Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Butanding" Watching in Oslob, Cebu

"Butanding"or Whale Shark
       Cebu's pride is the "butanding-watching" or the whale shark watching in Oslob, Cebu. People from all over the world got curious and they came to pay a visit to the "Queen City of the South"- Cebu to experience the extraordinary and remarkable scenery of this large friendly mammal.  Quoting wikipedia's definition and information of the "butanding" or whale shark (Rhincodon typus), is a slow-moving filter-feeding animal that is considered as the largest fish in the sea, measuring 40 feet or more.The whale sharks prefer to live in tropical and warm-temperate oceans, and thought to inhabit almost close to the bottom of the sea (the open sea). These sharks are often found passing by and feeding at several coastal sites such as Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia; Útila in Honduras; Donsol and Batangas in the Philippines; and Pemba and Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania.Often seen offshore, these creatures have also been found closer to shore, entering lagoons or coral atolls, and near the mouths of estuaries and rivers. Its range is restricted to about ±30 ° latitude, and found to a depth of 700 m. The whale shark, however, is solitary and rarely seen in groups unless feeding at locations with an abundance of food.
Barangay Tam-awan, Oslob, Cebu
          A three hour travel from the South Bus Terminal in downtown, Cebu, is what it takes for you to reach barangay Tam-awan, Oslob, Cebu. Air conditioned bus fare may cost Php 150.00 per way. It is preferable to leave the city at three in the morning so you will be in Oslob at six in the morning. Since the whale watching will start at 6:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
The boatmen in action
The boatmen feeding the butandings
Updated Rates as of July 2015

Swimming with the butandings:
Php 500.00 with snorkeling gear and life jacket

Whale watching only: Php 350.00

        Prior to riding the canoe for you to go near to the whales, Locals and point of persons would conduct a brief discussion about the whale and what to remember and what to avoid and what not to do during your whale shark encounter. 

The boatmen waiting for guests to be onboard on the canoe
butanding swimming nearer to the canoe to be fed
 And some of these that I can recall are the following:
  1. NO sunscreen lotions
  2. Each canoe/ group is allowed 30 mins whale watching or swimming
  3. No Flash on the camera since the whales are sensitive to lights
  4. Distance from the whale shark would be 4-5 meters. Definitely no touching.
Butanding on focus


As for me, When I saw the butanding swimming nearer to the boat I am in, It was a mixed emotion as I was excited to see them face to face but at the same time, I was also scared because of their size, they might bump the canoe and it might turn upside down. But to my amazement, they just stopped at the sides of the boat waiting for the boatmen to feed them. As a cebuano, I feel the pride of the natural blessings that God has bestowed us. We should be able to gain responsibility of taking care of these gifts.  These blessings are given to us for a purpose and it should not be put to waste but rather be use for HIS glory.

How abundant are the good things, that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all,  on those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19






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