My third and rather new whale watching experience from previous visits.
Yep, this was my 3rd visit, but an excited first-time for two friends from QC who are avid readers of this blog. I had to cut my roams at another island/province and rushed to rendezvous with them in Cebu as I promised to be their “guide”. This was ‘Day One’ of their 4-day vacation that got almost canceled because of Yolanda’s aftermath.
(Travelers from Manila, take note as you could pick a helpful hint or two).
My friends got a very-early-dawn flight from Manila. The cheapest low fare promo they were able to grab, where they expected to land Cebu at 4AM. But I thought that was just splendid, so we could go straight to Oslob that early in the morning – because whale watching is only from 6 or 7AM up to 12NN. Splendid plan, if only to max-out their vacation time. Well, sa plano lang hehe!
Their flight landed 5AM instead. We took a cab (purportedly) straight to the Cebu South Bus Terminal. However, along the way, they felt hungry (and I know they’re not fans of the bee), so we decided to grab something (to go) at McDo. But that store at the Reclamation Area near CDU was still closed. Ah, I told the driver to pass instead via Fuente Osmena as there is a 24H branch there.
Unfortunately, the beggar kids at that area caught attention of my friends. So, we got off, instead of the original plan to let the cab wait while I ordered food to go. Good we ordered breakfast for us and the four kids without telling them about it. Why? Because shortly after giving them their Sausage McMuffins, a whole squad of other beggar kids and adults also came tapping at the glass, signaling for us to also give them food. That, even if one mother was already drinking the ‘hotchoc’ of one of those kids. Ayayay! Unexpected extra expense. So I told my friends “just press ignore, escape, delete, backspace or CTRL-X” (a.k.a. don’t bother about them) hehe!
Anyway, we got to grab seats on the 7AM air-conditioned Cebu-Dumaguete trip. Mentally calculating this usually 3 to 4 hour trip, I imagined we would hit Oslob by around 11AM at worst. I already know how the Cebu South Road is on a Monday morning (or any office-day for that matter). It is always a crawl even if you are southbound since there are just so many jeeps, tricycles, pedicabs, habal-habals and pedestrians crossing at its many intersections all the way to Talisay! Trips only become a breeze at San Fernando and onwards. Awrrr!
Despite that, I was confident we’d make it on time. With an expected arrival of 11AM at Oslob, I imagined we still had an hour – more than enough to watch the Butandings – since I knew we were not swimming with them to consume the whole and usual tour time of 1 hour. Yep, the whale watching experience usually has a 1-hour cap. Meaning that’s the most you can be out there with them or else you pay more.
Oh, I did not forget we were on a Ceres bus. Their drivers know how to fly buses if they want to. And ours was one of them. Even if he picked passengers along the way, after Talisay, we like flew along the fantastically empty highway! This picture here?
Alright folks, make the long road trip short, we arrived Oslob not 11AM, not even 10AM but exactly 9:56AM. Oh ha?! It took only 2 hours and 56 minutes! Three to four hours pala ha?! Whahehehe!
But let’s do a recap of what is normal:
A dawn time taxi ride from airport to South Bus Terminal won’t even take 20mins.
The bus ride from Cebu To Oslob is normally 3 to 4 hours, sometimes faster!
The whale-watching activity starts at 6AM and ends 12NN.
And believe me, if you are not snorkeling with them, 30 minutes is about enough.
After that, take your grand time getting back to Cebu – only then start looking for or pop into your reserved accommodation. Check-in is normally between 12NN and 2PM anyway. You save an overnight-worth of accommodation expense!
Let’s frolic with the whale sharks next!