Meet the Tukis: Oslob's Gentle Giants
On our second day in Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, we woke up at around 7am to prepare ourselves and catch the 9am group tour to Oslob. Finally, we are going to see the whale sharks (tuki in Cebuano; butanding in Bicolano)!
At 7am, I already saw our camp master preparing our table outside our glamping tent. "Did he even had the chance to sleep???" we joked. It seems like he's on call 24/7 to make sure everything in our tent is in order. Thumbs up!
He made us freshly brewed coffee by the beach. What a way to start the day. I could live like this forever.
|Good morning Sumilon!|
We took turns in taking a shower (if you are booked on a glamping tent, you have access to the clean shared shower room on one side of the glamping area. No need to worry about the fact that it is "shared". The staff at Bluewater Sumilon makes sure the shower rooms are clean all the time.
At around 8am we proceeded to the pavilion for the buffet breakfast. I can't help but get my favorite crispy slices of bacon and danggit (dried fish)! That was the heaviest breakfast I had in weeks! #vacationmode
|Hearty slices of bacon|
|My favorite danggit|
|First round, hehe!|
After we finished having breakfast, we went to the private dock to join the other guests in the tour group. Everyone was then asked to wear a lifevest and in no time, the boat's engine started to come to life.
The jump off point to where the whale sharks are is just near Bluewater Sumilon's private wharf in Brgy. Bancogon, Oslob, Cebu. So, the boat brought us to the wharf first where a van was waiting for us. The van ride to the jump off point took us five minutes.
|Bluewater Sumilon's private wharf|
When we arrived at the whale shark encounter starting point, we were asked to sign up and pay a fee of Php 300. Actually, there were two options: Php 300 for "watching" and Php 500 for snorkeling. My friend Irog who had been to Oslob last Holy Week said we we need not declare that we will go snorkeling. After all, we weren't even sure if we will be brave enough to jump the deep waters and play with the tukis. I have also read some blogs saying that you have to pay a fee if you are bringing your own camera. But when we were there, this wasn't the case. No fees for bringing your own camera. They, however, have underwater cameras for rent.
After signing up and paying the fees, a brief orientation was conducted by the local tourism representative. The short briefing was all about the do's and don'ts of whale shark encounter. Then, a guy led us to a hut where we were asked to wear a lifevest. The small boat was waiting for us at the shore. We hopped on the small boat and cruised about ten meters from the shore. I was talking to my friend Glen when suddenly Irog, pointed to the direction of the other boat beside us. There's tuki! It looks like a huge catfish! The fisherman was feeding it with small shrimps so it keeps on following his boat. The mouth was so big I swear Akisha would fit in it! We all watched it as it glided its plump body in the water.
|A whale shark chasing a fisherman|
The boatman said we can jump in but I still don't have the guts to do so. I mean, I can jump for sure but how am I going to go back to the boat? It wasn't the type where there is a sturdy ladder where I could cling to! I hope they'll have boats of that sort in the future so that people like me can just cling on the ladder while snorkeling! The water's current was a bit strong, too, so we were hesitant to jump. It would have been nice to see these gentle giants up close underwater.
|Tuki, up close|
Since we didn't jump into the water, the boatman volunteered to take photos of the whale sharks with my underwater camera (actually, a digicam in a waterproof pouch). He took nice photos, I must admit!
|A closer look at Tuki|
|Is he staring on us?|
There were about four medium-sized whale sharks during our visit. Irog said the ones in Sorsogon are bigger but will require you to chase it farther from the shore. And by that I mean you really have to jump into the water for you to see it! Hmm, that made me think twice about going to Donsol. I will definitely freak out when they say "jump!"
|Three whale sharks congregated near our boat|
The whale shark encounter took 30 minutes. After that, we returned to the shore and shopped for some souvenirs. I got some whale shark ref magnets at three pieces for Php 100. Shirts and other simple tokens are also available.
We were supposed to go to Tumalog Falls after our whale shark watching activity but we were advised that the falls were closed for five days because some gargantuan rocks fell off from its peak. Oh well, we shall go there next time! So, we hopped on our boat again and went back to Bluewater Sumilon before lunch time.
Our camp master was again present at the pavilion to welcome us back. He already made arrangements for our set lunch which includes onion soup, calamares, chicken inasal and prawns. A delectable plate of brazo de mercedes served as a sweet ending.
|Brazo de Mercedes|
What a hearty lunch again! Perfect for our activities right after: snorkeling and trekking
BLUEWATER SUMILON BEACH RESORT
Sumilon Island, Bancogon, Oslob,
Cebu, Philippines 6025
Phone: (63 32) 318 3129 / 318 9098
Mobile: 0917 631 7512 / 0999 885 8337
MANILA SALES OFFICE
Rm. 704 Cityland Herrera Tower Rufino cor. Valero Sts. Salcedo Village,
Makati City, Philippines
Phone: (63 2) 817-5751 / 887-1348
Fax: (63 2) 893-5391
ESCARIO SALES OFFICE
CRM Bldg., Escario cor. Molave Sts., Lahug, 6000 Cebu City
Phone: (63 32) 412 2436