Summer in Oslob: Sumilon Day Tour

If I haven’t gushed about Cebu, then let me have a moment to do that now. I love Cebu. I’ve only had good memories there. I’ve been visiting the province at least once for the past five years and I can’t get enough. Cebu has two things that I like about Life: good food (specifically, lechon) and beaches.

Most beaches in Cebu are accessible, not secluded places that you can have all to yourself. But that doesn’t make them any less special. I welcome some semblance of civilization in the beaches I go to because you have internet and higher chances of eating good food.

Oslob is one of those non-remote places located in the south of Cebu and it’s popular for its whale sharks. Many blogs I’ve read when I was researching for this trip opted to swim with the whale sharks on their first day. It’s better to do the whale shark activity very early in the morning so that there are fewer tourists. But my boyfriend and I were coming from Cebu City and we refused to rush ourselves to get to Oslob in time for that so we decided to schedule the whale sharks on the second day of our trip. We went to Sumilon Island for our first day instead.

Sumilon is a private island and its only resort is the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort. For people who aren’t willing/can’t afford the resort’s overnight room rates like myself, they offer day tours. We went to Sumilon because Oslob itself doesn’t have a proper beach. Sumilon Island brags of a beach sandbar and we’re always game for one.

View of Sumilon Island from the dock at Bancogon

To get to Sumilon from Cebu City, take a bus going to Tan-Awan or Oslob (Php 150 for an air-conditioned bus) at the South Bus Terminal. We left at around 5 A.M. and arrived at our destination three hours later. If you want to go straight to the station where the ferry to Sumilon Island docks, you can ask the bus driver to drop you off at Bancogon. We decided to drop off our bags in our “hotel” first before going to the dock.

We stayed at MB Sunrise, which was along the highway, in a fan room (Php 800) that could accommodate three people. MB Sunrise is not a hotel. It’s more of an inn. It’s a big-ish house with rooms they rent out to tourists. Their location is strategic because it’s only a few minutes away from the dock going to Sumilon Island, the whale watching area and Tumalog falls. However, I don’t recommend for you to stay there if you’re not into roughing it. The fan room doesn’t have its own bathroom. I wouldn’t have minded sharing bathrooms with other guests except the bathroom was located outside the actual house and IT HAD NO ROOF. If someone looked out of the windows at the second floor, they could see you pooping. If you will stay at MB Sunrise, maybe get an air-conditioned room because these rooms have a private bathroom. Also, bring a malong or some sheet you could place on top of their bed sheets because if you have sensitive skin, you will cringe at the bed sheet situation.

We rented a motorcycle to take us to Bancogon. The day tour to Sumilon Island is Php 1,500 on weekdays and Php 2,000 on weekends and holidays. This is another reason why we opted to put Sumilon on the first day. We arrived on a Friday and were able to avail the weekday rate. The day tour includes boat transfers to and from the island, lunch, use of swimming facilities, towels and snorkel gear. If you want to time your arrival to their boat schedule, you can check it out here.

At Bancogon, taking a selfie

We missed the 9:30 am departure so we had to wait for the 11:00 am one. They provided a free drink at the dock. The dock itself was not too shabby. They have comfortable beach chairs and clean restrooms. Lounging at the dock while waiting for the next ferry with the hot breeze blowing on your face was a welcome change after being cooped up in a bus.

We arrived at Sumilon Island in time for lunch and we were ecstatic because we haven’t had a proper meal since we left Cebu City. I assumed that the set lunch would only be one plate of food with everything on it but it was served family-style. They even provided two additional menu items on top of the set meal which was pretty great. The food itself was just okay but the fact that we were offered more than we expected and ate while overlooking the sea made up for the bland food.

The things you could do at the island were trek, kayak and swim, and we did all of them. We did the trekking first. We thought the trek would be easy because the receptionist said it would take only 45 minutes. However, the path of the trek is mostly jagged rocks. The island was probably underwater a long time ago that’s why the rock formations are that way. Good thing we took walking sticks that were available at the start of the trek. We needed them for more stability because if we made a wrong step and fell down, we could’ve easily cut our knees or the palms of our hands on those sharp rocks. The view at the top is not something to rave about. The trek ended at the beach and when we saw it, we gratefully submerged ourselves in the water because it was so hot that day.

Entertaining myself with walking sticks
Look at that clear blue sky and bright sunshine and imagine how fucking hot it was that day.

We went kayaking after. The area for kayaking was a small swamp with murky water that reminded me of the Dead Marshes scene from Lord of the Rings.

“The Dead Marshes. Yes, yes! That is their name. This way. don’t follow the lights.”

Afterwards, we got snorkeling gears and went back to the beach hoping to experience the famed sandbar. I guess it was high tide because we saw none of it. The beach itself was not as powdery as I hoped. There were corals on the floor that hurt your feet if you step on it.

If you look closely, you’ll see that I’m wearing flip-flops to avoid hurting my feet.

We also tried their swimming pool which was as much of an experience as all basic swimming pools go. By five o’clock, it was time to wait for the ferry again.

Despite the island being lackluster, I would still recommend the Sumilon day tour because that’s the closest thing to a beach situation you’ll have in that area of Cebu. The beach in Oslob is more suitable for diving and not dipping. And if you just want to chill, Sumilon is a good place to do that.

Happy day tourists
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