Interacting with the Gentle Giants in Oslob

For adventurous enthusiasts who are keen to experience new things, there’s this popular spot in the Philippines that you should try, it’s the Whale Sharks in Oslob. You can swim with the whale sharks and you can even feed them. Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, but they’re not even close to dangerous. They can grow up to 4-12 meters in length and weigh up to 23 tons. They have enormous five foot wide mouths with no teeth. You can opt in for scuba diving or snorkelling with the whale sharks, just pay for the extra charges in the area so they can provide you with the necessary gears.

Whale shark watching in Oslob is a 100% guaranteed experience you could have since the whale sharks are present throughout the year. 

There are a number of places you can snorkel with whale sharks in the Philippines and two of the popular destinations are in Donsol and Oslob. But the most popular is in Oslob, undoubtedly.

Rules and Regulations

  • No SCUBA, scooters or any motorized underwater propulsion
  • Maximum of 6 swimmers per whale shark
  • Only one boat per whale shark
  • Maximum of 30 boats at sea
  • Do not touch, ride or restrict the movement of the shark.
  • Swimmers should be 3 meters from the head and body; 4 meters from the tail
  • Maximum of 10-minute swim with one whale shark
  • Flash photography is not allowed

The whale sharks themselves are totally wild, not netted in and free to leave at any point. In fact once the 7-12 time slot is over and the feed is stopped they simply disappear back into the blue! Let's face it if a creature that big and fast didn’t want to be surrounded by travellers it would swim off pretty fast!

In a strange parallel I guess it’s kind of the same thing as the dolphins in Monkey Mia over in WA – sometimes one appears, sometimes a solid few. It’s all down to chance and up to the whale sharks.

One thing I did notice was the fact that the government now manages the whole thing – rather than the free for all that apparently used to happen. Numbers are limited and access is solely by paddle boat, to minimise any risk to the creatures themselves.