Fear Factor: Swimming With Whale Sharks In Oslob, Philippines

Whale Sharks; gentle giants of the sea… so they say!

One aspect of traveling that excites me most is facing my fears and pushing my personal limits. For those of you who know me or have read past posts you won’t be surprised to hear that I have a fear of the open ocean and the things that swim in it. Stepping into ankle-deep water with swarms of tropical fish creeps me out. Don’t even get me started on the vast dark blue of the deep waters, I have threatened to end relationships on jet ski’s while being tossed off the back of them in the deep. I do not even eat fish. Yes, I am from Hawaii.

So when I started my research in preparation for going to the Philippines and kept stumbling upon swimming with Whale Sharks I was like, “No way!” It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, bucket list item for many. Whale sharks are gigantic, they are the largest fish in the ocean with the largest confirmed at 41.5ft and a weight of 21.5 tonnes. Talk about SCARY!! I really had no plan or interest in doing this. Than I got to thinking I could at least go see them, ride in the fisherman’s boat and see them from a safe distance.  This is how the episode of Ali’s Fear Factor began.

Oslob is located on the island of Cebu. It is a small fishing village where a handful of local fisherman are feeding the whale sharks. I know, I know that this is not the most eco-friendly method for seeing the whale sharks but it is almost a 100% guarantee of seeing them and way cheaper than seeing them in Donsol.  I was staying in Moalboal just a few hours away from Oslob when a group of friends began organizing the trip I just felt like I had to go. We rented a truck to drive us the two-hour drive for 2700 pesos total and the cost to the local fisherman is 300 pesos each.

When you get to the beach in Oslob the whale sharks are so close you can see them from the shore. You could actually just swim out to them on your own but I do not think the fisherman would allow this. They want your pesos after all.  

So we got aboard the little boats and went out to sea. My friends eagerly jumped in. The all had big smiles on their faces and hijacked my underwater camera and began having a photo shoot. After about 10 minutes of watching them I figured what the heck and grabbed my snorkel and mask and jumped in.  I put my head under the water and took one look and popped right back up hyperventilating. I tried to calm myself down and put my head back under the water. Yep, there were the giant creatures again. Way too big for my liking! I dragged my body back into the boat as fast as possible bruising my legs along the way. So there was no photo shoot for me but my friends enjoyed themselves as you can see from the photos. They were all ecstatic on the ride home and for hours and days after. I would recommend this for people who are fascinated by underwater creatures but if you are like me I say enjoy the ride from the boat.

Time to face those fears!



Whale Shark: one

Ali: zero


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I hope you enjoy the photos of my friends enjoying themselves with these gentle giant horrors!

The whale sharks are just off shore.

Yikes! It's right there!

8 Responses to “Fear Factor: Swimming With Whale Sharks In Oslob, Philippines”
  1. Jill says:

    I also have a fear of the open ocean! Perhaps its because I grew up on a lake, so I never had to worry about things killing me at any given moment. I know it’s a bit melodramatic of me to have a fear of creatures in the ocean (because nothing will probably ever happen), but I just can’t help it! I’m currently in Australia and its one of my goals to let my fears go and swim in the ocean openly and freely. Props on swimming with the sharks!

    • I grew up on a tropical island always in the ocean so I think there is no logical reason for the fear. Lakes actually creep me out as well. Baby steps in the fear conquering is the way to go. I’m still impressed with myself for scuba diving in Bali. I think the trick was that it was a beach dive and I just focused on the ground in front of me and never looked into the dark blue abyss. Snorkeling with giant creatures just didn’t go as well. I recently had to have my boyfriend hold my hand while snorkeling in the Philippines off the boat in deep water over looking a shipwreck… What can I say I’d rather climb a tree 😉

  2. Good article! Cheers for publishing all of this. I enjoy you making the amount of time to write this salient help and advice. Because of this, I have linked back to you. Also, I have have found an online site that has a tendency to promote exactly what you have posted here: Snorkel Set & Snorkeling Gear

  3. It’s posts like the above that , motivates people to keep returning to a fantastic resource like this site. Thankyou .

  4. Hello thanks so much for showing Great information.I am now bookmarking this website for future research.good luck with the good site.

  5. Thanks for the love! I hope you two are braver than me when it comes to giant sea creatures 😉

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] She has a fear of the open ocean and the things that live in it, but that did not stop her from swimming with Whale Sharks. That just got added to my travel to-do […]

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