Shweta Ganesh Kumar takes you on a trip to Donsol, a small village in the Philippines with the world's largest fish
Have you read stories of gigantic creatures that live in the seas? Creatures that are bigger than fishing boats. So huge that they have fins large enough for humans to sit on. Well, fascinated as I had been as a little girl who read such stories, I never dared to believe in them till I made my way to Donsol in the Philippines.
Donsol is a small little fishing village that lies to the south of Manila, the island nation's capital. You might wonder if this is just another beach amongst the many beaches that lie across the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, but what sets Donsol apart is the sharks that reign over the waters here. This city is called the Whale Shark Capital of the World. It's from the months of November to May that these gentle giants swim through the waters of Donsol. Despite being from the shark family, these fish that grow up to lengths of 6 to 18metres are completely harmless.
Till the 1990s, it was humans who hurt them with excessive fishing. Today, the very fishermen who hunted them down help tourists interact with these giant creatures. It was a former fisherman who took me out to the middle of the sea to swim with the whale sharks, with their heads the size of double beds. Swimming with the whale sharks was a dream-like experience for me. After all, it's not always that you get to see fairy-tale creatures in real life.
- Capital of Philippines: Manila
- Official language: Filipino
- Currency: Philippines Peso
- President: Benigno Aquino III