Sumilon: A Swim With the Gentle Giants

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d get an opportunity to swim with some of the oceans finest and most beautiful creatures – the whale sharks. These “gentle giants” are only found in a few places around the earth; Oslob, Cebu being one of them! During our whale shark excursions, we had the wonderful luxury of staying on Sumilon Island in the Bluewater Sumilon Resort.

Bluewater Sumilon, located on the beautiful Sumilon Island, is located about 3 hours from Cebu’s airport in Mactan. A quick, 15 minute boat ride gets you to the island from Oslob. The facilities are comfortable and tropical with their open air approach and the staff is very accommodating and hospitable. There are many activities on the island, ranging from traditional massages to kayaking in the lagoon to snorkeling in the clear waters. Additionally, there’s a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the wide ocean. Another unique offering of the resort is the “glamping” option, where patrons can sleep in tents with twin sized beds, fans, and furniture. It’s camping at its ultimate finest.

The island is surrounded by natural beauty. The water is clear and sparkling blue, which makes snorkeling a very phenomenal experience here. The island also has many rocky areas as well as a sandbar that changes with the tides, perfect for swimming or sunbathing.

The food offered by the resort is absolutely delicious, and when complemented by gracious staff, complete the fantastic dining experience at the resort. On our last night, we enjoyed a dinner on the island’s sandbar with a fresh clam bake over an open fire. The setup was absolutely beautiful – lights around a low table with a bonfire nearby, the sea breeze blowing through our hair as we conversed and laughed over softly playing music. Really, experiences like this are what memories are made of.

Aside from the resort, the highlight of our trip was certainly our time with the whale sharks. We were afforded the opportunity to see these creatures not once, but twice during our stay in Sumilon. These animals are very giant, some as large as 35 feet, and speckled white. They primarily eat krill and other small animals, which are common in the waters surrounding Oslob and Sumilon. For around a year now, these “gentle giants” have been coming to the shores around Oslob, showing their lovely faces to guests from all over. I got the chance to feed one of these friendly faces named Fermin, who coincidentally was the very first whale shark to ever approach the original fishermen.

The opportunity to swim beside these mysterious creatures was really awe-inspiring and one-of-a-kind. This is one of the few areas in the world where this rare opportunity is afforded to tourists, and I would highly recommend the excursion to anyone of any age.

After our swim, we hopped in the van for a quick pit stop at Tumalog Falls. These powerful waterfalls are located in the middle of the rainforest, surrounded by the lush beauty of nature.

There’s only one way to describe my experiences in Sumilon: breathtaking. Between the transparent, shining waters of the island to the friendly graces of the whale sharks, I am in awe at the wonderful memories I’ve made here. My strongest recommendation is that you make the trip to see the whale sharks for yourself; who knows, you might just find a new friend or two on the way.



  1. Oh wow! I had the privilege of swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Mozambique and ever since, I have been desperately wanting to do it again. Philippines here I come!!!

    1. That sounds absolutely amazing! I really enjoyed swimming with them — they’re so beautiful and friendly. I’d definitely go back every day if I could!


  2. Wow!! That is incredible Kay! You are so lucky! I have never been here, I have never heard of this place..I learned something new today 🙂 Keep traveling and sharing your stories. They are amazing!

    1. Thanks again, Adri. 🙂 You are the sweetest person. This was really an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget! And I hope you’ll get to see it one day — the Philippines is one of the most beautiful places on Earth 🙂


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