Cebu is home to several tourist destinations with its rich culture, magnificent beaches and awesome vacation spots. Along the Southeastern coast of the island of Cebu and approximately 117 kilometers from the city, lies the beguiling town of Oslob. It’s time to explore the beauty and wonders of what Oslob has to offer.
Here’s a glimpse of the tourist spots and heritage structures in the municipality of Oslob.
The island of Sumilon
This is a frequently-visited 24-hectare coral island and marine sanctuary that is off the coast of Bancogon, Oslob, Cebu. The word Sumilon means “take refuge,” befitting its serene ambiance and rich marine life. This tiny island is teeming with diverse coral gardens and abundant tropical reef fishes.
Long strips of fine white sand and waters of different aquamarine hues surround the islet, making it the perfect destination to unwind and momentarily forget the strains of the busy metropolitan life. The only resort in the island to offer a 4-star accommodation to their guests is the Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort. This resort has direct access to coral reef beaches. Aside from swimming, snorkeling and diving, a lot more activities await everyone, such as windsurfing and kayaking in the resort’s lagoon. Conversely, if you want to have a quiet time alone or wish to relax and just enjoy the view, there are lounge chairs along the beach or benches spread on picturesque spots surrounding the resort. Moreover, the resort would be happy to arrange romantic beach dinners or sunset picnics upon request.
The island of Sumilon was developed into an eco-friendly marine sanctuary under the stewardship of the Silliman University Marine Reserve. The keen observance of preserving the natural beauty of this small islet has made this spot a top destination not just in the town of Oslob, but also in the whole province of Cebu.
From Cebu City, you can ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal or commute via V-hire from Citilink Terminal. Going to Oslob would take about 3-4 hours of travel time. For further inquiries or reservations, you can contact Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort at (032)318-3129 or (032)318-9098. You may also visit their Web site at www.bluewater.com.ph or send an e-mail to [email protected]
Another must-visit destination in Oslob is the Tumalog Falls. Retaining its natural beauty, this unexplored falls is not clouded with cement structures and huts. Century-old trees abound in the place and the cascade of water from the falls drops in different clusters like gentle raindrops.
The road to Tumalog Falls, however, is already paved and developed. No entrance fees are collected as of the moment. Tourists are advised to bring their own mats and food as the place is not yet fully developed. It will take about 15 minutes of hiking in order to reach the falls.
Whale Shark Watching
The waters of Oslob were relatively unpopular or unheard of in the past years. Now, it has gained enormous coverage as numerous whale sharks locally referred to as the “butandings” are seen lurking and frequently visiting their shores. By far one of the biggest sea creatures in the world, these “gentle giants” have become so used to the presence of humans that tourists and spectators can’t help but be awed after having a close encounter with the butandings.
Efforts to preserve and safeguard these whale sharks are constantly being put in place to prevent these water creatures from being harmed and abused. Tourists are dissuaded from having transactions with unauthorized entities and fishermen, but to approach only legal whale watching operators. It is of equal importance that tourists get the satisfaction of communing with these magnificent creatures while following the rules to protect these whale sharks.
Tourists are required to undergo a short orientation and briefing of the “10 commandments” of whale shark watching. Hand-feeding is solely tasked to the fishermen and spectators are not allowed to get within 2 meters from the whale sharks. Touching the butanding is strictly prohibited. Not all fishermen or tour guides may follow Oslob’s whale shark watching rules, so it should be everyone’s conscious effort to respect these wild animals and obey the rules. A fee of Php300 is collected from every tourist, who wishes to see the butandings at close range.
The Immaculate Conception Church
One of the oldest structures in Cebu is the Immaculate Conception Church, which was first erected in 1830. This massive church is made of cut coral blocks and was finished 18 years later. In March 2008, a fire gutted the century-old church’s interior, but miraculously spared the image of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Nothing was left of the old church except the thick stone walls, the belfry and 73 religious icons. Since then, major reconstructions have been made to restore the church’s original form.
Adjacent to the main church is its four-storey belfry. It was built during the time of Fray Mauricio Alvarez (1866-1881). Originally, this used to be a five-level tower, but a strong typhoon destroyed the topmost floor. The belfry tower has 11 bells, with the earliest bell cast in 1825.
The Cuartel (Spanish military barracks)
Looking at the Cuartel reminds you of the Spanish regime, where colonial structures were built during the final decades of the Spanish rule. The Cuartel was erected by the Spaniards in 1898, and was left unfinished due to the arrival of the Americans. The walls were made of centimeter-thick coral stones and assembled in double rows of arches. In June 2009, with the help of the town officials and volunteers, the Cuartel was rehabilitated. This structure is now often flocked by tourists and recognized as one of the heritage sites of the province.
Built along the coastline of Oslob is the Baluarte, which means a watch tower. This was constructed in 1788, by Fray Bermejo as a defense system in dispersing the Moro raiders of the past. At close range, you will immediately notice the massive walls, gun-slits and small entrance.
How to Get There
Getting to Oslob is very easy. You can either ride a public bus from the Cebu South Bus Terminal or via V-hires in the Citilink Terminal. It will take about three (3) hours to reach the town of Oslob. During the three-hour land trip, you will be traversing through southern coastal towns with great views of the ocean.