N. Mindanao town to develop whale shark viewing tours

Posted on January 06, 2016

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The local government of Talisayan town in Misamis Oriental province is planning to organize whale shark sightseeing tours in an emerging dive spot off its coast.

Talisayan Mayor Rommel C. Maslog said they are starting with a municipal council ordinance that will contain strict guidelines on how the tours should be conducted, including limitations on the interaction with the whale sharks.

“Prior to developing the whale shark sightseeing, we would first invite scientists who would map the salient points in the ordinance institutionalizing it,” Mr. Maslog said.

Talisayan is the closest mainland town to the island province of Camiguin, which is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Northern Mindanao.

The waters off Talisayan in Gingoog Bay are slowly becoming a prime dive spot and the area is also part of the migration route of whale sharks.

Whale sharks have been present in Talisayan’s waters since at least the 1950s and hunting them for their fins was a source of income for some coastal communities until the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources banned the practice in 1998.

Whale sharks, the largest known living fish, are popular tourist attractions in other parts of the country such as Donsol in southern Luzon, and Oslob and Bohol in the Visayas. -- Mark D. Francisco