The whale sharks locally known as “Butanding” can be found just about 15 to 20 meters away from the shore.
Unlike in Donsol, Sorsogon where they were first made a tourist attraction, Butandings in Oslob are not hard to find.
We were told by our local guide that these lovely water creatures start arriving the Oslob area in recent months.
To the surprise of local residents, they started to come one by one until they reach 10 to 20 whale sharks at a time.
You can swim with them, which is unbelievably awesome (especially if you are a water lover like me)! But local guides warn us against touching them to avoid agitating them. Tourists are allowed to dive, snorkel and take some souvenir shots but not feed them.
“Domesticated” as they are, they go around the same spots where regulated boats are allowed to anchor. Only local boatmen, accredited by the local government and tourism officials, are allowed to feed them.
Locals I talked to were happy about the great Butandings coming to their area also because they provide alternative sources of livelihood other than fishing. They also recognize the need to protect these great whale sharks.
Whale sharks in Oslob — Its another reason that its more fun coming to the Philippines!
From Manila there are direct flights to Cebu. There also direct flights from Japan.
- Decline in whale shark tourists worries Gwen, Oslob (newsinfo.inquirer.net)