The area around Donsol is best known for one of the greatest concentrations of whale sharks in the world. The number of sightings varies: during the peak months of February to May there’s a good chance of seeing ten or fifteen whale sharks a day, but on some days (particularly early or late in the season, which stretches from mid-November to June) you might strike out and see none. Holy Week is extremely busy and best avoided.

At the Visitor Centre you can complete all the formalities of hiring a boat for a whale shark-watching trip. Queues can start to form before the centre opens during peak season, particularly at weekends, so arrive early.

Tourists are not allowed to board a boat without first being briefed by a Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO), who explains how to behave in the water near a whale shark. The number of snorkellers around any one shark is limited to six; flash photography is not allowed, nor is scuba gear, and avoid the animal’s tail because it can do you some serious damage. Some boatmen flout these rules in order to keep their passengers happy, but this risks distressing the whale sharks and should not be encouraged. Check that your boat has one of the mandatory propeller guards.

 

 

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Philippines features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Puerto Princesa Underground River: the Philippines' 8km-long subterranean wonder

Puerto Princesa Underground River: the Philippines' 8km-long subterranean wonder

Deep underground on the island of Palawan in the Philippines lies the Puerto Princesa River. Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘New 7 Wonders o…

10 Jan 2017 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
The stunning Philippines in pictures

The stunning Philippines in pictures

Rough Guides writer Kiki Deere shares some of her best photographs of the Philippines from her latest trip to Southeast Asia.  Comprising 7107 islands, the …

18 Dec 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
Gorgeous video explores the Philippines from above

Gorgeous video explores the Philippines from above

The Philippines is beautiful from the ground, but from above it's even better. This video soars hundreds of metres into the air to give you a bird's-eye view …

29 Jul 2015 • Lottie Gross videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month