Save the ‘butandings’ in Oslob

In May 2012, I was finally able to scratch off my bucket list swimming with the gentle giants of the seas — the whale sharks or butanding. Back then, the water was fresher, cleaner, more refreshing… and the people wanting to ‘interact’ with the whale sharks are a lot more considerate, well-mannered, and truly conscious of how they should conduct themselves alongside the whales.

Almost three years later, things have drastically changed — in my opinion — for the worse. The water now stinks of rotten ‘alamang’, the small shrimps local fishermen feed the whale sharks… and the ‘tourists’ more unruly.

Many do not really care about the animals — the people I was unfortunate to share a boat with, anyway… They ignored EVERY rule there was! They simply did not care whether they’re getting too close to the ‘butandings’ nor if they were creating too much splashes in the water. All they cared about was that they get underwater pictures with the whale sharks. ‘Twas a sad sight…

Oh, by the way, INTERACTION is a misnomer with regards to the activity in Oslob. There was no interaction. It was chaos. Pandemonium. Cam-whoring at its worst!

The saddest part? Most of the guilty ones are Filipinos. I can see some foreign tourists just shaking their heads.

I myself was so disgusted by what I witnessed that I didn’t even wait for the allocated 30-minute ‘interaction’ time to end. I just swam towards the shore to get away from it all.

If you want a better experience, prepare to shell out some serious money (@2100php) and go SCUBA diving instead to get a good view of the whale sharks from below.

However, seeing what I saw in Oslob gave me a fresher perspective on the debate whether or not to discontinue the practice of “domesticating” these wild but gentle giants of the seas… and I am convinced that it should stop.


About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

2 Responses to Save the ‘butandings’ in Oslob

  1. I hate to say it, but I have to agree. There should be more safeguards in place in Oslob.

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