Looking for the best places to see whale sharks in the Philippines? We recommend Donsol in Luzon.
This sleepy fishing village is famous for its snorkelling and diving trips, where tourists can get up close and personal with these silver-spotted beauties.
Snorkelling tours can be arranged in town and cost 300 pesos per person, plus boat fee of 1,600 which can be shared by up to 6 tourists. You can also rent snorkel and fins if you don’t have any with you (300 pesos).
There is no guarantee that you’ll see whale sharks but the odds are pretty good if you go in the right season (Feb-May).
Diving is a little more expensive, with a day trip to the Manta Bowl (inclusive of 3 dives) from 4,500 pesos per person. For PADI Open Water divers, you’ll be required to pay an additional fee of 1,500 for a Divemaster. This is for your safety as the dive conditions can be quite dangerous for amateurs.
The great thing about this option is you are likely to see whale sharks on your dive, as well as manta rays, sharks and other big fish.
We highly recommend Fun Dive Asia on Pio Duran Roac. The team was experienced, profressional and great fun. We were lucky enough to see two whale sharks in the water – one swam right above our heads! It truly was an amazing experience and well worth splashing out.
How to get to Donsol
There are several flights from Manila daily and three weekly from Cebu City to Legazpi. From there, get a tricycle to the main bus station (20 minutes) and catch a minibus to Donsol (1.5 hours). This is the cheapest option.
Alternatively, catch an overnight bus from Manila (13 hours) direct to Donsol.
Other places to see whale sharks
Oslob in Cebu is another place to see whale sharks, but sadly locals are feeding the whales to keep them in the area, which disrupts their natural migration.