Donsol is a third class municipality in the province of Sorsogon, Philippines located at the south of Luzon island.Donsol is politically subdivided into 51 barangays.
Whale Shark Viewing:
Swimming with whale sharks, locally known as "Butanding", was featured as the Best Animal Encounter in Asia
by Time Magazine in 2004. Whale sharks can be seen between November and June, with presence peaking between February and May.
The presence of whale Sharks in the town of Donsol was known to the local residents over 100 years. But the locals believed these gentle giants were dangerous. This wrong notion changed when in December 26, 1997, a group of scuba divers led by Romir Aglugub – a PADI diving instructor, discovered its presence, and interacted and came in contact with the Whale Sharks. Even the members of the diving group of Romir was having second thought if the fish is docile, until the instructor led the way into the water and came in contact with the whale shark.Copy of video footage taken by the group was passed on to the media and the WWF-Philippines. By March 1998, Donsol became world-class tourist destination and now known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World”.
Interaction with the whale sharks is regulated by the local Department of Tourism (DOT) office. WWF guidelines are generally observed to protect the sharks. Rules include limiting the number of swimmers per boat to six, no scuba divers and staying further than three meters from the sharks.
Groups from Singapore, Hong Kong
, Taiwan and the Philippines make up the largest groups of visitors. Most book guided tours with dive centers familiar with whale shark interaction.
Tourism continues to develop piecemeal 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).
Other attractions :
Donsol has a not so known but equally unique night Firefly tour and Shrimp-catching night tour available all-year round. Donsol is also becoming the best jump-off and base for divers to the Manta Bowl and San Miguel Island in Ticao due to the existence of better tourist facilities than the other rural towns. Diving in Donsol itself is not allowed. Donsol also has great trekking and biking site due mainly to the abundance of hilly areas and fields.