1. She is a “Whale Shark Sanctuary”
January 1998 marked the discovery of Whale Shark aggregation in a bay near Donsol by a group of divers. The news spread like wildfire attracting tourists and sadly, even hunters. Responding to the media clamor which ensued the killing of 7 whale sharks, Donsol waters were declared a “Whale Shark Sanctuary”. Soon after, hunting and trading was banned across the entire country by the national government (F.A.O.-193).
That same year, tourism was initiated as a collaboration between World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines and the local government to protect Whale Sharks from further consumptive exploitation while improving the socio-economic status of the community.
2. She is the first to spearhead scientific study on Whale Sharks
Donsol was the first place in the Philippines to spearhead a scientific study on live whale sharks. WWF-Philippines has monitored the presence of the gigantic fish in the waters of Donsol since 1998. Likewise worthy of note would be the collaborations with few independent researchers and institutes.
They have indeed worked hard to collect a large amount of data on these leviathans which helps to shed light upon their enigmatic life. By photo-identification and tagging, more than 380 individuals have already been identified. Some of them were tracked crossing national and international borders using these 2 methods.
3. She only allows snorkelling for Whale Shark Interaction
Whale shark interaction is strictly a snorkelling activity in Donsol. In the months of December to July, a large number of whale sharks are commonly seen converging at Donsol Bay. They have been observed to be coming from migration from other areas of Ticao Pass, including that of the Montreal. They stay for 6 – 7 months after arriving somewhere between November to December, feeding on the influx of rich nutrients at the mouth of Donsol River.
4. She is always the first witness to Whale Shark behaviours
Thursday, 5 Dec 2013, the WWF-Philippines reported an unusual rise in interactions with the gentle giant in Donsol in the last quarter of 2013, resulting to an increment in the number of tourists. It seems that they have deviated from their usual visit starting in Dec and ending in May. Since early November, WWF recorded almost daily sightings. Word is getting around and tourists are starting to arrive. Timely reservations for your trip are highly recommended.
5. She is home to many other critters
Aside from whale shark interaction, Donsol proffers more interesting treats for divers exploring Manta Bowl and San Miguel Island. A parade of Manta Ray, Bamboo Shark, Mandarin Fish, Lion Fish, Ghost Pipefish, Puffer Fish, Seahorse, Moray Eel and colourful Nudibranch will surely make your trip something to look forward to!