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Face to face (again) with Donsol's gentle giants

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Just want to share some photos from my recent trip to Donsol, Sorsogon in the Philippines, where whale sharks pass by regularly to feed. This was my seventh trip to Donsol and I have probably jumped in the water and swam with these sharks almost a hundred times already, but it's a different experience every time. Scuba is prohibited when interacting with whale sharks, so these shots were taken on plain snorkeling gear. It's a bit challenging trying to channel your energy and breathing properly (and sometimes holding it) to keep up with the sharks (they are not slouchy swimmers!). The whale sharks are found by spotters using the naked eye, so no telescopes and helicopters just like in Ningaloo. This means lower fees (less than $15 for a four-hour boat trip).


Here are several stories that I have written in the past on the gentle giants for a local newspaper.

Face to face with Donsol's gentle giants

Close encounters with a whale shark

Close encounter with Donsol's butanding

Protecting the habitat of whale sharks











Free riders:



Out of breath:






Mobile store:






Round world:


Edited by Swordfish

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Nice photos, thanks for sharing. I've done this trip three times now and loved it each time - swimming with the butanding is a fantastic experience. Although trying to keep up with leg power alone while pushing a housed camera is not so easy, so you've done very well with these shots! Looks like the visibility at Donsol is a lot better at this time of year than the usual peak around April. I'm curious about going "off season" - did you see very many individuals or were they fewer and farther between?

Edited by troporobo

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I actually went there last April and it was jam-packed. Visibility can change within a day so you can't really be sure.

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