Donsol

Donsol is in Sorsogon, Philippines.

Butanding Interaction Officer looking for whale sharks.

Understand

There are 2 main areas in Donsol - what is called the town center, with small shops and food stalls, home stays hotels and Dancalan, which is situated around the beach about 2km west of the city center.

Donsol town is a small rural town of a few thousand people. Before the arrival of tourists the local economy was based on fishing, rice farming and copra [dried coconut meat]. With the arrival of tourists to see the whale sharks there has been an injection of money into the area which has meant better infrastructure. The town has a nice church, wet market and near the quay side are a fishing community and fish dealers.

About 2km out of town is Barangay Dancalan. In Dancalan you will find the Visitor Center, most dive shops and beach resorts. Most resorts do not accept credit cards and there are no ATM machines in the town, except where noted below. The nearest ATM machines are in Legaspi about 1:20 from Donsol. Most Resorts and hotels in Donsol are open only during the whaleshark season (December to May), with two exceptions listed below.

There are no landlines in Donsol and internet access is only in the town center, with the exception of the resorts mentioned below.

Get in

By plane from Manila to Legaspi then by public van or private pick-up to Donsol. Private vans cost from P1500-P2000 per van, and you can get them outside the airport when you arrive. They have A/C and will drop you directly at your accommodation. Public vans are also available, but you have to take a tricycle from the airport to the bus station, then wait for the van to be full (12 people). It only costs around P80, and will drop you at the Donsol bus station in the city center, from where you have to take another tricycle to Dancalan.

Buses also are available from Manila direct to Donsol (daily) or via Legaspi.

Get around

Rice fields in Donsol.

There are lots of tricycles in Donsol that will get you wherever you want. To go from the city center to Dancalan the price is P40 for 2 people.

See

A floating restaurant on a Donsol beach.

Do

Most of the hotels can organize the activities for you, including transportation. However some of them tend to add a fee on top of the usual price.

  • Frontier Whale Shark Tours,  +63 917 540 8410, e-mail: . Leads guided whale shark tours every year from February to May with experienced naturalists as guides. The guides enter the water with the group and are experts at maintaining a safe approach to the sharks. Tours start in Manila and include domestic flights, all transfers, resort accommodation and full meals.
  • Bicol Dive Center,  +63 917 9002464, +63 906 8016852, e-mail: . Dive center is just across from the tourist center. Offers Dive course & day trips to San Miguel Island and Manta Bowl, Island Hopping and snorkeling, the price is P4500 for 3 dives (minimum of 4 divers)and give special rates for big groups. Gear is in good condition, the boat is spacious and the people are really friendly. Accepts cash payments only. Dive shop is open year round.
  • Frontier Scuba, e-mail: . Leads guided whale shark tours every year from February to May with experienced naturalists as guides. Tours start in Manila and include domestic flights, resort accommodation and meals.
  • Giddy's Place PADI Dive Resort, Clemente St,  +63 917 848-8881, e-mail: . Open year round. It is the only PADI accredited facility in Donsol and the only one with Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) accreditation. Has the only dive training pool in Donsol and the surrounding towns. Has Donsol's only resident dive instructor and has Grade A Air. Will have Nitrox blending By March 2011. Has the lowest rate for the solo diver. Accepts credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, JCB) without surcharge.

Buy

There is no ATM in the town and it is difficult to change money, so cash up before heading to Donsol. The nearest ATM is an hour away in Legaspi. To exchange Euros or US dollars, ask at Amor Resort or Hernandez Guest House, but the rate can be more than 10% less than the official one (teling you false numbers on rates in Legaspi). Alternatively in a pinch you can purchase meals and avail of accommodations and activities at Giddy's Place PADI Dive Resort using a credit card.

Except for the payment for the rooms, Casa Bianca accepts U.S. Dollars and Euros for the meals. Strictly following the exact exchange rates in Legazpi.

Eat

Most of the resorts along the beach have their own restaurant where you can eat even if you are not staying in the resort.

Sleep

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 03, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.