When did whale shark watching start?
Cebu, a small city in the heart of the Philippines, has been very known for many years now because of its famous whale shark watching which is in Oslob Cebu. The small town of Oslob is located 125 kilometers from the city center but tourists keep on coming this this said town. The whale sharks were spotted in this town even early 1980s. It went famous worldwide last year 2012 when a foreigner uploaded a close-up video of these gentle giants online and went viral.
How much income does the whale sharks give to the locals?
Locals have made more money out of these animals in the ocean. People in the local community had improved their lives from just spearfishing to boatmen who feed the whale sharks. They earned an average of 500USD or P25,000 per week before pandemic hits globally. The whale sharks had become the source of income not just to the local fisherman but for the small business owners in the town who are selling ready to wear garments. Restaurants and hotels are also built in the area. You can now imagine how the whale sharks in Oslob changed many people lives.
How whale shark watching affected by the pandemic?
When pandemic started last March 2020, the operation of whale shark watching stopped. Tourists were not allowed to visit the area even domestically. Locals lost a lot of their income due to Covid-19 virus. When vaccines were out, government authorities allowed local travels and whale shark watching started to operate again. During in an interview with one of the boatmen there, they said that local guests or the number of tourists coming into the town to see the whale sharks are not enough to feed all of them and to buy the plankton that they need to feed to the whale sharks.
These gentle giants are not harmful, they are friendly. Environmentalists are on the site every to make sure that the whale sharks are not harmed either. Let us all support every boatman in the town and let us visit the whale sharks if we can. Rate now is P500 per person or just 10USD. That is not so much to ask from you. Let us get tourism back on its feet again. Support local and support our tourism industry.