Donsol is a small fishing and farming village located at the southern tip of Luzon island. Lush green rice fields, bamboo thatched houses, tall coconut trees and pink bougainvillea dominate the landscape.
Today, Donsol is internationally known as one of the best diving places to see whale sharks that migrate to the waters of Donsol each year. Between December and May they are sighted near the beach and Donsol residents claim one can see the triangular dorsal fin cutting through the water while standing on the shore.
Since 1998 the Philippine government has banned commercial fishing of the whale shark locally known as butanding, leading to so-called eco-tourism. Instead of agriculture, hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, boat owners, and guides benefit from the whale sharks’ presence.
Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol was featured as the Best Animal Encounter in Asia by Time Magazine in 2004. The official whale shark season starts from November until the end of May when the sea of Donsol is at its clearest and calmest.
Over the last six year Philippine tourism officers claim that 95% of tourists that flock to Donsol in the season that runs from November to May, actually get to interact with whale sharks – an amazing record. The greater majority of tourists report up to six interactions in just a single morning.
Mabuhay ang Donsol!