My Humiliating Whale Shark Oslob Experience
I had a very disturbing incident with WTS TonTon Tours in Oslob. I booked a whale shark tour with this company it was for 8000 php and I was assured that it was to include transportation and any and all expenses. The driver picked my companion and myself up at my hotel and asked me for 500 php for gas. I felt this was unprofessional but I gave him the money anyway. I asked to cancel the tour but they said it wasn’t possible since everything was already booked. This is common in the Philippines and so I accepted that.
When I arrived I began to pay for the rest of the tour and they added 50 pesos for a ‘transfer fee’ of photos. This irritated me since when I booked the tour the owner’s wife assured me that there would be no additional fees. The owner began to argue and curse at me. He called the tourism police I agreed to pay the 50Php just to resolve it but the owner declined since he said he didn’t like my attitude. The tourism police made him refund 3k which means he got to keep 4000 pesos stating that I had to pay for the transportation from Cebu to Oslob.
We all know it doesn’t cost 4000 pesos to go from Cebu to Oslob one way. I went to the main police station to file a complaint. The owner also went and said he was going to file a complaint to have me deported in order to intimidate me. I said I wanted my 4k back or at least he could keep the true amount of transport from Cebu to Oslob or I would file a complaint with the department of tourism
The corrupt policeman told me if I didn’t sign a compromise agreement agreeing to let him keep the 4k that they would detain me. I signed the agreement under duress. These guys all know each other and therefore are going to stick up for each other no matter what. Cronyism at its finest.
Let this be a warning about corruption in the Philippine government and business. I went to go see whale sharks in Oslob instead I got eaten up by human sharks. Many people in this industry see foreigners as cash machines and have no qualms taking advantage of people if they think they can get away with it. The sad thing is they cast a dark shadow on a plethora of good hard working people in Philippine tourism and government.
Don’t let this happen to you
If you’re interesting in whale shark oslob watching you can prevent a similar situation from happening to you by taking the following steps:
- Make sure the company is accredited with the Department of Tourism prior to booking. You can check their current list of accredited businesses here.
- Check if they have reviews on either google or tripadvisor
- Book with reputable tour companies. You can find reputable tour companies listed with sites like [eafl id=”1193944″ name=”Viator Tours” text=”Viator”] or [eafl id=”1193948″ name=”Tourradar” text=”Tourradar “]