The best way to enjoy Travel Factor's Dive Donsol!

12:29 PM Jess Lauchengco 0 Comments

I don't know how to swim, that's why my frustrations are more of like: cliff diving, snorkeling, scuba diving (though you don't really need to know) and surfing in deep waters. I have done surfing in Baler but of course, I did have a guide with me and it was so near the shoreline.

I was really happy when I was chosen to be the coordinator for TF Dive Donsol. Seeing a butanding had always been a dream of mine, so Imagine how much happiness I felt when I was able to encounter one in the water (not just one)!! Unlike in Oslob, spotting a butanding in Donsol is not guaranteed. They don't feed the whalesharks unlike in Oslob, but the thrill of spotting one is priceless.

So how do you do the encounter then?

1. You register at the Donsol Whaleshark Tourism Center. You fill in a form and then they ask you to watch the video with the Do's and Dont's.

2. In case you don't have a snorkeling gear with you, you can rent one in there. Complete set (mask, snorkel and fins) - 300php; Mask and just snorkel - 150php. I only avail of the latter because I though that I didn't need fins because I'll be wearing a life jacket but then I realized later on that the fins are needed for faster paddling (the whale shark swims so fast!)

Pisces wearing a life vest, Ironic right? haha

3. You ride a boat which should only (strictly) 6 pax. 30 boats are only allowed per batch and the time of the batches are: 730am; 11:30am and another one that I forgot.
I was with 2 participants and 3 foreigners

4. The spotter and the guide, spots for a butanding in the ocean. You get to see one right away because it has dark shadows in the blue and green water. The boat goes ahead of the whale shark (i'm not good at measuring distance, but i would say it is really farther than the butanding)

5. Your guide asks you to seat on side of the boat and tells you to jump and leads you to the butanding's direction. 

My very first encounter with the butanding is crazy, Kuya Jun (our guide) lead us to the way of the butanding, and then he tells me, "suot mo na yan (wear your mask and snorkel, and then look forward). I was confused what did "look forward" mean? Then I saw him, looked forward under water, so then I go, "ahhh. gets. i went down under water and looked forward, didn't know the whaleshark is already right in front of me. I was shouting with my snorkels on...

This is my crazy moment

6. After your first encounter, they try to spot another one, but then sometimes it would still be the same one. We had encountered 4 whale sharks during our encounter: April 19, 2015 (730am) batch. The activity can last until 3 hours (yes we maximized it) but it's up to you if you want to come back already.. but since that's what you came for..  why not maximized it.. 

But again, I want to say it again, it's not guaranteed that you will see one right away. (or see one in your whole 3 hours). But during our trip and a week before that.. a friend also spotted butandings. According to our van driver, many tourist went last January and February but they didn't have any sightings at all. 

Also, since you're in Donsol already, don't forget to go firefly watching at Donsol River. It was quite fascinating! If you want a hassle-free Donsol Trip: Visit TravelFactor.Org