Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Whale of a Secret

OK, so while it isn't exactly a secret anymore, it isn't a well known fact either. The Filipino village of Donsol, which lies in the Sorsogon region on the southeastern part of the Bicol Peninsula, does hold claim to one of the worlds interesting animal tourism attractions. The villagers there have, for years, been dependent on village industry and the success of fishermen from the village to drive local economy. The waters near Donsol were known to have a large whale shark presence. Though the whale sharks had been known to locals for over a hundred years, they were feared to have been dangerous and potentially deadly. This kept the locals well away for that period.

The uncertainty of the local economy and the fear of the whale sharks all changed in January 1998, when a group of Scuba Divers dived with the whale sharks despite being unaware of the actual threat the animals posed. Soon though the group realized the sharks posed no threat, when the Scuba group leader made contact with the docile creatures. Two months later, Donsol had become the "Whale Shark Capital of the World" and still holds claim to that title nearly 13 years later.

Whale Shark and Diver (by Robin Hughes)

While I haven't yet had a chance to visit Donsol, I imagine and have heard that swimming with these giants of the ocean is almost an otherworldly experience. If you have the opportunity to take the time to have a dip with these ocean-dwellers. They arrive as early as November, but the official season for whale sharks is between February and the end of May but for best viewing opportunities visit during March or April, when numbers are at their greatest.


  1. i have always wanted to swim with whales, its on my bucketlist

  2. i know xabz! it would be an amazing experience. let's hope we both get to swim with them in the future! :)