About this time of the year till December to May, the Butandings (Rhicodon typus,) the huge whale sharks come around to their usual haunts in Bicol in the farthest tip of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Many sightings of these gentle creatures which can grow to about 15 to 40 feet are in Sorsogon Province particularly in towns of Donsol, Pilar, Castilla, Magallanes, but may occasionally be encountered in the neighboring seas like in Camarines Sur, Albay and as far as Bohol in the Visayas and parts of Mindanao.
Harmlessly docile and friendly, the butandings allow people to go near and swim with them. With characteristic white spots (reminiscent of leopards,) on their gray-blue bodies, they quietly feed on minute planktons and krill abundant in the area at certain times of the year.
Supervised tours to see this giant wonders of the sea are available in the area. For more information, check the PDOT web site at http://www.wowbicol.com, call (63) 52 435-0085 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Donsol Tourism Office in Dancalan headed by Salvador Adrao Jr. can also be contacted (0927) 233-0364. Snorkeling gears can be rented from the resorts.=0=