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Captions, Cha Octiva, Community, Travel Stories

Ready for the Gentle Giants?

Photo courtesy of

By Cha Octiva

Before this photo was even taken, a tourist has to undergo a seminar conducted by the community of Oslob in Cebu to build awareness on how to protect whale sharks. The shots less taken reveal how the community has balanced both the environmental and economic aspects of tourism in this marine paradise.

A Cebuano conducts the briefing in English so that the foreigners would understand
the do’s and don’ts of Whale watching.

Oslob is now a gaining its popularity due to the existence of butandings within shallow waters. These tarpaulins are scattered around the vicinity.

Oslob has been the background of Brillante Mendoza’s independent film called Thy Womb, starring Nora Aunor.

These small bancas are docked near the coastline. It can carry up to ten tourists per ride.

A group patiently waits for their turn to be called. Several guests are in queue for available bancas as the allotted time for whale watching is only 30 minutes.

On our way to the briefing center, this boatman prefers to hitch in our van.

The briefing center is a place provided for seminars before the actual
activity. This way, visitors will be aware of their limitations.

The Ultimate Experience with the Giants. As her shirt shows, she
explains the guidelines about the activity.

Although 95 percent of Nora Aunor’s movie is shot in Tawi-Tawi, they still needed the vital shot of the butanding. Thy Womb is a story of a childless couple in Tawi-Tawi.

Taken by Helen chou. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera for
souvenir purposes.Take nothing but pictures!

Taken by Helen chou. Small food stalls serve from light snacks to grilled lunch. Also, there are souvenir shops where you can buy “whaleshark key chains”.

Whale watching is more fun for tourists. Locals feed whale sharks as a mean to attract visitors while the local government administers over the protection of these marine animals.

Sadly, they do not realize that as they continually feed the butanding, young whale sharks now get used to being feed-stuffed and will only depend on humans for food. These little creatures would not be able to survive the real environment in the sea.

The practice may be beneficial for the residents but it somehow creates ecological imbalance in the part of the marine life.

Continuing this, the question looms over Oslob: how long can they be able to sustain this attraction?


About aitsalimbay

The official newsletter of the UP Asian Institute of Tourism.


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