Meet and greet with the Gentle Giants

I’m telling you now that the title of this post is exaggerated. Why? Because I can’t dive so I’m merely watching the whales feed on planktons provided by the locals and I’m too afraid to go near it because   their tails are sharp and long. I got one sorry photo where the local fisherman pushed me into the water for an underwater shot with the whale. And my entire face was covered with my hair. It was a photo of my hair and the whale. So if you are someone like me, make sure to tie your hair or push it with a hairband or something to keep it in place. Enough of that. Let’s move on to how we got there.

This trip was on May 2014 and I’m sure prices have rocketed since. There’s a bit of an issue for this because whales are supposed to be migrating from place to place in search for food. However, since fishermen in the area keeps on feeding (luring) the whales, the whales have changed their nature which we may affect other marine behavior. If you remember your elementary science, it’s a cycle. It’s a domino effect but I’m no expert to say more so let’s not delve into this further. During our visit, there was a team of biologists conducting a study on large marine vertebrates.

From Bacolod, we took an economy bus going to Dumaguete. There was no air conditioning on the bus because it was economy (duh!). It was a very unfortunate trip because the bus stops every time a passenger is on the road to the point where passengers had to stand and squish themselves so they can fit in the isle. It was soooooooooo hot, our clothes are wet from sweat and I can feel the dust on my throat because the road is under repair. It took us 7 hours to get to Dumaguete. We were all spent! We stayed at CL Hotel near the boulevard. It was cheap at 2,500 for 7 people. They have a café on the rooftop and a live band at Friday nights. We took turns with the bathroom, we ate and then I slept because it felt like my spirit has left my body.

The following day, we went to the port and took a boat going to Santander, Cebu. If you are lucky, you will see dolphins frolicking in the sea. It’s a 30 minutes boat ride to Cebu. From Santander port, we took a tricycle going to Oslob. It was cheap and Manong Fernando was kind enough to help us look for a place to stay. We were idiots who went without a reservation so yeah you can judge me haha! We ended up at MB Sunrise View Resort and fortunately there is an available air conditioned room good for 7 people.

Food is affordable and the place is near the part of the sea where whales usually gather to feed. The resort hasn’t finished building their infinity pool so we never had a midnight swim. We woke up early because there is a seminar required for us to attend before we go on whale watching. Seminar starts at 8am and you can start whale watching at 9 am. We finished our activity before lunch. After lunch, we then arranged a trip with the resort. The owner allowed us to use their vehicle for a trip in the surrounding areas. We went to Tumalog falls first. The road is difficult but we managed to get to the drop off point. From there, we walked a few kilometers to get to the falls. I was really tired from the walk because the road has a lot of uphills! Anyway, we got there and the waterfall was nice and really cold and we had fun. We headed next to Baluarte. It’s an abandoned fort but the place was kept clean. You can sit and watch the ocean from there. It was a peaceful place to relax, meditate or walk.

Be warned! Restaurants and carinderia’s near Oslob are very expensive. So we stopped on the market to buy food instead and we had the caretakers cook it for our dinner. The day ended and we returned home the next day.

We also went to Sumilon Island. We paid 2,500 for the boat going to and from the main island. We were unable to book a reservation on the resort because we weren’t planning on it really. So we stopped at the entrance of the island were tourists can swim and visit the sandbar (if its lowtide). Unfortunately, it was high tide when we arrived.

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