Yes, Holy Week is the best time for the butanding watching because I'd once work there in Donsol so, I am sure of that.
If you want you can contact this number 09264340275, he is one of the best BIO there in Donsol, his name is Jack.
Fondest memory: When I worked there in a Dive Center and I really missed my job there and the people who become a part of my life. I miss everything there.
although there are other things to do in donsol, it is known worldwide for its whalesharks.
the whalesharks don't swim here all year round. they only come starting DECEMBER then leave by APRIL. if you come early december or late april, there will be less of them around and you might find yourself waiting on the boat for a long time.
best to come well inside this 5-month season to get your money's worth. for example, i went in march and we swam with at least a dozen whalesharks during the 3 hours were out in the bay. it is also best to go in the morning to avoid the tourists and longer waiting periods in the afternoon.
prepare to see gigantic mature specimens reaching as much as 50 feet in length as well as smaller adolescents - small meaning they're only about 20 feet long, ho hum.
Fondest memory: favorite memory? every single minute i spent swimming with these magnificent creatures! they swim quite slowly so you can actually swim alongside them for a few minutes and truly admire their beauty.
best adrenalin rush i've ever had so far in my life!
I dont have pictures for all of the resorts but here are their rates and contact numbers. I'll be visiting the place again this year so expect an update:
Boat Rental: P3500 (max of 7 people)
- Rates include the BIO(Buntanding Interaction Officer) Man, Crew (this wont be an issue when you're travelling alone and you're friendly. There are other travellers like you that cant make the 7 required)
- P100 for locals
- P300 for foreigners
- P300 for Mask, snorkle and fins (these are good quality fins, Mares, Aquamundo etc. If you are SCUBA divers with own gear, I dont recommend your open heel fins, it'll be to heavy and diving in and out from the boat every so often makes it too tiring! Plus the fins being rented out are quite good)
Resorts in the Area:
Contact Marichu (09219699544) / Mel (09182315420)
Rates: Big Cottages AC (10 pax) P2,700.00
AC Rooms (2 pax) P1,500.00
Non AC Cottages P 800.00
Amor Farm Beach Resort
Contact Agnes (0917-6941687)/ 0917-9682733/ 0910-4586140/ 0910-4762176/ email@example.com
Rates: Fan Room w/Bathroom (2 single size bed, 2 fan) P1,000
Fan Room w/Bathroom (1 double size bed) P 700
Fan Room (2 double size bed, common bathroom) P 600
Vitton Beach Resort - just beside the Tourism office
Contact Nora (0927-9126313)
Rates: AC Rooms (2-4 pax) P1,500.00 Extra Person: P200 per head
AC Rooms w/ Hot & Cold (2-4 pax) P1,700.00
Contact Hazel (0921-3687066)/Jun Balmonte (0906-3099372)/ Jun (fireflies) (0906-9320457)
Rates: Fan Room P800
AC Room P1,500
When planning to go "Butanding" whale-shark watching, be at the jump-off point as early as possible for the following reasons. 1. The sea is calm and flat as an airstrip in the morning. 2. Being early to take-off means lesser boats in the water at the same time. That is, more chances to spot a butanding and interact with (Remeber there's a policy of 1boat/group only per butanding and first-come-first-dive). 3. Spare you from more damaging sunburn as the sun heats up more as noontime approaches.
Recommended time: 6 to 10 AM.
Update as of April 2006 : The Visitor Center opens at 730AM. Considering filling up the forms, registering and watching the orientation video; the first boat leaves at 8AM. Whew, it's hot out in the sea by that time already considering that the Butandings show up as early as 6AM.
Fondest memory: The "Butanding" experience haunted me for quite a long time!
The Whale Shark, locally known as “Butanding” (Rhincodon Typus) is the largest fish on earth, growing as long as 50 feet. It has very distinctive color markings of pale spots and stripes against a dark background (fading to a pale underside). These patterns appear to be unique to each individual and can be useful for their re-identification. The head is broad and flattened with a large almost terminal mouth and its teeth are minute. There are prominent longitudinal ridges on the dorsal surface. This impressive but harmless species is unlikely to be misidentified.
The Whale Shark is a highly migratory shark distributed widely in tropical and warm temperate seas. It is one of only three known filter-feeding sharks, suction feeding by gulping in dense aggregations of zooplankton, or passive feeding when plankton density is lower. Prey items range in size from very fine zooplankton (1 mm diameter) to small fishes, squid and crustaceans.
-Excerpts taken from the Donsol Visitors Center Information Booth.
Favorite thing: The place is just absolutely beautiful! The sharks, shrimps and the fireflies! Be sure to get a BIO-Man that meets your mood, it makes a whole lot of difference.