keep us safe.
We took a little shower (for free) before leaving the place which started to be more crowded than the time we had arrived.

We walked immediately to the street and was discussing if we would be taking a public jeepney or a motorcycle. However, since there were few public jeepney in that area, we had to take a motorcycle. We negotiated the price because it was quite high.
The driver had introduced to us the amount of PhP 120.00 per person for a ride from Tan-awan (Where the whaleshark watching was done) to Tumalog Falls also known as Curtain Falls, and at least two people can ride one motorcycle. That amount of money includes the sending of one person to the falls, one (1) hour of waiting time for them while the said guest will be enjoying the place, additional PhP50.00 (I think, well, I forgot) for another hour of wait, plus the fetching of the driver from the entrance of the falls back to the whaleshark briefing area.
I had negotiated the price and we decided that each one of us will pay PhP90.00 since we don't have any plans to go back to the briefing area.

I and Mizuki rode one motorcycle so as Mark and Taichi.
The view and the motor ride was really nice and breath taking with the view of the tree-filled mountain next to the mountain where we were currently taking.

Arriving at the entrance of Tumalog was hot and crowded. Since it was almost 11AM when we were there, the sun was striking hot. So many cars, with little parking space. I recommend that when you go there, with a family or a group of friends, you should bring a car and arrive at the place earlier than lunch or later and as always, for popular places, going there on weekdays would be spacious than weekends.

We had to walk carefully and avoid the motorcycles' hot exhaust and the cars backing up as others were leaving and the others were parking. Most guests from  the whaleshark briefing area always go to Tumalog falls since it is also part of their trip, and it is really near the place. So, it is so common to see people in two piece or one piece swimsuit, which I do not suggest you to wear. I do not suggest because I'm jealous or insecure with ladies who wear those sexy things (which I cannot dare to wear), I also dissuade guys who would also wear trunks or just shorts. You ask me why? It's because the falls is really cold!
Well, if you want to dare wearing those and soak in the water, you can do that. But, good luck.

It was so cold even when I was wearing a rash guard.
So there we were, we look for the person-in-charge of handling the entrance fees. The fee was just PhP 20.00 per person. It was cheap!
As part of the adventure, we didn't ride a motorcycle down the falls.
We enjoyed walking downhill trying to enjoy but feeling painful under the scorching heat of the sun.
It was quite steep and the motorcycles drives past us so dangerously. We had to keep watch all the time.
When we reached a curve, we could already see the falls, it kept our spirits high.

When we have reached the tree-filled opening part of the waterfalls, it was cool. Totally different from the road we took. There was a comfort room so people could change clothes or do their business.

There is a building and a bridge, a small building that looks like a big cottage with around 5 to 6 tables where we could leave our things or eat if you brought some packed lunches or some food. There is also a part where you can grill your food. But you need to bring your own charcoal, and grill, basically, your own equipment to grill.
There is also a faucet to wash your hands or plates, but no soap. There is a trash bin so, if ever you go there, please throw your garbage appropriately.
The table costs PhP 100.00 only and it is good for four (4) people.

It is fine to leave your things on the table, but always be wary of your personal belongings especially phones, cameras, and money. There is also a possibility that the monkeys lurking around would steal the things. There are some cases like that, for real.

We couldn't wait much longer to go to the falls, bringing my phone and camera, we took photos first. It was so windy and cold. No one wanted to dip even with the shallow water, because of the cold. The falls was as stunning as ever. It sprinkles everywhere though so even without dipping everyone still got soaked.

After taking some photos, we started to play and received a natural massage from the water. Not all of us could stay long in the water though. The water was quite cold and the wind was quite strong and the sunshine doesn't hit directly to the pool of water.
There were around three (3) pools of water from the falls: the big one, a medium one and a deep one. The third pool isn't crowded because it is colder than the others and deeper than the two.

Compared to how it looked few years back, the falls looks grandeur and much better. Clean and cool as always. Elegant and peaceful. Crowded but deserted.

We couldn't stay much because the others were feeling cold. We went back to our table and ate some snacks. We waited for a few more minutes and enjoyed the scenery and the gushing sound of water.

We then decided to head to our next destination. Lunch!
I received a mail from my aunt inviting us to go to her home to eat lunch together.
Now, the battle against the sun multiplied. It was harder because we had to climb the steep road and the sun was hitting straight us. The cement was so hot, no trees surrounding us. Exhaust were fuming.
It wasn't long, but it felt like days, years has passed. (a/n: well, just exaggerating. *laughs*)

Finally we were outside and ready to leave the place. Unfortunately, I and my friends didn't recognize our driver's faces. On the other hand, it was lucky they still remember us. (a/n: of course they should, because we haven't paid.)
Riding the same motorcycle. Feeling at a loss of words, I knew I would miss the falls again, but without moving on or stepping our foot forward, we wouldn't reach our total destination. There were so many things to do, and it was still half of the day.

Let's pause the drama first, we rode a jeepney going to the main town of the province. We also paid our drivers before riding on a jeepney.
Lucky! The we had enjoyed a feast of free lunch because it was also my cousin's birthday. (I apologize, she's my cousin, yet I don't even know her birthday.)

Well, after the lunch, I invited everyone out, to go to the Cuartel beach while we left our things at my house.

Enjoying the strong cool breeze in the bench where we were shaded from the hot sun.
Feeling drowsy from the relaxing area, I invited them to stroll over the place.
Reached the swimming area, initially, we were just going to play with the water, or feel it, yet we ended up swimming and playing with the strong waves.
Cuartel beach is called as it is because of the cuartel building that was constructed. The beach just in the seawall used to be a swimming area, but for some reason, they made it a sanctuary and the swimming area was relocated near a cemetery.

Next stop, Nigad spring. Riding a tricycle that can have 7 passengers..

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  1. Wow! This is awesome. The Whale Sharks and Tumalog Falls are indeed a beautiful experience. Thanks for this one.


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