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Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu and Donsol

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu and Donsol

On this article we inform you all about our expertise swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, Donsol and Ligazby and about whale shark swimming alternatives in Leyte and Tubbataha within the Philippines. Despite the fact that we had a couple of interactions we didn’t really feel our whale shark looking expedition was very profitable;

  • swimming with whale sharks at Oslob was a unfavourable expertise with these mild giants being exploited for tourism, learn concerning the expertise, why it’s dangerous for the animals and the constructive spin for the group and the survival of the animals.
  • the Donsol whale shark swimming expertise was far more constructive from an moral perspective. We didn’t have lots of luck spending Three days on the boat to solely have a quick interplay with a whale shark.
  • Ligazby is just not a standard website for swimming with whale sharks we have been within the water with a few animals right here, however the water was extraordinarily soiled

I used to be fortunate to swim with an enormous whale shark in Mozambique a few years in the past, we have been a few associates with our personal boat on a dive journey and it was solely us swimming when this superb animal confirmed up! Tales of swimming with as much as 10 whale sharks at a time had me hooked and was my major cause for visiting the Philippines. I ended up touring on this nation for 2 months with so much to see and issues to do within the Philippines.

The place to swim with whale sharks in The Philippines

Greater than a thousand totally different whale sharks have been recognized within the Philippines making this the third most dense inhabitants on the earth. Phrase acquired out concerning the unethical practices occurring at Oslob casting a darkish shadow over the whale shark interplay business within the Philippines. There are nevertheless a few locations to swim with these superb monster across the 7 000 islands that make up the Philippines.

One of the best locations to swim with whale sharks in The Philippines are Leyte, Tubbataha, Donsol and Oslob.

Swim with whale sharks Southern Leyte

Southern Leyte isn’t that well-known leading to a way more genuine expertise and uncrowded waters for whale shark interactions. You’ll spend hours on a ship with whale shark spotters looking for animals within the bay. Locations like Sogod Bay are wonderful for sightings. One of the best time of the yr is from November by way of Might, when the animals migrate right here so plan your journey round that season to extend your probabilities of swimming with them.

The way to get there: Fly to the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport in Tacloban, from right here a three-and-a-half-hour drive right down to southern Leyte.

Swim with whale sharks in Tubbataha

The Tubbataha Reefs Pure Park is a protected space of the Philippines situated in the midst of the Sulu Sea and is well-known for a number of the greatest diving on the planet. This UNESCO World Heritage Website is likely one of the greatest locations within the nation to swim with whale sharks, however is troublesome to succeed in and you may solely get right here by stay aboard boat. From mid-March to mid-June, the fish congregate on this distant marine park. To get right here fly to Puerto Princesa Worldwide Airport and be a part of a liveaboard.

I met Alya browsing at Luzon island, we traveled the Philippines and determined that we have been going to go to totally different websites for whale shark watching and examine the totally different expertise at every location. On this article I talk about our whale shark swimming in Donsol, Oslob and Ligazby.

Oslob whale shark watching

Oslob in Cebu was our first try at swimming with whale sharks within the Philippines. Whale sharks might be seen in a small barangay Tan-awan, which is 10 km away from the middle city of Oslob. I knew that they have been feeding the whale sharks over right here and skim some dangerous critiques, however the expertise was a lot worse than I anticipated. Seeing these animals within the wild is superb and Oslob is the simplest place to see a whale shark within the wild. Swimming with the whale sharks right here isn’t an genuine nature expertise and could be in comparison with driving an elephant in Thailand being totally different from seeing wild elephants on safari in Africa or stroking a drugged tiger in Thailand just isn’t the identical as seeing a tiger within the bush in India. The animals are being domesticated by being fed on a regular basis.

whale sharks philippinesWhale Sharks being fed of a ship at Oslob. within the Philippines

We arrived early along with many native vacationers for the briefing, “don’t contact the whale sharks, put on an orange life jacket when you can’t swim, and so forth.” About 15 small boats full of vacationers rowed the 50 meters off-shore to a row of buoys to which all of the boats anchored and the captains began throwing out a friend line of meals for the whale sharks. We did this some time in the past, however from current evaluations I consider it’s simply getting worse with a few thousand individuals per day going via right here and many individuals in line to purchase tickets at 5am.

Whale sharks PhilippinesWhale Sharks Philippines being fed of a boats at Oslob.

There have been 5 or 6 sharks simply hanging vertically within the water, mouths open being fed krill (uyap) by the boat captains. The sharks weren’t swimming like they do within the wild and everyone was simply hanging round these lovely animals taking selfies, getting exited kicking one another and the sharks with 100 individuals making an attempt to smile on a photograph hugging a whale shark.

whale sharks PhilippinesWhale shark being fed krill from a ship. Whale sharks Philippines.

Why you shouldn’t swim with the whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu.

Many worldwide marine conservation organizations have criticized the whale shark excursions in Oslob describing it as a non-sustainable type of tourism. That is undoubtedly not eco-tourism, since eco-tourism is meant to permit people within the animal’s surroundings with minimal influence, feeding these animals and domesticating them within the course of has a huge effect on the whale sharks.

The primary considerations with feeding the whale sharks at Oslob are

  • Malnutrition resulting from a scarcity in variety of their diets, they solely eat krill loosing out on key elements of their pure weight-reduction plan.
  • Sharks have learnt to affiliate boats and other people with meals and now actively strategy them, even within the absence of meals. Boat propellers can hurt the sharks coming too shut. Touching the sharks take away the mucous layer defending them towards infections.
  • Staying in a single place can affect migration and breeding patterns reducing their probability of mating and reproducing.
  • Over fishing the Uyap to bait the whale sharks
  • Altering in conduct, the whale sharks have been proven to spend extra time on the floor being fed inflicting stress and making them extra weak to illness.

whale sharks PhilippinesMany vacationers hanging across the whale sharks can probably injure these animals.

This could certainly not have a superb impression on the migration and breeding patterns of those sharks, dive instructors at Moal Boal advised me they used to see whale sharks yearly, however because the feeding at Oslob began in 2011 they don’t see them anymore since they only hold round Oslob all yr.

A constructive spin on this ecological nightmare that may not likely be argued towards is that it’s good for the group creating jobs. A few years in the past there was not a lot in Oslob, at the moment there are greater than 50 resorts using lots of people.

Whale sharks was hunted for his or her meat and fins, resulting in them turning into an endangered species with a single animal being value hundreds of dollars. As we speak the whale shark interacting business has over 100,000 vacationers visiting the location yearly. Higher fed than lifeless is a well-liked argument defending the feeding of whale sharks, the business created leads to the whale sharks being value extra alive than lifeless, serving to the sharks escape the shark finning business. Whale sharks have been protected in The Philippines since 1998 with big fines for killing a shark, the counter argument is that whale sharks weren’t being killed for fins and meat right here earlier than the tourism sector right here advanced, however apparently poaching nonetheless occurs with a really alive market in China.

In case you’re in search of extra actions to do in Cebu, Kawasan Falls is a tremendous and delightful place the place you possibly can swim within the beautiful waterfalls and stroll by way of the dense jungle.

Lodging in Oslob

  • Finances – La Lune Oslob Hostel Located in Oslob, pleasant house owners, good scores dormitory for a discount. fast bus journey from Tanawan
  • Mid vary – Susada’s Inn Situated in Tanawan, good location for whale shark watching in Oslob just some minutes stroll. New, clear, good hosts, nice scores.
  • Gingging lodge and resort is situated in Oslob and includes a terrace and a bar. Three-star lodge, properly worth

Pack for a snorkeling journey


  • Mares Star Liquid Pores and skin Masks

    I’m kicking off the listing with our private masks, each myself and Alya dive with this low quantity masks, the liquid pores and skin silicone could be very gentle, we now have smaller faces and the low quantity masks matches good

    • Excessive low inner quantity design
    • Patented liquid pores and skin know-how makes use of two totally different silicone varieties for flexibility and luxury
    • Liquid pores and skin is 45% softer than different silicone masks skirts
    • Star masks lens & skirt form permit for higher imaginative and prescient and notion of distance
    • Appropriate for each scuba diving and free diving
  • Aegend tender fold away snorkel

    This superior, mushy silicone snorkel folds away straightforward to pack in your backpack.

  • Thermo guard zero.5mm neoprene vest
    • Skinny neoprene, good for holding you heat when tropical diving.
    • In heat water I solely dive in board shorts and rash vest.
    • ssential for solar safety snorkeling
  • Anti-fog
    • nothing extra annoying than a masks that fogs up
  • Go Professional Hero 7, greatest waterproof motion cam available on the market, we love our new Go Professional, picture high quality and stabilization is amazin
  • Microfibre towel, fast dry, a should in your backpack

Donsol whale shark watching

To aim to see some whale sharks within the wild  Alya and I went whale sharks watching in Donsol within the Sorsogon area on South Luzon. Tourism was delivered to this little fisherman village by the invention of whale shark swimming and immediately it’s the location of the Whale Shark Interplay Eco-Tourism Challenge.

Donsol is a middle of sustainable whale shark tourism with feeding of the Butanding  (Whale shark in Tagalog) not allowed. There are strict guidelines for swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol; just one boat per whale shark, no more than 6 individuals per shark, no interactions longer than 10 minutes, Keep four meters away from the sharks always, don’t use a flash for photograph, and don’t contact the sharks.

Our whale shark swimming excursions from Donsol have been nice from an eco-tourism view level, however we didn’t actually discover any animals. It’s straightforward for the whole lot to go in line with the principles in case you are simply driving round on the lookout for sharks. We stayed in Donsol for a few week and went out on three whale shark swimming expeditions, extending our keep for an additional day after every unsuccessful try. Throughout these journeys there have been six vacationers on every boat, the whale shark interacting officer actually did an excellent job, standing within the crow’s nest for the complete three hour period of the journey, making an attempt to identify a whale shark.

whale sharks philippinesThe whale shark interacting officers on our boat stood like this for hours scanning the ocean for sharks. There have been many boats within the space, however guidelines have been strictly adhered to and there was no feeding of the sharks. Once we noticed an animal after three days of looking the 30 seconds that we spent with it within the water was an awesome expertise.

On the final day after our three hours have been completed we have been fortunate and our officer noticed a shark on the best way residence. All 6  of us have been within the water in seconds and had about 30 seconds swimming with this magnificent beast, earlier than it dove to deep. I used to be fortunate to shoot a few seconds of video earlier than it disappeared into the deep; visibility was not excellent at about 5 meters. There have been lots of boats looking for whale sharks, however this tour and the 30 profitable seconds have been undoubtedly rather more gratifying than the circus we skilled at Oslob.
Guidelines for the safety of each the sharks and the vacationers have been strictly adhered to  throughout our expedition and the crew did a superb job.


Whale Shark Season Donsol November to early June

Not every little thing is ideal at Donsol, I spoke to some vacationers that had simply as dangerous an expertise right here as in Oslob. Tales of 10 boats clustered across the similar sighting, so as much as 60 snorkelers swimming over one another, preventing to get to the whale shark to get that superior selfie, orange life jackets and fins all over the place with many touching the sharks. Additionally even with a whale shark spotter seeing the sharks is troublesome in windy or uneven circumstances, so skippers drive zig zag to cowl the world presenting an enormous probability of hitting a shark on the floor. They don’t seem to be feeding the sharks right here, sadly in peak season it does not likely sound like eco-tourism right here both.

Lodging in Donsol

  • Price range – Donsol Aguluz Homestay, wonderful house keep for a superb worth
  • Mid vary – Vitton Resort Lovely spot with a pool on the seashore, lower than a 5 minute stroll to the Whale Shark Vacationer Middle

Ligazby whale shark watching in a garbage dump

whale sharks ligazbyThe whale shark interacting officers on our boat stood like this for hours scanning the ocean for sharks. There have been many boats within the space, however guidelines have been strictly adhered to and there was no feeding of the sharks. Once we noticed an animal after three days of looking the 30 seconds that we spent with it within the water was a terrific expertise.

Whereas we have been at Donsol many whale sharks have been seen within the harbor of close by Ligazby, apparently this was very uncommon. We heard that there have been spur of the second whale shark watching journeys have been being organized and made our solution to Ligazpy by Jeepny. That is undoubtedly the  dirtiest water I’ve ever swum in, not simply dangerous visibility however a lot garbage; an ecological nightmare, it’s a must to take a look at the pictures to get any concept of how dangerous this was.

The whale sharks didn’t appear to thoughts and shortly we have been snorkeling with six whale sharks. The visibility was so dangerous that at some spots I couldn’t see my hand in entrance of my face underwater. Out of a well being view level, I don’t assume swimming round on this harbor filled with sewage and floating plastic is excellent for both human or whale shark and I hope for the shark’s sake that hanging round right here was a as soon as off incident.

Whale shark watching charges 2019

  • Oslob whale shark watching charges/charges – $19 usd (1000 pesos)
  • Donsol whale shark watching charges/charges
    • $Three (150 pesos) registration
    • $6 (300 pesos) masks, fins, snorkel rental (elective)
    • $67 (3500 pesos) boat rental, the boat can take 6 individuals
  • Examine this with $100-$150 in Cancun or Isla Holbox Mexico, $90 in Utila Honduras


When lots of of individuals swim with whale sharks anyplace on the planet certainly the direct impression on these animals can solely be a damaging one. You must weigh this up towards the constructive financial affect and the truth that they don’t seem to be getting slaughtered due to their monetary value to the tourism business.

I didn’t benefit from the feeding that goes on at Oslob and won’t advocate anyone to go there. We hope they modify to  managed viewing solely, just like that in Donsol. Even with managed viewing and no feeding in Donsol, there appears to be a big impression on the animals and any impression might be seen as adverse. Tighter management and regulation or stopping the inter actions appears to be the one choices to cease the unfavorable impression of viewing on interacting with these animals.

Presently South Leyte appears to be the perfect place to go for an genuine whale shark expertise, however studying from Donsol this can in all probability turn out to be overcrowded and dangerous to the sharks in time.

Whale shark tourism undoubtedly profit the human inhabitants at these websites, creating jobs and an enormous influx of money to those areas, however I don’t assume it’s eco-tourism anyplace, with people having a huge effect on these animals, sadly not a constructive one.

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