Sunday, October 04, 2009

Butanding (Whale Sharks) in Donsol

This review was written in March of 2008, during my first visit to Bohol, and it was posted on my Multiply site. I'll just integrate the album post and the blog post here. Hope it helps our tourism.

What can I say? It was one hell of an experience. Donsol was wonderful and fun, and I got to swim on top of a whale shark. It was quite an exciting (Adrenaline Rush!!!) experience. Too bad I couldn't keep up as I was the only one who didn't have a snorkel and I didn't have flippers either. I was gasping for air as I tried to keep up with the Butanding (as whale sharks are called in this area).

We checked out of our Legaspi hotel on Friday afternoon and decided to risk the Holy Week crowd in the Southernmost area. We ended up in Matnog, where the food was great (fresh Blue Marlin and freshly baked loaf -- yum yum!)...but it had a catch. By midnight, three of us were in dire need of Loperamide and Yakult. Imagine the long drive back home...

I wouldn't recommend the "hotel" in Matnog. The keeper kind of scolded my cousin JR when he asked for the water to be turned on at midnight. Like it was our fault we needed water and like we were totally inconveniencing them. The next time we go to that area (and I promise there will be a next time), we'll stay in Sta. Magdalena, then just go and see Matnog's wonderful beach islands. I suppose that with real resorts, you'd pay for service minus the owner's whining.

Anyway, the experience was still worth it. I have never really stepped foot on white sand. I swear, Tikling and Subic were so beautiful, they took my breath away. I'd also go back for Matnog's food, but I swear I'd be armed for the next encounter.

Top: Butanding and parasites. Bottom: Butanding up close.

Like I said, I didn't have flippers and a snorkel so while I did swim on top of it, after a while, it left me behind. Still, it was big enough for me to enjoy the view for quite some time. It's a baby butanding, though. So it's not as huge as a bus.

I was really really close to it, but I swam back a bit because not only did it face us (which surprised us), I could also imagine it saying, "Respect the personal space!" I didn't want to encroach on its need for privacy. It must be traumatic enough as it is to see lots of noisy newcomers diving in and harassing them.

COMMENTS from the old blog:

theheir wrote on Mar 28, '08
omg freaky

skysenshi wrote on Mar 28, '08
abangan nyo na lang yung ibang pics sa blog ni leki. at least yun may pics ng mga tao sa ilalim. angel didn't bring a camera on our first actual encounter with the butanding so sa second encounter lang siya naka-take.

yanbaltazar wrote on Mar 28, '08
"respect the personal space" hehehe

skysenshi wrote on Mar 28, '08
"respect the personal space" hehehe
oo naman! kung tayo nga, we hate having our personal radius invaded by other people, sila pa kaya.

virtuaanimati wrote on Mar 28, '08
ay ang cute naman ms. bea! parang abstract po! hehehe.. =D

aggieness wrote on Mar 29, '08
I dunno why, but I'm thinking... pineapple?

skysenshi wrote on Mar 29, '08
@shoala and aggie
mahirap kasi kunan ng full body shot. hahaha. medyo...malaki sha.

zappa1one wrote on Mar 30, '08
It wouldn't fit in the camera. It must be THAT big!


skysenshi wrote on Mar 31, '08
yah. that's a baby whale shark, but an adult one is about the size of the giant TAS trans bus.

takz78 wrote on Oct 4, '08
talagang matindi and whaleshark of Donsol..masaya pa dito...ako si Takz,,,
Kung gusto niyong pumunta dito sa pinakamalaking parking lot ng mga BUTANDING kontakin nyo ko sa o sa cp 09217435677...
c u guys...

takz78 wrote on Oct 4, '08
natural namang paminsan minsan ay makakapasok ka sa bahay ng iyong kapitbahay...pero respeto pa rin sa may-ari.. yon buhay ng anumang nilalang ay kailangan ang tinatawag na SOCIALIZATION...natural yan sa ecology...ecology is an environment wherein living and non-living things interact with each other... that is why dito samin sa donsol ay may Butanding Interaction but,, with restictions.. we got to respect their natural habitat.. c u guys here in donsol..

takz78 wrote on Nov 7, '08
pwede ka ba ulit balik d2 skyshenshi? you can take better pics than this..

skysenshi wrote on Nov 9, '08
well, unfortunately, summer pa siguro ako makakabilik. work + phd studies. medyo kain ang schedule ko eh.

takz78 wrote on Nov 10, '08
sky baka pwd tayo kita ngayong summer?. i have a business proposal to you.. sikat website u.. my own website will be completed this week.. I have a tour agency.. i started it on my own kaya mdyo nangangapa pa...dont forget to mail me if interested ka.. ang mail ko nandon sa taas.. in my 1st blog.. c u soon..

takz78 wrote on Nov 10, '08
to take pics better than this, that is to go for underwater diving.. mdyo mahal sya ng konti pero im sure that you can capture the whaleshark at its best na pwd mong ilagay dito sa web u. hindi sa donsol.. somewhere closer to our town..perhaps you can do this, ngayong summer..

takz78 wrote on Dec 11, '08
december 12
i hope that this blog will be read by foreign and local far,,sightings is poor as of this days,..we are anticipating that this coming days,,sightings will gradually increase..
i have seen a couple of tourists around the town..unfortunately, they have seen nothing..
january to may is the best,,
again, for updates of sightings and inquiries..mail me at
hope that I can give so much info as I can, to avoid frustrations upon coming here in our town..

takz78 wrote on Jan 23, '09
we have good sightings today.. 4 to can I attach pics in this blog? I would like to attach our pics with the whaleshark..

shutterspeed30d wrote on Mar 27, '09
dami na ng torista namin now. Well this website have done a lot to help us promote our giants. Ty sky.. for infos txt me 09217435677

shutterspeed30d wrote on Mar 29, '09
ok na rin to kaya lang parang di maganda yong visibility. Sa parteng sibago san rafael at santa cruz ay maganda visibility. Maganda na ang sighting. minsan sa isang talon ay may tatlong sharks. ganda! grabe experience dito smin sa donsol.. kontak na lang kayo sakin or 09217435677.. head to head kung minsan. Isa sa mga pianakamagandang interaction namin ay sa katungdolan point na mababaw tubeg. di makadive yobng shark kasi nga mababaw. garbe excitement ng mga guests. cge seeyou guys here...

skysenshi wrote on Mar 29, '09
ok na rin to kaya lang parang di maganda yong visibility.
hindi ako naka-snorkel nung hinabol ko yung whale shark. hehe. so may limit ang paglubog ko.

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  1. I accidentally deleted the album. Sheesh. It's a good thing Google has that cache thing so I integrated the old comments here.

  2. Hello
    I am Joel Briones. As the new Vice-President of Donsol Butanding Interaction Officers, I would like to invite everybody to come and visit Donsol to swim with our Whalesharks.
    Guests can contact me for inquiries and infos about Donsol Tourism
    Also by email you can contact my partner
    Sure you will enjoy Donsol !!!

  3. Hello
    I am Joel Briones. As the new Vice-President of Donsol Butanding Interaction Officers, I would like to invite everybody to come and visit Donsol to swim with our Whalesharks.
    Guests can contact me for inquiries and infos about Donsol Tourism
    Also by email you can contact my partner
    Sure you will enjoy Donsol !!!

  4. Welcome 2011
    Butanding Season!!!
    Welcome Friends…..
    I would like to invite everyone to come and enjoy our whaleshark experience
    here in our beloved town Donsol…
    For inquiries about our Butanding etc..Pls email me at and my
    phone is 63+921-743-5677…
    Sightings are about 3 to 7 sharks…

  5. Hi Friends

    I would like to invite everybody to come here in Donsol to enjoy our Butanding.

    For questions about our tour offer pls mail me at

    Or call or text me in 63+929-817-5654

  6. No question that our Butanding is the best animal encounter
    in Asia, not just by Time Magazine but from the chronicles from the thousands
    that visited our town. doing this blog. Even for us locals, we are fascinated every
    time we swim with our Giants.

    We have difficulty last year. The sightings are poor. So far
    today, the new administration put in place several restrictions not to scare
    our Butanding. Very hard for us to pinpoint the cause of its decline..

    So far today we are optimistic, the sightings are pretty
    good compared last year. 70 to 80% of chance to see the Sharks.

    For more info about our sightings and everything here in

    mail me at

    ring me 63-908-273-5747


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