A Dip with Whale Sharks: The Gentle Giants of Donsol with Giddy’s Place

I bought a ticket to Legazpi during last year’s Cebu Pacific airfare ticket promo. Even with a busy schedule, my primal instincts wanted to know what the Bicol region was all about.

I was wondering who I should tag along on this adventure and realized that my mom hadn’t had a real vacation in 10 years because she was busy working for the family and to get us through college. So I decided to tell her about the trip and booked her a ticket immediately. She felt so ecstatic since this is the first time that she’s filing a leave in 10 years of working hard.

So I googled what the Bicol region was all about. I realised that our 3-day trip wouldn’t be able to cover it all, so I just focused on my current interest: scuba diving.


I focused on Donsol since it’s home to the biggest fish on earth, the whale shark, or (as the locals call it) the butanding. I looked for a reliable dive center in Donsol to guide us through the waters and islands, and I found Giddy’s Place.

Giddy’s Place is the only PADI-certified dive center in the area. They have complete facilities and a highly-skilled and awesome divemaster, Kuya Nani.


Their very light-hearted and friendly staff members Tine and Kat welcomed us to the place. They told us about the best spots in the area and what we should try out.

First up was Whale Shark Watching. At first, I was really curious what these gentle giants were all about. Are they really that amazing and worth watching? Well, apparently, they are.


Swimming with these whale sharks opened my eyes to how truly awesome the Philippine waters are. Not only that, swimming with these big fishes offered an enlightening experience. They are so big that they make your problems smaller and smaller.


Even until now, while I’m writing this article, I haven’t gotten over the fact that these gentle giants exist and are open for us to witness. It’s definitely one for the bucket list.

After whale watching the whole day, the locals brought us along for “Sudsod”. “Sudsod” is the method of catching shrimps by the sand bars of Donsol.


What you do is carry a net attached to a kawayan and slowly push it against the current of the sea for about 15 minutes. Then, you lift it up and see what you got. We didn’t just catch shrimps that night; we also caught small fish, crabs, jelly fish, and even a puffer fish!


Hunting for your dinner is one awesome experience and shouldn’t be missed when in Donsol.

The next morning, we woke up early to explore the seabed and islands of Ticao in Masbate. The boat took around 1.5 hours to get there and on the way, we saw flying fish swimming with the boat. We even came across a resting whale shark. Check it out:

When we reached our destination, we didn’t waste any time and immediately prepped our gears to dive. Kuya Nani guided me beneath the Ticao Islands to witness its hidden beauty.



Even though my mom doesn’t know how to swim and hasn’t had formal training in scuba diving, she was still able to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Ticao Islands by snorkeling with Tine and Kat.



After 3 consecutive stops and dives around the islands of Ticao, we went to see Katandayagan Falls – waterfalls that fall straight into the sea.


Its beauty is beyond words. It’s definitely something to check out!

On the way back, we saw a rock formation in one of the islands and checked it out.


After years of sitting in front of the computer and taking care of her 2 kids single-handedly, my mom still managed to climb the rock formation to get a clear view above. I thought that she’d be a drag on my trip, but it turns out I underestimated the powers of a mother. Props to my mom!


On the way back, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset while watching dolphins play around in the waters of Donsol. Too bad I didn’t get the chance to capture it because my camera battery drained. I guess you just have to go there to witness it yourself.

After the strenuous activities of the day, it was time to relax. After our dinner, we went straight to a river and for a Firefly Cruise. Flash photography was not allowed and my camera lens doesn’t have the capability to capture the fireflies, but it’s basically a river full of trees filled with natural Christmas lights. When you look up, it’s like the whole galaxy is within your reach, and when you look down, its reflection makes you travel through time.

Our experience with Giddy’s Place was very fulfilling and is definitely something I would highly recommend to every traveler out there who is planning to explore Donsol.

Giddy’s Place

54 Clemente Street, Donsol, Philippines

0917 848-8881




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