By Niño Luces
SORSOGON CITY – The provincial government on Thursday officially declared that the whaleshark or ‘butanding’ sighting season off the coast of Donsol is officially on.
Sorsogon Governor Bobet Lee-Rodrigueza said that sightings of the human-friendly whale sharks have started for almost a month ago and was observed on a consistent basis since last week.
“Yes, these friendly whale sharks are spending Yuletide season this year in Sorsogon. As per advise by the local government unit of Donsol, spearheaded by Mayor Josephine Alcantara-Cruz, in partnership with the provincial government, the butanding season is officially on and open,” Lee-Rodrigueza said.
Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Officer Bobby Gigantone told the Manila Bulletin that their counterpart in Donsol town started monitoring and sighting the whaleshark as early as three months ago.
“Iba-iba yung numero ng makikita mong mga butanding. Hindi naman sila pare-parehas kadami since nagstart yung monitoring namin in the past 3 months. Kahapon anim na butanding ang nakita sa karagatan na sakop ng Donsol. So, mga average of 6 sightings ng butanding ang makikita mo araw-araw (The number of sighted butandings vary since we sdrarted three months ago. Yesterday we spotted six off Donsol),” Gigantone said.
In previous years, ‘butanding’ sightings in Donsol start in January or February and ends in June.
“Nagbago ngayon yung sightings ng butanding, siguro dala na rin ng climate change. Pero kahit ano pa man yan, we have to take advantage of it kasi ito yung isa sa mga bumubuhay ng turismo sa ating probinsiya (The butanding sighting schedule has changed, perhaps due to global warming. But whatever the exact reason is, we have to take advantage of the early sighting mto boost tourism which is a main source of livelihood in the province),” Gigantone said.