6 Top Things to Do in Oslob, Philippines

Whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu

TripSavvy / Mike Aquino

If you're planning to make the three-hour, seventy-mile trip from Cebu City to Oslob as part of your Philippine itinerary, make sure you take in all the local sights. And no, the whale shark encounter is not all there is to do in this far-flung Philippines municipality—you'll find plenty more to see and do around town. From a hidden waterfall to a roasted seaside feast, find out what Oslob offers visitors who want to hang around. 

01 of 06

Day Trip to Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls in Oslob, Philippines

Ershov_Maks / Getty Images

Santander - Barili - Toledo Rd, Badian, 6031 Cebu, Philippines
Phone +63 906 440 7691

About a two-hour drive from Oslob in Badian, you'll find Kawasan Falls, one of Cebu's most beautiful waterfalls, known for its bright turquoise waters. Check out the two main waterfalls, then cool off with a swim in one of the natural pools—the water here is cold but refreshing on a hot day. Adrenaline junkies can also try canyoneering or zip lining, with several guided tours available throughout the region.

02 of 06

Swim with the Whale Sharks in Barangay Tan-Awan

woman swimming with whale sharks in Oslob

 Aliaksandra Ivanova / EyeEm / Getty Images

Tan-awan, Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

The world's largest fish, whale sharks have learned to feed from local fishermen, who sprinkle krill in the water for these "vegetarian" sharks to suck into their gills. So "domesticated" have the local sharks become that tourists now congregate to Tan-Awan town in Oslob to snorkel as they slowly circle the waters, sucking in a free meal.

To be sure, this is not considered a responsible travel practice, and environmentalists fear some harm will come the whale sharks' way if this practice is not stopped—on the other hand, the appearance of visitors has helped turn this sleepy fishing village into a relatively prosperous tourist town. To allay fears, local authorities have set up rules to minimize unwelcome contact with the whale sharks, to the extent of requiring sunblock to be washed off before getting in the water.

03 of 06

Cool Off Under Tumalog Falls

Low Angle View Of Tumalog Falls

Roman Skorzus / EyeEm / Getty Images

Brgy Natalio Bacalso Avenue, Oslob, Cebu, Philippines
Phone +63 943 415 0072

Most visitors to Tan-Awan pair their whale shark watching trip with a visit to Tumalog Falls, a 300-foot waterfall located in Oslob's highlands. To get there, take the Cebuano motorcycle taxi known as the habal-habal up to the jump-off point, where another set of habal-habal will take you down a thrilling, steep paved road to the foot of the falls.

Tumalog Falls' water is clean and descends into a large, shallow, crystal-clear pool where you can wash the seawater off your body if you've previously snorkeled off Tan-Awan with the whale sharks (see above). The air around the pool is bathed with a soothing mist, while the surrounding foliage completes Tumalog Falls' otherworldly atmosphere.

04 of 06

Eat Sutukil by the Beach

Squid and prawn undergoing the "sutukil" treatment.

TripSavvy / Mike Aquino

Tan-awan, Oslob, 6025 Cebu, Philippines
Phone +63 925 727 6464

Cebuanos like their food simple and unadorned. Pork? Roast it on a spit with a few local herbs and you have the famous Cebu lechon; take the skin, broil it till it's crisp and you have chicharon.

Seafood? That's where three syllables come in: sutukil, which stand for three different methods of cooking. Su is for sugba, or to grill; shrimp, squid, pork belly and tilapia are favorite grilled meats in Cebu. Tu is for tula, or stew; Cebuanos are partial to stewed Spanish mackerel (tanigue) and chicken. Kil is for kilaw, or to cook in vinegar in a similar way to ceviche; Spanish mackerel blossoms wonderfully when marinated in vinegar and coconut milk.

Oslob suits adventurous eaters who want to enjoy their sutukil by the beach. Brumini Bed and Beach Resort in Barangay Tan-Awan hosts a row of sutukil stalls where you can pick from their meats on hand and have them cooked the way you like them, served with plenty of white rice.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Go Diving off Sumilon Island

Gorgonian coral along Sumilon Island's underwater wall.

Tim Rock / Lonely Planet / Getty Images

C9MR+C7J, Oslob, Cebu, Philippines
Phone +63 32 481 0801

Located just off Oslob, Sumilon Island is the site of the Philippines' first marine sanctuary, first set up in the 1970s by a marine biologist at nearby Silliman University. While dynamite fishing and other harmful practices once brought the island's ecosystem to the brink, careful shepherding by local NGOs has allowed Sumilon Island's wildlife to bounce back.

Divers can enjoy excellent visibility in Sumilon's crystal-clear waters; the 124 acres of surrounding coral reef harbor a surprising variety of marine life ranging from barracuda, snakes, and lionfish to stingrays and hammerhead sharks—and don't forget the whale sharks that commute between Sumilon and their feeding grounds off Oslob.

Those who prefer to stay close to Sumilon's dive sites can choose accommodations such as the Bluewater Sumilon Resort, though divers staying in Oslob, Bohol Island and nearby Dumaguete City manage to make the commute just fine.

06 of 06

Visit Historic Ruins

Oslob's parish church, built in 1848.

LeylanR / Creative Commons

GCCM+8MH, Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

The municipality of Oslob is one of the oldest in the Philippines, having first been established in 1690 as a religious sub-parish within a neighboring town. After achieving recognition as its own parish in 1848, work quickly began on the town's government infrastructure, some of which still exists today in the Oslob poblacion, or town center.

Walk down Calle Aragones—first established in 1879—and you'll come across the Municipal Heritage Park facing the sea. The park contains Oslob's oldest structures, including the Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church, built in 1848 out of coral harvested from the nearby sea; the Cuartel, a barracks building that was abandoned after the Americans took over Philippine rule, also known as Museo Oslob; and a series of defensive structures designed to repel slave raids from Moro communities living in the south.

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6 Top Things to Do in Oslob, Philippines