Butanding, World’s Largest Fish now come into sight again in Donsol!

November 18, 2013 Monday Update- 3 whale shark sighted with interaction with guests/visitors were noted by the monitoring team. One of them was an 8 meter long male whale shark.

For the past week, reports of good sightings of whale sharks in Donsol continues…



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Tourism Office Advisory

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Butanding or Whale Shark, World’s Largest Fish in the Philippines now come into sight in Donsol, Sorsogon The Whale Shark Monitoring Team of the Local Government Unit of Donsol, Sorsogon, composed of local tourism staff, researcher from WWF-Philippines, members of Butanding … Continue reading

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Butanding Festival 2013

This year’s festival will be on May 15-19, 2013. This 5 day event will showcase the rich culture and diversity of the humble town of Donsol,  with the theme “Kulturang Donsolanon: Dalan sa Pagkaurusad asin sa  Pag-asenso”.



DAY 1 (May 15 / Wednesday)


6:00 AM – Mangrove Tree Planting / Barangay Dancalan

6:00 AM – Coastal Clean Up / Donsol Bay

7:00 AM – Thanksgiving Mass / Rizal Park

8:00 AM – Underwater Clean Up / Catundulan Point

8:00 AM – Motorcade / Town wide

8:30 AM – Opening Ceremony / Rizal Park

9:00 AM – Quiztival (Elementary Level) / Donsol East Central School

9:00 AM – Quiztival (Secondary Level) / DNCHS

9:00 AM – Larong Pinoy / Donsol East Central School Grounds


7:00 PM – Fireworks Display / Peralta Park

7:00 PM – Musik Laban / Rizal Park

7:00 PM – Boxing / Peralta Park


DAY 2 (May 16 / Thursday)


6:00 AM – Maritime Parade / Brgy. Sta. Cruz to Brgy. PWWD

8:00 AM – Parade & Drum & Lyre Corps Presentation / Town wide – Peralta Park


6:00 PM – Dance Contest / Rizal Park

6:30 PM – Film Showing / Peralta Park

7:30 PM – Beer Plaza / Peralta Park


DAY 3 (May 17 / Friday)


3:00 PM – Bingo Games / Peralta Park


7:00 PM – Search for Miss Butanding / Peralta Park


DAY 4 (May 18 / Saturday)


8:00 AM – Arnis and Karate Tournament / Peralta Park


3:00 PM – Parade of Beauties / Pantomina sa Tinampo / Town wide


6:00 PM – Procession of Saints / St. Joseph Parish Church -Town wide

7:00 PM – Coronation Night / Peralta Park

9:00 PM – Barangay Night / Peralta Park


DAY 5 (May 19 / Sunday)


4:00 PM – Awarding Ceremonies / Peralta Park


7:00 PM – Fireworks Display / Peralta Park

7:30 PM – Cultural Night / Peralta Park

10:00 PM – Dance… Dance… Dance… / Peralta Park

 Watch out for more details, updates and schedules of events in this site.

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The whale shark is the world’s largest fish. Whale sharks appear in Donsol waters in considerable numbers between December and May of each year, taking advantage of dense food concentration. Donsol is the seasonal feeding ground for whale sharks. This gives scientists and conservationists the opportunity to understand more about them through research. The whale sharks’ arrival also prompted the local community to provide interaction tours. Now, visitors have the chance to swim alongside these majestic creatures.

The Area

Donsol is located in the Province of Sorsogon, in the Bicol Region of the island of Luzon, Philippines. The town’s population is estimated at 47,000 (2003 census) and is traditionally engaged in fishing and agricultural activity.

The Butanding

Whale sharks, known locally in Bicol as “butanding,” are known to grow to lengths of up to 18m, weigh up to 40 tons and live up to 100 years. In other parts of the Philippines, whale sharks are known locally as “balilan,” “kulwano,” “tawiki,” and “toki.” In Donsol waters, typical sightings of whale sharks are between 4-12m in length. Distinctive characteristics include: a broad, flat head, 3 prominent ridges on the upper flank, a checkerboard pattern of white spots and stripes on its blue-gray-brown skin. Whale sharks are highly migratory. Their movement may be guided by food availability, water temperature and quality, environmental factors such as weather, currents and winds. Where they go, during the off-season is still not known.

Feeding and Diet

Whale sharks are filter feeders, typically feeding on plankton, krill, small fish, squid and invertebrate larvae. The huge mouth (up to 2m across) is lined with thousands of tiny teeth, which are neither used for chewing nor biting. Large volumes of water are sucked into the mouth where the food is retained in the gill rakers, and the water is released through the gill slits. Its diet being varied and its food only flourishing in healthy conditions, the whale shark acts as an indicator of the sea’s general health.

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