The Philippines – Cebu, Oslob ( 15 – 18 April )

To get back to Cebu Island, we took a ferry from Bohol to Argao. We thought it wasn’t wise to take the ferry all the way back to Cebu city to drive 4 hours by bus to Oslob. However, from Argao to Oslobo was only a few hours by bus. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t work 100% for us. We were waiting for a bus in Argao for an hour because it was not possible to buy tickets from there and there wasn’t even a proper bus stop there. We just stood on the edge of the road with a bunch of locals and we waited for the right bus to pass by, and just waived the hand. Within that hour, we had 3-4 buses that were all overcrowded and the bus driver didn’t bother to stop. Finally, we got on the bus, but we were forced to stand in the aisle of the bus. It was probably the worst bus ride on our journey – there was no air conditioner on the bus and no place to support. However, in the end, we, fortunately, made it to Oslob safely.

In Oslob, we were planning to spend 4 days. It is a small village by the sea, known primarily as a diving and snorkeling center where you can see the famous whale sharks. By the way, Jaanus was also able to find AirBnB in one reasonable room right on the shore of the sea. The hostess of our house was extremely kind and helpful, and when we got there tired of a long bus ride, she went on the market to bring us something to eat. We felt quite at home with her although living conditions were rather modest. It was most pleasant to hang out in the balcony with the locals and watch the sea. From there the staircase led directly to the light blue water bay, where hundred of meter from the shore it was possible to snorkel. In the water, all sorts of creatures could be seen, starting with hundreds of different sea stars and ending with colorful fish and corals. But when walking around in the water, you had to be very careful, because the seabed was also full of sea urchins.

The hostess of the house arranged us a guide to help us to go snorkeling with whale sharks. To do this we had to wake up from 4 in the morning to jump onto the motorcycle at 4.30 and by 5 o’clock we arrived at the snorkeling center. The morning air was pretty cooling – the first time Kaija was cold in Asia at all. Jaanus thought it was a pleasant home feeling when the chicken skin came to the body. We also saw a wonderful sunrise.

On the spot, we were quite grateful to the hostess of the house for recommending us to the guide because the queues were crazy. However, thanks to the existence of the guide, we did not have to wait in any ques – he took care of everything. Before going to snorkeling, we were given a thorough lecture, which can and should not be done in the presence of the big ones. Then we were put together with other hundreds of local and Chinese tourists in tiny boats set aside at sea. Then we were ordered to go into the water and there the living creatures swam. We saw only the baby whale sharks, so in reality, these adults are even bigger. We saw them quite close, and sometimes it was even a bit scary. Although we both know that whale sharks are safe for humans, the size of them was nevertheless terrifying. One swam so close that he touched Jaanus’ feet with his tail.

The locals helped us with taking pictures and posing, but we got tired of it quite soon because we wanted to enjoy being there … as much as possible. But it was a bit distant from enjoyment because the air was accompanied by some kind of unpleasant smell, which constantly caused a vomit reflex. This could also be due to the shrimp that was fed to the fish to constantly swim pass the tourists. Anyway, it was not the most pleasant experience to try to breathe through the pipe, if you had to constantly fight the vomit reflex: D Jaanus had no issue, however. So he enjoyed this in full … In general, this was the first experience we had with the one hundred tourists fighting for the best spot. You constantly had to monitor not to hit anyone with your feet and hands. The situation was especially complicated with the Chinese, who tried to all hold on to the boat, but also wished to see the whales. The Chinese do not know how to swim very well, so their hands and feet move in the most irregular rhythm in the water. Ultimately, we had the awesome experience with whale sharks, but for the second time, it would probably not take anything like that anymore. Definity would go see the whale sharks again but not with that much of crowd.

On the way back, we discovered that our guide hadn’t even given us helmets in the morning … so we held tight ourselves and breathing deeply so that we were still making it back alive and healthy. So we got the experience of the Filipino style motorcycle ride meaning the more people on one vehicle, the better.

Except for the snorkeling experience, there wasn’t much to do or see in Oslob. There is no beautiful beach on Paradise, as the seaside area is built with local houses. There is also a large church in the center of the village, where we did not dare to go in because there was (probably an easter holiday) service there.

In the evenings, we mostly dined on the market where we got delicious barbecue meat and fish. The system was very simple – you could choose your own meat and a suitable garnish (rice, vegetables or potatoes) and they cook it for you. Jaanus did not miss the opportunity and tried both chicken intestines and kidneys. Kaija remained with traditional fish and chicken fillet.

One evening we also had a restaurant dinner. It was quite a funny experience, as the service staff disappeared with our order into a small closet, and then our food literally appeared from that closet. Maybe it was one of the right bars to come out of the closet?

We would have liked to have stayed longer with Oslob, but unfortunately, the owner of the house had no room to offer us for longer and we had to move on. So, we packed the bags again and waited beside the road until the right bus came. This time we had more luck, we only waited 15 minutes and we could even have a seat 😊


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