A memorandum of agreement (MOA) among local government units of Masbate, Sorsogon and Albay is being considered to protect whale sharks and ensure easy access to tourist attractions.
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Whale sharks return to Masbate, Sorsogon
Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) - April 3, 2018 - 12:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — Whale sharks, locally known as butanding, have been sighted again in the waters off Masbate and Sorsogon, an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said yesterday.

Benjamin Santiago, DOT-Bicol director, said divers have confirmed the presence of whale sharks in Ticao pass and Donsol Bay since three weeks ago.

“This is a new development because in the past years, whale sharks were sighted only in Donsol... only a few were seen in Ticao. Now these giant mammals have been sighted in big numbers between Ticao and Donsol waters,” Santiago told The STAR.

Whale sharks usually appear in the said areas between December and May.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) among local government units of Masbate, Sorsogon and Albay is being considered to protect whale sharks and ensure easy access to tourist attractions.

“A tripartite MOA…is being studied in order to protect coastal waters where whale sharks are sighted,” Santiago said.

The MOA includes activities to attract tourists even during off-season for whale shark sighting.

Meanwhile, Santiago confirmed that tourist arrivals in Bicol increased by 20 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

He said the increase in tourist arrivals could be attributed to the eruption of Mayon Volcano and improvements in tourist areas, including the Caramoan beaches in Camarines Sur, Rodeo Masbateño Festival in Masbate, butanding interaction in Sorsogon and surfing in Catanduanes.

WHALE SHARKS
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