I am still grappling with the fatigue from the trip and plunging into work right after, but I just. had. to. share. I checked off 1 more item off my bucket list! Woohoo! One down, many more to go and totally looking forward to it.

And yes, you read that right. I SWAM WITH THE SHARKS. And there was 5 of them in total!

That was the sole purpose of my Cebu trip, really. It was an amazing, amazing experience. Probably the most amazing travelling experience I have ever had, the excitement of seeing a really huge giant right before my eyes, the adrenaline of being so close to the largest noncetacean animal in the world and being hit by it accidentally while posing for a picture… just. AWESOME.  

One in a lifetime experience. And I super regret that I didn’t ask to go again right there and then. I should have!

Swimming with whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu.

Swimming with whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu.

For some strange reason (i think panic), I couldn’t bring myself to sink in the water there and then. I kept struggling to stay underwater to take the pictures, and it didn’t dawn on me then that I was trying to sink head first (dive position) which is a lot harder rather than butt first (sitting position). That would explain all the awkward positions of me in all the pictures.

Help! There are sharks in the water!

Help! There are sharks in the water!

The whale shark coming from behind me.

whale shark as a surf board

I look like I’m using the whale shark as a surf board, but i’m not!

See a shark and whatcha do? #firstletmetakeaselfie

See a shark and whatcha do? #firstletmetakeaselfie

Whale shark being really up close.

Whale shark being really up close. Look at those beautiful gills. They flutter like wings in the water.

Enormous, enormous whale shark just a stone throw away.

Enormous, enormous whale shark just a stone throw away.

My uncles swimming amongst the whale sharks

My uncles swimming amongst the whale sharks. Totally love this picture!

From above water. See size of the boat and the shark size in comparison!

From above water. See size of the boat and the shark size in comparison!

The 30 mins that I spent in the water with the whale sharks is totally worth waking up at 4am in the morning for. Plus, the many hours of road journey to get to where the whale sharks were. Totally, totally worth it.

AWESOME RIGHT?  Add that to your bucket list too please.

Here’s a run down of the full experience. I journeyed out from my hotel in Cebu Center at 4am in the morning by a van all the way to Oslob (I stayed in Quest Hotel Cebu).  We rented the van to carry all 7 of us through the journey and back, as well as to visit a couple of waterfalls along the way back.

We arrived in Oslob at about 9am, and went to BCD’s Place for the whale shark watching/swimming. One can either opt to watch it from the boat (Php500) or go into the water and swim with them (Php1000). Take the latter, it is so much worth the money and it is so affordable (it works out to be only Sgd$30+?) for the experience of the lifetime.

Tiny boats out in the sea, where the whale sharks are.

Tiny boats out in the sea, where the whale sharks are.

Here’s how it looks like from the shore. Tiny little boats far out in the sea, clustering around the area where the whale sharks swim.

Safety briefing on swimming with whale sharks. You are NOT ALLOWED to touch them, by the way.

Safety briefing on swimming with whale sharks. You are NOT ALLOWED to touch them, by the way.

The safety distance is 4m if you are wondering. And right after this, into the boat we go! It’s a tiny boat that looks somewhat like a sampan, but it is surprisingly very sturdy and doesn’t feels like its going to capsize even when all 7 of us are holding to one side of the boat while in the water.

Climbing on board the little boat.

Climbing on board the little boat.

Out comes my #selfie stick and I take a picture of us all!

Out comes my #selfie stick and I take a picture of us all!

In case you are wondering, please bring along the selfie stick that is waterproof. I had both the bluetooth version and the non bluetooth one and i specifically brought this out into the sea for obvious reasons. It can afford to get wet, because it will!

The experience starts when the boat stops near the whale sharks! You have a grand total of 30 mins to observe these beautiful creatures before the boatman signals you to get back on the boat. If you can swim, you can ditch the life vest like me and just swim around. If you aren’t, just wear the vest and float around.

I recommend stripping that life vest off so that you can go underwater and take awesome pictures. BUT, only if you are a confident swimmer. The water is quite deep and pretty much no one to save you if you cannot quite swim. Bring along an underwater camera and pass it to the boatman. He will be snapping pictures of you non stop and telling you to get under the water at the opportune moment for a perfect picture. All underwater pictures seen here are taken by the boatman except my selfie shot. Underwater camera is a must! For this trip, I used the Canon Powershot D30 and I will be reviewing the camera on my blog soon.

It was a short trip and I didn’t have the time to stay at the beach resort to do this all day but if this is your kind of thing, do consider staying a day or two at the beach resort and clock in as many swims with the whale sharks as possible. The whale sharks viewing is limited from 6am – 12 noon so do take note and arrive early if you are travelling from the city like me.

Cebu skies turn bright very early in the morning and by 5am, the skies are all bright and the sun is up so you don’t have to worry about not being able to see anything if you want to go for this at 6am.

Another #selfie while hanging around the boat

Another #selfie while hanging around the boat

Another #selfie of us! Der looks weird in his power goggles that he used for swimming.

Another #selfie of us! Der looks weird in his power goggles that he used for swimming.

Oh, if you wear spectacles and can’t see without them, I recommend that you bring along your power goggles like what my husband did. He did look a tad weird amongst everyone in those black goggles, but he definitely had a very clear vision of all the sharks! Contact lens not recommended unless you are a pro and very very sure that it won’t disappear into the sea.

That’s all I have to share, and if do drop me a comment if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to share any of the information I know. Meanwhile, stay tuned to the updates of the rest of the trip! I visited 2 waterfalls, took a cruise to Bohol, caught sight of the Tarsier (2nd smallest primate in the world) and some snakes (black mumba!), feed love birds off my hands, went into a butterfly park, and visited the Chocolate Hills with free flow chocolate (joking!!). I also tasted the roast pig that Anthony Bourdain declared as the “Best Pig Ever!”. More to come. Now, let me go grab some sleep first.

*Yawns*

P.s. You aren’t allowed to touch the sharks but I guess its ok for the sharks to touch you? I was posing for a picture underwater when one of them sharks bumped me from behind and I freaked out (kinda screamed under water), lost all my breath and struggled to get away from the shark and to the water surface. Not very pleasant, but an experience nonetheless. And I touched that shark. Hee.