Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sure Thing, Butanding!

5 Reasons why I l♥ve Donsol, Sorsogon
1. Accommodation
March 27, 2011. Just after lunch. After an hour drive from Legazpi, we arrived at Amor Farm Beach Resort and settled our reservations with the personnel assigned. The accommodation was not that bad in fairness! The place was serene, tidy and the staffs are very friendly.  
We went hastily inside our rooms and settled our backpacks. We got ourselves a fanned room since we were on a tight budget. Our room costs us only p1,2000 equipped with a queen size bed, a single bed, electric fan, air conditioner (which can not be switched on), hot and cold shower and a neat bathroom. Thank God for neat bathrooms. I could afford sleeping anywhere even in the most inconvenient way as long as the bathroom is clean! hehe.
Other than the rooming house, Amor also has a restaurant offering good Filipino and western dishes at reasonable prices. 
2. Great Food at reasonable costs
I vowed to myself not to spend much on food since I was really in a tight budget. Hoping to find cheap sources of budget friendly eats, my quest failed. However, the restaurants we went to offered great tasting dishes at reasonable costs. So I set aside my worries regarding my budget because every bit of eats I consumed was all worth it anyway. 
I. Top left: Kawnkita's Why Noy? Kinunot. sting ray meat mixed with 'gata' and malunggay. One of the best I've tasted so far!
Plus some breaded porkchop, tuna carbonara and cheeseburger (not in the photos)satisfied our appetite as well. Food prices range from p50 - 120 ish. not bad huh?
II. Top right: Chicken adobo
Bottom left: Pansit Guisado
Bottom right: Pork Sisig
all from Shanneylei's or Shannylouis'? my apologies for forgetting the seaside restaurant. Blame it to my memory! ehe. The food was uber good as well and the servings were huge. Food prices range from 150 - 250 ish. 
3. The friendly and hospitable locals
One thing I love about the place is the people residing in it. The people we met were just so accommodating and kind. They were polite and they do not take advantage of the tourists in terms of the financial aspects. 
So BIG thanks to;
a. Kuya Ariel and his brother
- for being our official tricycle ride around Donsol
b. Ate Agnes
- for arranging our reservations in our accommodation and for being patient in entertaining our endless inquiries
c. Kuya Rey Mirabel 
- for giving us worth p600 of a comforting taxi ride back to Legazpi
d. Ate of Binalot from Bohol
- for providing us hot water for our cup noodles for our quick breakfast before heading to our whale shark encounter
e. Kuya Sinong and the rest of the banka crew
- for bearing with us and for permitting us to experience one hell of an adventure the second time around 
4. Firefly watching
One of our side trips include firefly watching. Donsol provides tourists sight seeing in the evening of their infamous fireflies by cruising down their 100 kilometer stretch and 100 meter wide river lined with coconut trees, mangrove forests and shrubs. The tour costs around p1,250 allowing 5 persons per banka ride. We had a concern regarding the number of people allowed in the boat ride. We were 6 people all in all and the person in charge did not allow further considerations regarding this matter. We understood anyway because it was all for safety purposes. Good thing our 'suki' tricycle driver, Kuya Ariel offered us an alternative. We pursued our firefly watching on land instead. There were other sightings of fireflies along side the road few kilometers away from our resort. He offered us p300 per tricycle. It was way cheaper, so we head on despite the gentle rain showers. When we reached our destination, we were awed with what we witnessed. I have never seen so many fireflies in my entire life. They were hovering around mango trees illuminating like that of Christmas lights on pine trees. It was indeed a heavenly and wonderful sight in the cold and damp night. ;)
5. Chasing and Swimming with them Whalesharks 
The highlight of our trip awaits. The whale shark a.k.a the 'butanding' as what the locals refer them are the biggest fish in the world. A fish that's approximately 60 feet long and weighs 40 tons is sure not to miss. They seek refuge in the waters of Donsol from December to May. To achieve an encounter with them all you need is a snorkeling equipment and you'll be astounded with these colossal graceful creatures. The whale sharks swim from surface to mid-water and with their size they're hard to miss. If you have any doubts in terms of your swimming skills, you need not fret because you can always put on a life vest. 
Just put on mind not dare to touch them or threat them in any ways. Give them the respect they deserve and you'll sure have the experience of a lifetime!
Banka ride: P3,500
Donsol Tour Registration Fee: p100
Snorkel gear: p150 per pair
Fins: p150 
  As much as we anticipated a time of our lives feel, we were quite disappointed in our early morning encounter. We set off on our banka at 7 am and for at least 3 hours or more there were no butandings at site. We were so down in the mouth and upset. We suggested to our banka crew that we extend because we can not afford leaving Bicol without having to experience the most awaited highlight of our trip. Good thing the banka crew were considerate enough and allowed us to extend after lunch for another 3 hours more for just p2000! 
Luckily, in our second attempt for butanding sighting, God was really good. We started out and sailed around 12:10 in the afternoon and after 30 minutes, our BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) spotted our first whale shark. Like literally, our hearts almost blew out from our chest due to extreme excitement and everything was just an adrenaline rush! 
We had a total of 6 sightings all in all, and boy, no exaggerations but that was the most surreal and most amazing experience in my entire life. No words and photos could do justice to what we just experienced. 
Here's a short video clip arranged by our friends Daut and Askal, enjoy guys and die of jealousy! 
Bwahahahaha ;)

Our post butanding high faces!

Nothing beats this experience of a lifetime.
Adrenaline Rush.
And all divine synonyms of AWESOMENESS!
There, I said it again. Because it's definitely the truth!;)

Million thanks to the banka crew for bearing with us and for not giving up on us.
The best ka Kuya Sinong!;)

Them DDGs will always be the coolest travel buddies around!
Till the next adventure girlies.

Where to Next? ;)


  1. next year it is for me... a must!

  2. wohoooo!!! d man gyapon ko maka getover oiii. One of the best trips ever!!! Bal, ang aircon man ang dili mo on sa ato room. Hee. Text2 baya si Kuya Ariel nako. Parang my feelings! HAHAHAHA

  3. Bal ni borrow diay kog pics nimo para sa blog nako hehee thanks!

  4. Ako sad! sige gihapon kog sa vids! hahaha cge go, bitaw sah ang aircon man d ay to. ako e edit....

    Murag kuyaw2x lagi nas Kuya Ariel ay! tsk tsk tsk hahahaha

    okay ra ey. salamat pud sa video! ;)