November 22, 2013 (Off-season)
We stayed at Misibis Bay Resort and hired a Grandia van for PhP7,500/6hours plus PhP1,000/additional hour. Best time to view whale sharks is in the MORNING. The boats leave at 7AM & 9AM.
It was a 2-hour travel from Misibis to Donsol so we left at 5AM to catch the first tour. Misibis gave us PACKED MEALS: choice of sandwich/tocino (cured meat) /longganisa (Filipino sausage) with garlic rice & sunny side ups.
First stop was Donsol Visitors Center where we completed registration forms and watched a video. We paid PhP3,500 for the boat, Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO), spotter, and the crew; PhP100/person for registration, and PhP150/person complete snorkelling gear. Our BIO was OMAR Nepomuceno, the best in Donsol who has 16 years of experience. He briefed us about whale shark or Butanding (Filipino) as we were enjoying the boat ride.
The tour certainty did not disappoint. Within a short time, our spotter spotted our first whale shark. Each snorkeler has his/her own guide who led us towards the direction of the shark. Omar and his team swam and guided us atop the whale shark so we clearly saw the entirety of the fish. It was an awesome interaction!
This is my first time snorkelling, but it is easy to learn. When underwater, breathing through the mouth becomes instinctive.
PLUS, we saw a school of flying fish on our way back!
TIP: To avoid going home disappointed, inquire first with locals or tour agencies if there are already sightings of whale shark or butanding. Our tip came from Cyrel of Your Brother Travel & Tours.
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