Whale Shark Expedition with the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines

11th December 2017   |   Mario Passoni

Ready to experience an unforgettable holiday? With Diviac Eco Travel, you’ll have the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the ocean, dive with majestic manta rays, and explore the wild islands of the Philippines.

This trip combines marine life sightings with the local culture of the Philippines, creating a unique holiday in which you’ll meet wonderful sea creatures, visit islands accompanied by local guides and find out how researchers study and protect what you love!

The best time to meet whale sharks and manta rays in Donsol is from December to May. We have chosen the best moment of year to give you a fantastic holiday.

Donsol is also unique for being one of the very few places in the world where whale shark pups have been documented.

As a participant of this Diviac Eco Trip, you’ll concretely help researchers, the local community and marine animals while having a wonderful holiday.

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Essential Information

  • Where: Donsol, Philippines
  • When: From beginning of January to end of April, 2018
  • Who: Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines
  • Whale Shark Experience: Since 1997
  • Trip Duration: 6 days
  • Accommodation: 5 nights in Donsol
  • Tour: Whale shark snorkeling for 3 and a half days; manta ray diving for 1 day
  • Research Activity: Photo-documentation of whale sharks and manta rays
  • Conservation Impact: Support community-based ecotourism and citizen science participation
  • Max Number of Guests: 6
  • Price: Starting at USD 1,294

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Manta Bowl


  • Day 1: Upon arrival, meet and greet; Transfer in between airport. Flight Manila to Legazpi. Upon arrival, transfer to Donsol check-in at Vitton Beach Resort Overnight in Donsol
  • Day 2: 7.30: Registration and briefing, whale shark interaction. 16.00: Presentation on Philippine whale sharks/manta rays
  • Day 3: 6.00: Boat transfer to Ticao Island (2.5hrs) 3 dives; Packed lunch included. 16.00: Transfer back to Donsol
  • Day 4: 7.30: Whale shark interaction. 16.00: Donsol town visit
  • Day 5: 7.30: Whale shark interaction. 16.00: Donsol town visit
  • Day 6: After breakfast transfer to Legaspi airport, check-in flight to Manila

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Swimming with a whale shark

Experience Overview

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands. You’ll journey to Donsol, a rural area in the central eastern region of the country. Here, the local community has been interacting with whale sharks since 1998.

The area hosts almost half of the total number of whale shark individuals photo-identified in the Philippines (a total of 942), making the population of whale sharks in Donsol one of the largest in the world.

Experts will give you short biology lessons, which include some curiosities, all the information you wish to know about local marine life and an overview of their research projects.

Then, you’ll spend three mornings searching for and snorkeling with whale sharks in their natural habitat. You’ll have the opportunity to swim close to them and get stunning photos and videos.

After three days with the whale sharks, you’ll dive in Manta Bowl, one of the most spectacular dive sites in the area and where manta rays are often spotted.

Through sightings and photos of whale sharks and manta rays, you can help researchers with their photo-identification project.

Don’t miss the opportunity to identify a whale shark or a manta ray! Using your photos, you’ll be able to access the database for these animals, find their names and even learn a bit about their story.

As with all wildlife trips, sightings and encounters are not guaranteed, but we have chosen the time of year with the highest probability of seeing these wonderful marine creatures.

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The Vitton Beach Resort


This trip will include land-based accommodation. For this purpose, we have selected the Vitton Beach Resort, which is situated a few meters from the beach.

The rooms are furnished in the local style with an en suite bathroom, air conditioning, fan and private balcony. The resort has two restaurants, a spa, swimming pool and free wifi in public areas.

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The price is per person and depends on the group size:

  • 2 people in twin / double sharing room USD 2,368 (single room USD 2,359)
  • 3 people in twin / double sharing room USD 1,943 (single room USD 2,088, triple sharing USD 1,810)
  • 4 people in twin / double sharing room USD 1,593 (single room USD 1,797, triple sharing USD 1,519)
  • 5 people in twin / double sharing room USD 1,460 (single room USD 1,662, triple sharing USD 1,384)
  • 6 people in twin / double sharing room USD 1,371 (single room USD 1,572, triple sharing USD 1,294)

Please get in touch with us for details.

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Typical boat in the Philippines

Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines

Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines works tirelessly on research, enforcement, tourism and awareness of these threatened marine species. They have also partnered with different research and conservation groups working across the Philippines for better protection of marine wildlife.

Together, they advocate responsible marine wildlife interactions and promote the use of citizen science to help conserve threatened marine species. They have also partnered with Diviac to help engage more divers and tourists in this cause.

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Whale Shark Philippines

Recommended Equipment

  • Underwater camera
  • Mask, snorkel and fins, 3mm wetsuit, BCD and regulator. It’s also possible to rent all diving and snorkeling equipment on location in Donsol.
  • Trekking gear including a swimsuit, trekking sandals, hat, small dry bag and mosquito repellent.

The Trip Includes

  • Roundtrip domestic airfare Manila-Legaspi-Manila w/ 20 kg check-in luggage
  • Roundtrip private airport transfer for Legazpi – Donsol – Legazpi
  • Breakfast at the resort
  • 3 sessions of whale shark interactions with boat, registration fee, snorkeling gear, bio and marine biologist/researcher
  • 5 nights accommodation in Donsol at Vitton Beach Resort or similar
  • Whale shark biology, research, and conservation orientation in Donsol
  • 1-day diving of 3-dives at Manta bowl with boat, dive master, tanks, weights, belt and lunch
  • Service of tour coordinator during your trip to Bicol
  • Entrance fee, marine fee and community fee
  • Free diving insurance offered by Diviac

The Trip Doesn’t Include

  • International flights to and from Manila
  • Lunch and dinner, unless indicated
  • Tips
  • All items of personal nature
  • Travel insurance


  • An Advanced diving course certificate or higher if you want to dive Manta Bowl.
  • However, this trip is also accessible to non-divers.

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