There are several reasons. The whole issue of fish-feeding is complex with no clear answer. In the end it has to come down to an individual decision however here are some of the reasons we don’t feel that this activity is sustainable or healthy:
whale sharks are migratory; encouraging them to stay in one place for extended periods has an unknown effect on their lifecycle and reproductive patterns
whale sharks in the wild are filter feeders and ingest a variety of nutrition. The diet at Oslob is of one type and of dubious quality
feeding creates unhealthy and unsafe patterns of behaviour. Look at the sores on many of the sharks mouth parts created by “begging” for food from the boats and rubbing their mouths on rough wooden hulls
being fed from boats associates boats with food. In Oslob there are no propellors to injure the whale sharks however this is not the case in other areas. Look at the scars on the backs of some of the sharks . . . .
although there are guidelines for approaching and interacting with the sharks, due to the nature of the experience these are not easy to enforce
up to 1500 vistors a day has an impact on the area in terms of solid waste management as well as the impact on the sharks
there are places in the region where “wild” whale shark sightings are common. The Tanon Strait is an important migratory route and there are regularily seen by divers in Moalboal-area. Primary destinations for sustainable whale shark watching are Donsol in Sorsogon, Luzon and Sogod Bay in Southern Leyte. Sogod Bay particularly is easy to get to from Cebu
it is very easy to do and can involve almost no effort or input. If you time it right you can land at Cebu airport very very early, get in a pre-booked car, be deposited in Oslob, jump the queue by using a local resort, have your 15 minute experience, get in your car back to the airport and be heading home in the afternoon
it’s trivial to take some great photos and be the envy of your friends
the whale sharks are not forced to be there – the reason they stay is free meals
local businesses make a lot of money from the activity
local fisherman are not hunting the sharks any more – hunting has been banned for years but used to happen from time-to-time
In the end it’s your decision but please be aware whale shark watching in Oslob is not the environmental wonder that it superficially appears to be and has significant downsides.
Eskapo Verde doesn’t have a beach though there are a few private beaches in the area. The nearest public beaches are Lambug Beach, Panagsama Beach and White Beach. Have a look at some online photos and see which you prefer.
To get to Lambug Beach if you don’t have a motorbike then it’s easiest to get a public bus to Badian then a tricycle from the market area to Lambug. It’s about 10km away and takes perhaps 15-20 minutes to get there. The beach is mostly quiet with a few places to eat and (of course) karaoke by the road, but the beach is long so just walk for a while and you’ll escape any noise. Good white sand and blue water . . . what more do you need? :).
From Eskapo Verde just jump on any Ceres bus heading for Bato or Samboan. The ride takes about 30 minutes, get off the bus about 1km south of Alegria at the Blue Innovation petrol station. There are many habal habal bikes there who will take you up to either falls. It’s about a 15 minute ride to the entrance of Montpellier Falls which is marked by a nice mural on a hut almost hanging off the side of the mountain :). Follow the path down. You will pass some people’s houses, just keep going. If you’re not sure ask anyone, the locals are very friendly and will be happy to point you in the right direction.
After about 15 minutes walk you’ll hear the falls and then see them. Currently (2024) Montpellier Falls are closed due to fallen trees blocking the path.
It looks like around a 30m drop, there is a large pool that is very suitable for swimming and you can climb up behind the falls for a great view through the falling water. And a hard-core head and shoulder massage as well! The best part? Only our family group was there on a Tuesday afternoon in March :).
Cambais Falls is around 15 minutes further up into the mountains. There is a municipal fee collection point, parking and guides available. The falls are a easy 15 minute walk from the parking through farm land along a grass or dirt path. The falls are on several levels and have a lovely cascade at the upper level. The whole area is shaded and there are some tables for picnicing, though no stalls or vendors :).
Snorkelling tours (also known for some reason as “Island Hopping”)
Floating cottages in Badian Bay
Horse riding in the hills above the bay
11 waterfalls to visit in our area and surrounds, including Mantayupan Falls (also known as Ambakan Falls) in Barili to our north with a 100m drop and access by rope bridge! There are five quiet, untouristed waterfalls between us and Samboan (to our south) alone
The Falls open at 7am and close at 5 or 6pm (depending on the time of year), you can visit the falls at any time during opening hours. Cut-off time for starting *canyoneering* is around 1pm but please check with us or your guide for exact times. Last pickup from Eskapo Verde for a canyoneering tour is around 12.30pm.