The Philippines is truly a great nature escape. The country prides itself with the serene summits, calm crystal clear waters and diverse marine and forest life. Aside from the resident species of the country, the Philippines is also the ideal stop-over of many migrating species because of country’s warm waters.
In many areas where Butanding (as locally known) or whale sharks sightings are expected, Donsol offers the longest and most assured sightings. The Donsol Bay, where the whale sharks hang out serves the best and nutritional food for these gentle giants that’s why as long as six to seven months (November till June) these majestic creatures stay on the bay.
But the site is strictly for snorkeling only, as scuba diving on the area may both be harmful for the divers and the giants as well. Since the Butanding is among the endangered species of the world, the local government of Donsol makes sure that proper pre-cautionary methods are followed with every whale shark interaction. As a major rule in every Butanding interaction is the prohibition of touching in any form the animals. Not only is it for the safety of the snorkelers who can be injured by a surprised shark, it is also the best way to make sure that the stay of the Butanding on the Donsol Bay can be as comfortable and convenient as possible as touching the whale sharks could cause them to be stressed.
With the annual visit of whale sharks in Donsol, the local government is more than inspired to keep the bay protected. The town also conducts many environmental projects to preserve and improve the current state of the Donsol Bay.
The whale sharks are a fish species belonging to the shark family. It can grow as big as a typical passenger bus or approximately 15 meters. But fear not, as these giants do not feed on people or any other type of mammals, they feed on planktons and krill which they ingest through opening their 2 meter wide mouths.