the whale shark or popularly known as the “butanding” in the philippines is a great treasure.
the “butanding” in donsol, sorsogon gained popularity when local and international media featured them in news and documentaries years ago. they are visible in open waters around the archipelago, where there is an abundant supply of planktons, though not exclusively their main source of food, which are microscopic plants and animals.
late last year, there was media hype again, when dive enthusiasts started to blog about their encounters with these gentle giants in oslob, cebu. a sudden flock of tourists went to the area and came close and personal with them.
with so much curiosity and excitement, me and my friends agreed to spend one weekend down south for this adventure. we went on a “joy ride” late saturday morning, courtesy of my partner’s car.
to make our trip worthwhile, we stayed overnight in a barangay resort in alcoy. our accomodation is good, secured and very affordable. the resort is managed by the local government. during the eve of the “butanding” encounter, we partied and went night swimming.
alcoy is popular for their golden sandy beaches, which is around 25 minutes away from oslob – the “butanding” destination.
in the dusk of dawn, we packed and speed up to oslob before sunrise came. in anticipation, there were already groups tenting around the area, waiting to be accomodated first in the line, when we arrived in the vicinity.
as we were seated comfortably facing the sea, we were glorified by the majestic opening of the curtains — which is the sunrise! always delighted to see this miracle all the time.
just in time and “wholaaaa,” we went off to the sea for the encounter.
it is overwhelming to see this creature, that is so big but yet very gentle. i never hesitated to jump from the “bangka,” to witness how this whale shark glides beautifully in water.
aside from dolphins, i like whale sharks too, now…
i am naturally a beach lover and so much more in love being with these friendly sea creatures — respecting, communing and enjoying life together.
* most of these images were taken by a good friend of mine, with so much talent and passion in photography, ms. faye seña.