Whale shark or Butanding (commonly known in Filipino) is a slow-moving filter-feeding animal that is considered as the largest fish in the sea, measuring 40 feet or more. These sharks have very wide mouths which can reach nearly 5 ft. wide and can contain up to 350 rows of teeth. The head is flat and the eyes are located near the front of its head. While these sharks aren’t known to attack humans some speculate that a human could get caught in its large mouth, however even if this were to occur the throat of a whale shark is fairly small and it would be impossible for the shark to consume a person. These shark has even been said to be fairly friendly and playful with divers and may even let a diver hold on for a ride. (facts from whalefacts.org)
Here in the Philippines, there are several places you can go to-to experience whale shark watching/swimming.
So when I planned my Cebu and Bohol trip last June, I made sure to include this in my itinerary. I didn’t regret to do so cause it became the highlight of my Cebuhol Adventure.
Overwhelmed by my experience, I decided to write my top 5 reasons why swimming with the gentle giants is the best thing to do when you go to Cebu.
1) Whale sharks are completely harmless so there’s no need to be afraid of them. They are filter feeders meaning they consume food by swimming towards it with their mouth open engulfing the prey that enters their mouth. Plus, they don’t eat humans!
2) Gentle giants are truly gentle and friendly. Swimming and snorkeling with them is an amazing experience. Again, no need to be scared of these creatures. But, if you are too afraid of the giant fish then you can still watch them from the boat.
3) You’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a professional swimmer. Besides the boatmen will guide you and will even help you to have that instagram-worthy photo with the whale shark.
4) Swimming with the Butanding makes me appreciate more the beauty of the underwater world. For me oceans are deep and magical and there are still a lot of things we need to see and discover.
5) It is one of a kind experience that you shouldn’t miss! An adventure you wouldn’t forget and definitely worthy of your bucket list.
Hopefully, these 5 reasons will inspire you to try this adventure when you visit Cebu.
Sharing with you my #niknakztraveltips when swimming with the whale sharks.
- I would suggest to go there early to avoid the crowd. It is open from 6 AM to 12:30 PM.
- You have to pay P500 for 30 minutes encounter with the whale shark and P300 for whale shark watching. Foreigners have to pay for a higher rate. Snorkeling gear is free.
- But, if you have your own gear then you better bring that with you if you don’t want to use snorkeling gear that has been used by others.
- Whale shark watching is well organized by the local town people. Listen very carefully to the do’s and don’ts when swimming with the whale sharks. Compliance is a must.
- Don’t bother to put sunscreen when you go there, you’ll end up removing it because it is not allowed to put sunblock when you swim with the whale shark.
- You can rent an underwater camera if you don’t have one.
- Enjoy the moment! It is really scary at first but once you’re in there you will feel amused and amazed by the gentle giants.
How to get there?
- Book a plane ticket to Mactan, Cebu with Air Asia, Cebu Pacific or PAL.
- From Cebu City, go to South Bus Terminal and take a Ceres bus going to Oslob.
- In our case, we stayed in Seafari Resort in Oslob and they take us to whale shark watching area. Only 5 minutes boat ride from our resort.
Thank you for spending your time reading my first entry here in my blog. Happy Travels!
“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.” – Lewis Carrolll, Alice in Wonderland