Thursday, May 05, 2011

Donsol, Sorsogon and Whale Sharks - Subic, Manila, Anilao, Philippines

Do you want to meet the biggest fish in the world, a shark which can grow up to 9 meters in length? The Philippines is one of the countries where there is the possibility to arrange such a meeting! Meeting whale sharks in the underwater-world became an attraction for many divers In the nearby seas of the south-eastern part of Luzon.

Swim with the friendly whale sharks and be captivated by hundred of fireflies, showing the treasures of Donsol.
Donsol neighboring province to the south, Sorsogon, is host to one of the highest concentration of Whale Sharks in the world. These creatures have been frequenting the waters off Donsol, Sorsogon for generations and in 1998, the Philippine Department of Tourism declared this area an official sanctuary for the Whale Shark, thus protected this fascinating species.
These gentle giants arrive from as early as November but the official season starts from February and runs until end of May, where the sea of Donsol is at its clearest and calmest. Local tourism officials and professional divers have established guidelines on proper whale shark watching intended to maintain safety and to defend the creatures from over exploitation.
Whale sharks are big fish and not whales, which are mammals. Despite their enormous size, they are totally harmless to humans. By some special blessing to the Philippines, whale sharks congregate annually at Donsol, Sorsogon, Luzon between January and May. Perhaps, they meet there to feed on some especially delicious food yet to be determined by scientists. Visitors can swim with them or just watch from the comfort of a boat.
How to Get to Donsol, Sorsogon is approximately 1-hour drive away from Legazpi City. The roads all the way to Donsol are well-paved, scenic and very accessible. There are several Taxis available that make daily routes from Legazpi to Donsol, Sorsogon.
Once in Donsol, proceed to the Donsol Tourism Office. If you drove in your own vehicle, there is plenty of space to safely park your vehicle there. If you took a public vehicle, make arrangements for your return trip to Legazpi. At the Tourism Office, you will be required to register and attend a brief orientation session prior to heading out to see the Whale Sharks.  You will also be required to pay the fee for: Boat Rental and Crew, Registration, and snorkeling equipment rental (if needed). The maximum number of registrants per boat is 7 people.
After a brief orientation period on the rules and guidelines, you are ready to head out to sea on a 12m (40ft) boat. Your group will be accompanied by a BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) who will serve as your guide while you're out in the water, one Spotter, on the look-out for the Butanding, and two crew members to man the boat.
While there are no guarantees of being able to see the Whale Sharks, you can count on it that if you are there in the right time and season, it can literally take only a few minutes after leaving shore before you come across the first ButandingGenerally, you do not need to be out in deep waters in order to interact with the Whale Sharks. Your BIO will point them out and educate you on how to spot them, as well as provide additional information you need to know during the experience. The BIO's are quite knowledgeable and friendly, and are willing to answer your questions. When the BIO feels that the situation is ideal, he will instruct the crew on the boat's approach to the whale shark, and take the lead in getting you ready for the experience.
Seeing the Butanding for the first time is an extremely exciting experience. It is very important to keep the safety procedures in mind, and always follow the lead and instructions of your BIO. 
The whole experience can last anywhere from 1-4 hours, depending on how long you want to be out in the sea.
Although Butanding are spotted year-round in the waters off Sorsogon, the season starts around November and goes on through May. The peak season is February through April. The best times to go are in the morning, as the waters are clearer and it easier to spot the Whale Sharks. According to the locals, the Whale Sharks are also more abundant before noon. On peak season, it is very common for each visitor to see more than a dozen different Butanding.

2 days & 1 night Whaleshark Interaction

Tour Inclusion
Hotel Transfer
Twin Sharing
Tour Guide Service
Van Service for the tour
Entrance Fees
Whaleshark Interaction office services, registration fee for the interaction, boat services
Package price/pax
2 pax = 11,750 PHP
4 pax = 9,250 PHP
6 pax = 8,250 PHP
Convert PHP to your local currency.
Tour Highlights
Day 1 Whaleshark Interaction - Donsol, Sorsogon
With (optional) Sorsogon City Tour for Souvenir Shopping
Day 2 Departure for Manila

2 days & 1 night Manta Bowl Dive Package

Tour Inclusion
2 days & 1 night
4 dives
(Manta bowl, hammerhead Port, San Miguel Coral Gardens)
Boat Services
Nitrox and trimix gases available (extra charges apply)
Professional Dive Master or trained dive guide
Accommodation (air-conditioned rooms, twin or triple sharing, depending on availability)
Meals (1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner)
Weight belts
Package rates
8 dives = 21,750 PHP
10 dives= 16,500 PHP
Convert PHP to your local currency.

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