Tag Archives: Donsol

BICOL Summer Spree: DAY 2 – Whale Shark Interaction

Read first about DAY 1 here.

There had been much anticipation of the beach that morning. What I hadn’t anticipated was the surge of butterflies that increasingly brushed my stomach as I road the boat, held back and waited, and finally jumped and glanced at the gentle giant swimmer of under the sea.

We registered at the Tourism Office, waited for other tourists to share the boat with and watched a video on proper whale shark interaction. We were ready with the snorkel and diving fins that we rented the day before. I and my companion met two law students and a foreign couple. I noticed a lot of rashes on the foreigners’ legs and back, and found out they had been stung by jellyfish when they swam by the shore. I was so happy to have chosen the resort pool. (Whew)

Friendly foreigners on the boat
Friendly foreigners on the boat
My dear companion on the look out
My dear companion on the look out

Three hours. We only had three hours to find it (or them, if we’re lucky). Excitement and anxiety gradually filled me as our boat sailed farther off shore. We were alert. As soon as the BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) told us to, we had to jump.

It all happened quickly. I jolted when I heard a shout and the next thing I knew, I was racing in the water towards where the BIO pointed us. I struggled to catch up. I became so nervous. Maybe it was fear of being on the deep part of the water. Maybe it was the anxiety of knowing that there’s something huge beneath me. Or maybe it was the anxiety of like meeting love for the first time.

I submerged my head into the water. At first, I saw nothing. Then, like a matchmaker, the BIO pulled me towards it. My heart thumped. I smiled, and I felt my heart did, too. It was swimming right beneath me. A whale shark slowly, gently swimming away from the surface. I said, “Hi.” With my head underwater, all I heard was the slow ­blob-blob-blob of the water until the creature faded out.

It’s ironic how this ocean creature is so huge and physically intimidating yet it swims so softly that it drags time slowly along with it. When I was looking underwater, it felt like time ran slow.

For a period of three hours, we only saw two whale sharks—each just for a brief moment. It was enough. Afterwards, we were given a short while to just swim.

Much up-close with the whale shark!
Much up-close with the whale shark!

Whale shark interaction is the main attraction of Donsol beach, though the Tourism center also offers island tours and firefly watching by boat on the river. The whale shark peak season is from November to May. So, in other months there is no whale shark interaction, and some beach resorts are also closed since there are much fewer tourists in Donsol. When the whale sharks come back, life consisting of tourism and livelihood, also returns to the beach.

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BICOL Summer Spree: DAY 1 – Donsol, Sorsogon

It was a fun jeepney ride with the townsfolk—women with large bayongs, parents with children on their lap, men hanging on outside the back. There were vendors, too, from whom we bought local sweet treats as snack during the long ride to Donsol beach.

Woodland

 

We’d made a reservation in advance to make sure we didn’t run out of affordable rooms. We took a very! reasonable ₱1,500 room at Woodland Beach Resort. It was big and cozy enough for the two of us. We enjoyed the upstairs room with the scenic view of the beach outside the huge glass panel.

Outside closer to the beach are the bar and the pool which we really enjoyed. We had a sumptuous lunch with the gust of warm salty air from the ocean and the striking noon sun. At night—a relaxing seat at the bar with a glass of cocktail while listening to the mellow bar music and faint ocean waves. After dinner, we went out to the shore and literally watched the galaxy gleam above us. I was lost with the countless stars. After a long moment of snug silence, we headed back to the pool and had a swim. I actually like swimming at the pool better than the beach. I’m too anxious about jellyfish and sea urchins.

Woodland bar

The following day, we got up early to catch the sun come awake in the horizon. You know how beautiful sunrise is at the beach. Then, we were there at the shore, looking up, searching, but found no sun. Just the colors of the breaking dawn. We realized we were at the wrong side of the world, and the east was blocked by tall trees near and far. Nonetheless, it was still nice to wake up this early to catch the daybreak and the morning breeze.

I looked in the distance, into the sea, filled with anticipation for something hiding deep under. Read about it here.

Anticipating something BIG
Anticipating something BIG

BICOL Summer Spree: Starting point

May 18, 2014. Sunday night. We assertively headed to the Turbina bus terminal in Calamba, Laguna. We were cool about it until we saw the queue of sitting and standing people at the terminal. No more tickets at the first bus station. We went to another. And another. We were starting to feel anxious about having to postpone our most anticipated trip of the summer. Even a day of postponement was unacceptable. Our mistake that we had been so confident about not reserving a ticket. We hadn’t expected this rush of commuters to Bicol. We did not crumble easily and pushed our luck in another station. We fortunately got two vacant seats in a bus to Naga City. We were going to Sorsogon which would still be 2-3 hours away, but we took the bus anyway.

Travel by bus to Naga City is about eight hours while it’s only less than an hour by plane. But we still prefer the bus because it’s relatively cheaper, and I love long commutes. I and my companion both love long commutes. I especially love it because I’m with him. Long commutes don’t really matter when you’re with a special person. It can be the most comfortable thing because we can lie close to each other. I can fall onto his shoulders and our sleepy heads can bump into each other without having to be conscious about it.

The night of our departure, we did not sleep right away, but we watched the bright and yellow-orange moon following us. We watched the street and the houses that quickly passed by. We snuggled beside each other while making up scary stories until we fell asleep.

Ah, the country.
Ah, the country.

We woke up to the sunrise and a refreshing view of unfamiliar landscape outside the window. Then, we knew we were in the province. Lots of small wooden houses and green terrain passed our eyes, and we watched zealously. We were finally in Camarines Sur.

We got off in Naga City under the tickling heat of the summer morning sun. Later in our expedition we would explore this city as well, but first in our itinerary was Donsol, Sorsogon. So, we found the van terminal, rode through the countryside and sought the beach.

Read about DAY 1 here.