To kick off summer 2013, I initially enlisted Siquijor as my summer destination (with Dumaguete as our point of landing ), along with my former officemates, Celes and Irah. However, when I looked at my Philippine Map, it seems that Siquijor is just nearby South Cebu, where Oslob lies. From there I realized that we can do a Dumaguete-Oslob-Siquijor trip, since the islands are just minutes away from each other. Hmmmm.. something’s telling me that it’s gonna be an epic backpacking adventure (And it was!).
We booked promo fares months prior to this trip. Thanks to Cebu Pacific Air this time, and we’re able to fly Manila-Dumaguete round trip for only 1500Php per person (with 15KG baggage allowance). Dumaguete is much nearer Oslob, Cebu and Siquijor. Upon arriving at the airport, we’ll be heading straight to Oslob. This is the reason why I booked early morning flights.
Tip: Booking morning flights (during promo fares) has a great advantage since morning flights do not normally get delayed because they are the first flights going out of Manila. Even if they get delayed, it would just take a few minutes.
Upon walking out of the Dumaguete Airport, we walked towards the main road to look for public jeepneys or tricycles that can bring us to Sibulan Port (for trips bound for Oslob). After a 5-10 minute walk (with our backpacks), we’re able to haggle with a tricycle driver and he brought us to the port for only 60php special trip. This is already cheaper than the tricycles within the airport premises as they can charge you twice as much.
Travel time from airport to Sibulan Port is 10-15 minutes only.
The port is literally small and has a few seats for passengers waiting. But the wait won’t be too long because the trips to Oslob are available every hour. Come a few minutes before 10AM we boarded. Fare for the fast craft is 62Php per person. You can buy your tickets here directly.
As soon as they announced boarding, it’s much preferred to line up immediately so that you can choose a better seat for you. Yes, there’s no seat number indicated in the ticket. It’s my first time riding a fast craft like this and sitting at the lower part is not something that I enjoyed. Not that I am complaining but it could’ve been a better experience if we choose seats at the upper deck. #NahiloAkoEh.
After 30 minutes of sea travel, we reached Liloan Port. Located at south Cebu, this port is the gateway to Oslob and Cebu City. Just outside the port are Ceres buses, waiting for passengers who are northbound. If you’re planning to go back to Sibulan Port (Dumaguete) in the afternoon, you can buy your tickets at the ticketing booth.
Going to the town of Oslob is quite easy since there’s only one road (national highway) going north. We booked our accommodation thru Mang Dodong Munoz (09327733438/09232841008). From Liloan Port, we alighted at Tan-Awan Elementary School. Travel time is just 30 minutes.
For only 350Php per night per person (fan room only), you can explore the blue-green coastline waters as well as the simple Oslob town. Aside from having this dirt-cheap rate for backpackers and tourists, what caught my attention is how our room (or should I say homestay) looked like.
Though Mang Dodong was our contact, he referred Ate Veny to us. I just didn’t know if Mang Dodong has his own accommodation for rent. Didn’t have the chance to ask, but I thanked him for helping us find one.
The room we got is good for three but can still squeeze in up to 5. For its rate, it does not have cable TV, wi-fi or other amenities you can find in other homestays but just as good when all you want to have is a safe storage for your valuables and a comfy bed. Now that I mentioned wi-fi, for people who can’t live without updating your status in FB or taking a pic and post it in IG, better pack a SMART sim (in case you want to switch your 3G on). Globe and Sun Cellular signals are weak in the area. Ate Veny also serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. If you happen to book a night or two here, munch on their special banana cake – it’s HEAVEN!
Apart from the Whale Sharks, another tourist attraction in Oslob is the Tumalog Falls.
Getting to Tumalog Falls is quite easy. From Brgy. Tan-awan, you can ride a tricycle to Brgy. Saging for 10Php per person. Once there, you’ll see a group of motorcycle (habal-habal) drivers who bring tourists and travelers to the Falls. Fare is 60Php (back and forth) per habal-habal.
The road to the falls is surprisingly not bumpy and the view above is refreshing. Entrance to the falls is 20Php per head.
From the drop-off, you still have to trek your way to the falls. It will only take 10-15 minutes to see the falls but you have to be extra careful since the way is quite steep. If we are to measure it, it’s 70 degrees inclination lol. But seriously, it’s quite steep. Better wear proper trekking shoes or sandals. Oh yes, we didn’t have a tour guide to the falls – we’re all by ourselves. They reminded us that it’s safe but having someone to come along with us could be much better. We cannot say what might happen.
That time, we’re alone with the falls. The habal-habal driver told me that before the typhoon “Pablo” devastated a lot of places in the eastern part of the Philippines, locals and tourists enjoyed swimming at the bottom of the falls.
But now, it’s just ankle to knee deep or maybe because it’s just summer?
There are some parts where you can at least enjoy the cold water but it could be slippery. So again, just be careful especially when there’s no one looking after you.
If you worry about going up because of weakening legs and the 70-degree inclination (lol), you can take the offer of the habal-habal drivers to bring you from the falls up to the entrance for 25Php per person. This is on top of the 60Php habal-habal ride to and from the main road. So all in all, prepare 85Php per head.
From Tumalog falls, you can reach the town proper for only 10Php via a regular bus. Travel time is 10-15 minutes only. By the way, most of the locals can understand Tagalog so I think you need not worry about how to communicate with them since their dialect is Bisaya (Visayan). They seem to be already used to tourists, both Filipinos or Foreigners and they communicate pretty well, on top of their sweet and hospitable tones.
Simple things wow me so I guess the town of Oslob is one of the few places that I consider the cleanest and one of the nicest. Here lies the Municipal Hall, Municipal Heritage Park, Cuartel and Immaculate Conception Parish Church.
Upon coming home from this Visayas Backpacking trip, I have no other description to it but clear waters. I’ve been saying that all the time in FB, Twitter and when I post pictures in IG . And here’s another proof…
Aside from its fascinating views, the municipal of Oslob has a rich culture and took a great part in the history of our country. As travelers, I think it also becomes an obligation to understand and know the roots of the places you’re going to not only because of the attractions it has to offer. It’s enriching to learn that aside from the vacation you planned months before you also become educated of the things you saw while having your much awaited pleasure of vacation.