Why I didn’t swim with the Whale Sharks in Cebu

Going into my trip, I had a picture saved of someone on a small raft surrounded by Whale Sharks in Cebu & I was in awe – I HAD to do this myself! It looked like such an awe-inspiring experience. But, being the person I am, I was doing research before I made all of my plans & I came across some information that turned me against the experience. Hopefully this information can help you make the decision of whether or not you want to swim with the Whale Sharks in Cebu, as well.

whale sharks in Cebu
© Krzysztof Odziomek/Dreamstime/TNS

What the experience is like for you

When you picture this experience, I’m sure you don’t picture it lasting a few minutes & you being constantly surrounded by people unable to get a photo of you alone. But, unfortunately, that’s what it’s like.

The entire area is completely full of people that tour guides are cycling in & out at a quick pace. You snap your picture & keep moving. Odds are you will NOT get those perfect Instagram pictures unless you plan on doing quite a bit of Photoshop afterwards.

Photo by Arni Aclao/SunStar Cebu

What the experience is like for the Whale Sharks

The entire process that is involved with the Whale Shark tourism in Cebu is changing the way the Whale Sharks live in a negative way:

  • The Whale Sharks are associating boats & humans with food, as the food is used as bait to bring them around. This is affecting their diet & instinct to hunt for their own food, which in turn will affect their ability to survive in the wild.
  • The bacteria we carry as humans is very different from the bacteria Whale Sharks usually encounter. This can cause illness & infection in them.
  • Because of the close quarters between boats & Whale Sharks, along with the fact that they want to come close to get their food, they are rubbing against the boats so much that almost every Whale Shark has scars all over their bodies.
  • The migratory patterns of the Whale Sharks are being affected because they don’t want to leave their constant source of food. In the long-term this can greatly affect the breeding of Whale Sharks.

I hope some of this information can help you decide whether or not it’s worth it to you to swim with the whale sharks in Cebu!