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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Philippines Day 19: No Whale Sharks in Donsol

We had to wake up early to leave Legazpi for a day trip to Donsol. We left at 6.30 a.m. with our reliable driver, whose cab we had booked for the third consecutive day. It was a 1,5-hour-drive until we reached Donsol. The main reason to go to Donsol is the waters in front of the village. Actually what's inside the water: Whale Sharks! Not long ago the whale sharks, which mostly feed on plankton, were hunted. Today they are seen as a valuable asset of nature and protected.

We went directly to the Tourist Center where we rented snorkeling equipment, paid and registered for a whale shark interaction. We had to watch a short film in preparation for the trip and then wait until there were enough visitors for another boat to leave. They take six persons in a boat and the number of boats is limited to seven in order to prevent too much hassle for the whale sharks. While they can't guarantee a sighting, we were hopeful to snorkel nearby a whale shark, as we were there in the main season, which is from February to May. 


Soon we left the beach, after our group was complete with two girls from California and a young bi-national couple joining us. The boat tour took about three hours. Unfortunately, we weren't lucky. No whale sharks for us. At one point we were told to put on the snorkeling gear and sit ready to enter the water, but it was the false alarm. In the end we just got a short swim out of it. But that's nature - unpredictable. I just went swimming without my snorkels, which I put it on the boat next to my things. Later as I was looking for it because I thought it was just borrowed, the other Californian girls said that the other girl (from the young couple) was using it. I don't mind that it was borrowed, just that when she returned to the boat, the girl never said a word and seems to want to keep it. Just a bit later, I've realized that she lost her rented snorkels and perhaps wanted to take mine to return it instead. What a piece of work.

Anyway, later on in the journey, when we met a friend, she told us that her son was in Donsol around the same week as us and they saw several whale sharks.


Well, when you have more time at hand, it's also possible to stay at a beach resort in Donsol, to maximize your chances with a possible second tour. This way you can also have a Firefly Tour in the evening, another attraction of Donsol. There's a lot of tour companies to arrange visits in Donsol, but you can also independently rent a cab with a driver or take a jeepney or van from Legazpi to get there.

For us it was back to Legazpi, as it was our last day in Albay. In the evening we had to pack our bags, to leave the next morning to Manila.

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