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Donsol, Sorsogon – Whale Shark Viewing and Accomodation

Donsol, Sorsogon is known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World” thus, it is a popular tourist destination for whale shark watching and swimming with them. These gentle giants put Donsol in the traveler’s adventure map and in fact, every year, draws a lot of tourists from all over the world, visiting there to watch the abundance of whale shark in the bordering seas of Donsol.
In 2004, swimming with these whale sharks was featured as the Best Animal Encounter in Asia by the Time Magazine. Since whale shark is the largest fish in the world, it is an extraordinary experience interacting with them and swimming right beside them.

Donsol-Shark viewingWhale sharks found a home in Donsol because of its unusual quantity of planktons which they feed upon on and also for its tropical and warm seas. It’s been hundreds of years since the whale sharks occasionally inhabit this place, though Donsolanos thought that these animals are harmful sharks. It was only until January 1998 when a group of divers led by Romir Aglugub had the courage to interact and swim with them which led to prove that they are timid and safe.

Accommodations in Donsol

Tourism continues to develop piece meal in Donsol. The first hotel established in the area is the Amor Farm Beach Resort in 1997 followed by the Woodland Beach Resort in 1998 which started off as a family vacation house. Interest to visit the quaint and quiet town grew as soon as news of whale shark sightings grew amongst the international marine biologist community. Tourists can now avail of rooms that cater to all financial budgets, from the backpacker to the family vacationer from various resorts and homestays in Donsol.

Most establishments accept only cash and the nearest bank or ATM is an hour away in Legaspi. Giddy’s Place PADI Dive Resort is the only resort that accepts credit card payments to date. It is also the only resort open all year round as the others are only open during whaleshark season (December to May). Landlines are non existent in Donsol and most rely on mobile phones. Internet service just came to Donsol in 2008 using cellular technology. There are a few internet shops in town and Giddy’s Place is also the only resort in town with internet and free WiFi, a pool that is also for scuba lessons and Donsol’s only in-house Diving Instructor. They are also the only PADI facility in Donsol and the surrounding provinces and has Grade A air and will have Nitrox by March 2011.

Activities:

SCUBA diving with manta rays, firefly watching, kayaking, tours, etc. are good all year, but whale shark interaction is best December through May (though there are usually sightings November through June).

Woodland Beach Resort
Pangpang, Donsol, Sorsogon
Contact No. 0920 863 0191 (+63 920 863 0191 for international callers)
Contact: Maricho Bigayan

Apuyan Residential Inn
Tres Maria, Donsol, Sorsogon

Inday Tourist Inn & Lodge
Poso, Donsol, Sorsogon

Santiago Tourist Inn
Poso, Donsol, Sorsogon

Hernandez Guest & Pension House
Poso, Donsol, Sorsogon

For Department of Tourism accredited homestays, please get in touch with Ms. Irma Jimenez (mobile: +63 906 7625955) of the Donsol Inn-Keepers Association (DIKA).