Cebu 2015 Day 2: Butanding Watching at Tan-awan, Oslob

I woke up to this very disturbing news published by Philstar about the mayor of Dumanjung, Cebu named Nelson Garcia saying that, "Dolphins, whales and sharks are parasites. Hence, should be killed."

I won't go into details but you might want to read the articles here: Philstar and Rappler.

This was the first item in our itinerary on our second day in Cebu. At 5 AM we were picked up at our Pension House and were driven 3 hours south to Barangay Tan-Awan, Oslob a famous spot in Cebu for Butanding a.k.a Tuki Watching. 
At around 8 AM, we arrived here at Brumini Resort, Oslob. 
These are some of their cottages. 
These are the rates.

They don't only have Butanding Watching. They also have Tumalog Falls and Sumilon Island Hopping. -_- Gusto ko talaga bumalik for Tumalog and Sumilon. Huhu. Someday, I shall see sandbars too, someday. 
From Brumini, we rode a multi-cab to the Whale Watching area.
Before whale watching, we were briefed about the do's and don'ts of diving/ swimming with the whale sharks. I won't explain anymore what butandings are since I believe that words in this picture are still readable.

But for swimmers:
1. No Flash Photography
2. Don't Apply Sunscreen
3. Keep at least 4 meters distance away from the whale shark.

Wag matigas ang ulo, please. Follow the rules. They're there for a reason. Oo, alam kong nagpunta/magpupunta ka dun for a picture at selfie ganyan pero respeto naman din.
We were given life jackets and snorkeling gears.

It's P 500.00/30 minutes/person for those who wish to swim with the whales, and P 300.00/30 minutes/person for those who'd be contented to just watch from the boats. The prices are more expensive for international tourists. 
Ayan na siyaaaaa.
Infairness, the water here is really deep but I still took off my life jacket so I can swim better.
They only use non-motorized boats in the area.


In my opinion, the system on how they handle tourists who are whale watching is fine. There's a briefing first and rule-defiant tourists are supposedly penalized.

Although the practice is not 100% right since whale sharks are wild animals, I think that it's still better that this kind of activity exists for three reasons: 1. Awareness. 2. Source of income for the locals. 3. Further studies of whale sharks.

The pull factor of the whale shark watching in Oslob is strong. Given that it's 3 hours away from the city and yet a lot of people travel all the way there is not something to be overlooked. Further explanation to tourists and seminars to the locals who are handling the activity are a must though. Hindi rin naman maaalis na kaya hindi nata-trato ng maayos kasi kulang sa knowledge kung paano tratuhin ng maayos.
The moment I jumped off the boat and was able to see one under water, I was shocked. Hahahaha!!! Grabe, ang laki pala talaga. 
But what surprised me more was their behavior.

Wild animal sila kaya dapat mailap sila sa tao pero hindi eh, parang sila, "Okay, andyan ka pala. Sige, picture ka lang. Lalangoy at kakain lang ako dito." Ganyan lang. 
Natatakot ako ng konti pag may lumalapit na isa sa'kin as in katabi ko lang kasi nga akala niya ata ako 'yung long lost sister niya. May isang time pa na tinamaan ako ng buntot niya sa paa.

But in all seriousness, I was really surprised that these whale sharks were approaching humans. 'Cause when we went to Bohol before for a dolphin watching/interaction, yes, we swam in the ocean but none of the dolphins there approached us. Akala ko ganun din 'yung proseso dito, sa pagkain siguro talaga na binibigay. 
As time passed by and as I was able to observe them (boatmen and whale sharks) more. I was starting to feel sad for the whale sharks there. I was starting to think about all the negative impacts this kind of interaction will cause the whales in the area.

Luring them around the whale watching area, it was as if the whale sharks are acting like dogs following the boatmen for their food. The practice will alter the behavior of the whale sharks and it's not surprising that a time will come that they would just depend on human for food, or that they won't migrate anymore since they're living the comfortable life there. 

Them, not migrating, when they are considered as migratory species might pose great danger since they aren't able to breed anymore. Also since they're highly-migratory, we don't know a lot about where they're going, diba? What if... what if during their migration they see a boat and that time, it's motorized and has a propeller... then, lumapit siya kasi nga sa Oslob (parang sa classical conditioning ng aso) ang ibig sabihin ng boat e pagkain, delikado 'yun. Parang tinuruan ang mga butanding na lumapit sa kamatayan nila. :(

Thing here is this activity helps the people of the town but it may be nothing but harmful to the whale sharks in the long run. :( Hindi ko na alam... kayo na lang mag-decide kung gusto niyo pa o hindi subukan.
But did I post this here to tell you that I was able to experience it firsthand? No. Not only that. 
Teka, dahil mas gusto kong tignan na lang siya kesa mag picture ako ng mag picture. Hi daw muna sabi ng braso ko saka ng kalahati ng mukha ko. 
At ito na nga 'yung buntot na humampas sa'kin. Uyyy, di ako 'yung lumapit ah!!!! Di ako 'yung nag cross ng 4 meters na dapat pagitan namin baka pag-multahin ako. Ito na nga 'yung sinasabi ko kanina, medyo hindi talaga maiiwasan 'yung ganito.
Bilang sagot sa mga sinabi ni Mayor na... copy paste lang 'to galing sa Rappler website.

1. "Whale sharks and dolphins are pests, eating two tons of fish a day"
"Man should be the first to survive, not the whales, not the fish, because we will be violating the Bible. God said, man have dominion over the ocean, the fishes, the birds, the animals, and subdue it. That is the order of God."
3. "H
e insisted commercial fishing should be allowed in the waters of the strait."

I am not an expert too. In fact, I've only read facts about butanding before we went to Cebu just so I'd know what to expect. But coming from a mayor? This idea? Kill the marine animals because they are considered as pests? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. O SIGE, MAYOR. IKAW NA. I know someone with attitude similar to the mayor. Since he can not accept his mistakes, he would just point out the faults of others. It's unhealthy. 
This is the reason why people should be well-educated on how to conserve nature and why do we need to conserve it, we should understand that nature has a balance that we need to protect. I think this is the "dominion" the bible is talking about and not say that we're the only ones who deserve to live, hindi 'yun dominion; arrogance at ignorance 'yon. It's not right to kill whales and dolphins just because they eat food that are meant to be consumed by humans. :( Kung pagbabasehan ang symbiotic relationships nga, dapat 'yung relationship na nage-exist sa mga tao at sa nature ay dapat mutualism. Hindi commensalism at lalong hindi parasitism. Pero sa sitwasying ito, masyado na nagiging parasite ang mga tao sa mga hayop at nature, noh! Wala na yata tayong ginawang mabuti.

And FYI, whale sharks (butandings) are filter-feeders meaning they just strain suspended/floating food particles from the water. Yes, they are humongous but they only eat krills and planktons. Are those huge losses?

Then, he said that commercial fishers should be allowed in the strait. huhuhuhu.
 Ilang tons 'yung kinukuha nun?! 100 tons? Ayan, malaking kawalan o baka may malaking lagay sila kay Mayor? Hahahaha. Ako e nagre-react lang naman kagaya niya. Baka kaya gusto ipapatay 'yung mga butanding kasi pag kinain nila 'yung mga isda, walang pakinabang 'yung mga pulitiko pero pag commercial fishers ang kumuha, may pakinabang sila. :(( Nakakalungkot talaga.

Sure. Kill the marine animals since they're just pests and those blamed for the decrease of fishes caught in the area and stand firm by your false beliefs but what happens next? Come to think of it. They are not the real problems here, we are. It is human activity that's upsetting the balance of nature through overfishing, pollution etc.

Yes, there's money and food for today but since the practice isn't sustainable (fishing and living), what would happen to the future generation?

It's really saddening that the statement has to come from a Mayor but it just showed that you can be powerful yet ignorant of these facts. It just showed that not everyone is on the same side of the coin. :( But on the brighter note, madaming nagalit sa kanya at naungkat na naman 'yung conservation issues ng environment. Baka rin pala maisip nung mga naglagay na ang ignorante nung mayor (pati ako) na hindi sapat na mag-type lang dito at magsabi na i-conserve sila nang wala namang ginagawa, diba? Baka rin pala matuto na tayo sa kahalagan ng pagpili ng mas maayos na tao (mas maayos talaga haha) na ihahalal sa pwesto para may pakinabang naman. Hindi 'yung para silang mga boatmen na akala mo pinapakain ka pero mas nilalagay ka pala sa alanganin.

Pero hindi talaga ko maka-move on eh. Seryoso ka talaga, Mayor?! Seryoso ba talaga 'yon? Tas meron pa siyang nalalaman na hindi lang naman sa Butanding nakasalalay 'yung Turismo ng lugar nila dahil na i-raise ata na point na nakikilala ang Cebu dahil sa mga Butanding. Oo, hindi nga lang Butanding pero malaking factor sila. 

Hindi ko naintindihan kasi sa Cebuano nakasulat pero kung mama-manage lang ng maigi, napakalaki ng potential ng area nila kung Turismo lang naman ang pagbabasehan lalo na't may international airport sila sa Cebu at kung mapa-practice lang ng maayos 'yung sistema ng pangingisda, dadami at magre-replenish/magre-regenerate ulit 'yung mga isda dun.

"Unsa man ang tourism? Gwapo nga waterfalls unya makakaon og nindot nga isda ang mga turista… Parasites gyod na sila (dolphins, whales, and sharks) sa dagat. Moingon kintahay ta nga nindot kaayo kay daghang whales, unya ang mga tawo wa nay gikaon kay gihurot na ang mga isda.” HINDI KO MAINTINDIHAN LAHAT. :((((( Parasites lang. Sino nga ba totoong parasites?!
After whale shark watching, we were driven back to the resort where we ate our lunch and rested for a while before going to our next destination. 
Bye, Oslob!!

Babalik ako for Sumilon Island and Tumalog Falls. :))

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