Donsol, Sorsogon is a world-famous destination because of its interactive activities with the whalesharks or butanding, also considered as the gentle giants of the sea.
Little do people know, Oslob, Cebu is also becoming a favorite destination for tourists who want to see the elusive whalesharks. In fact, local officials from the Municipality of Oslob recently met with the officials from Donsol to discuss whaleshark-watching further. The officials of Oslob aim to learn from Donsol how they can improve their operations for a more effective whaleshark-watching activities.
Oslob is a town located near the Southern tip of Cebu. It became a popular tourist destination in 2011 when whalesharks were spotted near the coast of Barangay Tan-awan. The gentle giants were seen feeding off from the local fishermen. Because of the interest of the people, the local government teamed up with several groups to empower the locals in the community, manage the developing tourism destination, and help protect the whalesharks.
The study tour between the officials of Oslob and Donsol, hosted by the Department of Tourism (DOT), was held earlier this year at the Donsol Whaleshark Watching Briefing Center.
“One of the primary objectives of the tour is to observe and learn from Donsol’s best practices in the management of its whaleshark watching tour, human-cetacean interaction, visitor supervision, as well as enterprise development, community involvement, and partnership approaches.” DOT Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo stated.
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Donsol’s Butanding Interaction Officers shared their experiences and expert advice regarding responsible whaleshark interaction. Oslob and Donsol officials discussed their views on the differences of their respective whaleshark watching tours. They also exchanged ideas on how they can further improve the experience of visitors.
The officials of Oslob also aim to gain insights on how their new tourist destination would be able to generate additional projects for the town’s residents such as souvenir making, to provide recreation activities for tourists, and to create other basic infrastructure services to support the town’s ecotourism-based livelihood.