(above photo by Genesis Santiago)
Rise and shine! Witness the rising sun as you head into the tranquil waters surrounding the islands of Panglao, Pamilacan and Balicasag in Bohol, Philippines. Dolphins don’t usually come out when the sun’s high up and it’s too hot.
But when they do, get ready to be thrilled as the pods pop from below and swim with the boats. Their high spirited antics as they leap out of the water reminds me of their true joy and freedom, out in the sea, away from the tiles of swimming pools. This is true dolphin watching, not in enclosed dolphin shows.
Spinner dolphins (Stenella longilostris) are common in these waters. The most social of all dolphins, they are spectacular to watch due to their acrobatics and spins above water. They can be found in a pod of 100 to more than 1000 individuals. It is common to see them returning to the same location day after day. They usually feed on squid, shrimp and fish.
Fishermen of Bohol used to hunt these dolphins and whales for a living. Now, tourism has converted them and provided an alternative source of income. Aside from other notorious threats to marine life like pollution, I believed that the tour and boat operators should be cautious of the number of boats and time spent watching or “chasing” these creatures, so as not to negatively impact them.
Of the 28 species of dolphins and whales seen in Philippine waters, scientists have seen 18 of these species in Bohol waters…
How to get there?
Dolphin watching in Bohol is usually part of a package tour that will visit Balicasag Island for snorkeling and Virgin Island or Pamilacan Island. Hire a boat for more or less PhP 2500 in Panglao Island or Baclayon in mainland Bohol.