Cebu’s Whale Shark: The Tukî Experience

Only a few meters from the shore, we saw this giant silhouette slowly swimming visibly below us. Locally known as tukî in Cebu, and butanding in Luzon, these whale sharks were spotted years ago near the shores of south of Cebu, between the mainland and Sumilon island.

The news about Cebu’s whale sharks spread among diving enthusiasts. It made to mainstream when it was published by Sunstar Daily News and featured by GMA 7.

Lucky for me, I read my idol SCUBA diver and travel blogger Inday Guapa‘s post and was planning weeks before it became mainstream. And luckily, she has a cousin who is a good friend of mine way back college so she knew the details about whale sharks and how to get there.

Where Do I Start?

My guide told me to just float far away from the boats and the tukî will approach me. Only a few minutes after just aimlessly floating around, the biggest of the 14 whale sharks there slowly inched its way towards me. I froze, I could hardly breath, not knowing what to do as the giant butanding of about eight meters in length was coming straight at me!

I didn’t panic, I remember the guide telling me to just float there, stay calm, and and do nothing. Which what I exactly did.

Seconds passed and this massive thing was closing the gap, me holding my breath and the level of anxiety shooting to the roof of my head! Only moments before impact or about only a foot or two away from me, it veered to its left.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I asked myself. WHAT WAS THAT???

That was, I answered my other self, was amazing.

You might also like:

Snorkeling at Gilutongan, Cebu Island Hopping!
Atlantica Underwater Pics
Moalboal Underwater Tour
Top Questions I Get as a Freediver

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  1. Drew says:

    Yehey! Excited nakong makita to sa Friday! Weeee!!!!

  2. doi says:

    feeling nako i’d need a life vest ig langoy nako in case i panic! hahaha. but this one’s amazing dwin! can’t wait! :-)

  3. Wah angkyut nya :D Sana makapag-dive din ako soon. Do I need to learn how to swim bago makapag-dive?

  4. eric says:

    bahala na si lord. basta gusto ko to ma experience.. sana pag balik ko janary anjan pa yan

  5. Penfires says:

    amazing! wow! grabeeee! shucks kung ako to dwin basin mo freeze nalang hehehe thanks for sharing this! mahimo na dyud ning next tourism phenom =)

  6. mark says:

    Whoa!!! suyaa nako ani oi!!!
    dli kaha ko mukaging nuh if tuparan nako sa whale while floating..

    tsk tsk tsk =D

  7. lakbay says:

    @drew: sayang di ako makasama!
    @marcos: wow talaga! punta ka na ditey cebu kami naman ang maghohost hehehehe
    @doi: magpanic jud. daghan ko’g instances nga makalimot ko’g ginhawa, makalimot ko to stay afloat, makalimot ko’g equalize, etc etc. hahaha
    @micamyx: pwede lang snorkel! pwede nga sa banka lang hehehe…
    @eric: resident whale sharks daw to. :)
    @cille: i think. pero hopefully naay environmental and safety measures for the tukîs.
    @mark: ma anad ra ka brad hahahaha.

  8. nakakainggit naman . this post deserves fb share para makita nila yung ganda ng whale shark experience ninyo, inggit na inggit lang ako… like like like

  9. darwin says:

    waaaah! lalo akong naexcite pumunta ng CEBU! Lakbay! sama ako!

  10. mark says:

    cant wait to swim with them.. hahahah! could u provide expenses brad? hihih! para naa nlng idea..

  11. exciting! kung ako yan, matatakot din ako… hehehe!!! given the chance, i would also love to swim with the Tuki (kahit di ako marunong lumangoy..hehehe!) sana soon! thanks for shring this… Happy Holidays! :)

  12. Woooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhoooooooooooooooo! Dugaya mag friday oooyyy! Hahahahahaha Leeesssggooooooowwww!

  13. Jean Beltran says:

    i wanna experience this too!

  14. spiky says:

    nice travel blog…sarap maglakbay. :)

  15. huwaw! edwin nakakainggit!!!ang sayaaa!

  16. lakbay says:

    @chino: salamat!
    @darwin: sama ka nila doi bukas! hahaha
    @mark: 100 ang entrance tapos 200 ang bayad sa mananagat, good for 40 minutes.
    @mervz: hindi sila nangangagat promise hahahaha. it’s natural at first to fear them, but later on you’ll get the hang of it.
    @lourd: ugma na brad!
    @jean: go! :)
    @spiky: thanks!
    @gael: na i-inggit din ako eh oh. hahaha..

  17. spiky says:

    sana makapunta rin ako dyan…malapit lapit lang samin yan.

  18. Jie says:

    Inggit ako. Probably the closest I can get to creatures like this is Seaworld!

  19. Renz Bulseco says:

    Halaaaaaa! Ka nice jud!!! Ikaw na ang pinaka-abtik mag blog about your whaleshark experience :))

  20. lakbay says:

    @spiky: san inyo?
    jie: hahahaha… balik na cebu!
    @renz: di ko ka get over man gud. :)

  21. When do you think is the best time for me to go and swim with them? I’ve never been to Donsol but I want to go diving in Moalboal/Malapascua, so I better swim with them as well. Cebu really rocks!

  22. lakbay says:

    well, from the feedback of the fisherfolks there, they’ve become residents to the place already. the best time i guess is summer: clear skies, sunny weather equals clear underwater pics. :)

  23. randyQ says:

    wow grabeng adventure!


    I’m in Cebu for about 8 years and never have done this! I hate myself! LOL.

    I want to do this too, I hope they won’t eat me. What camera were you using by the way?

  25. dong ho says:

    diyan pala ang tuki talaga lumalapit. naalala ko yung sa donsol kung saan kami ang humahabol para sumabay sa langoy nila.

  26. Vernon Go says:

    Chuyyaaaa aniii oieeeeee…pilay budget aniii/total-investment??? Hehehe og pila ka taw ideal kuyogon?

  27. rainier says:

    may alam ka po ba na murang lodging sa oslob.. kahit homestay lang.. 2 kami.. balak namin puntahan yan next week eh.. dumaguete kami manggaling..

  28. lakbay says:

    @randy: grabeh jud. adto nya mo rands, malingaw to’s baby reese
    @gay: i’m using olympus tough 3000 series. :)
    @dong ho: eto di na kailangan lumangoy wehehehehe…
    @vernon: mga 700 damage 1 day including transpo, boat, and rest-house.
    @rainier: uhm hindi po ako sure kung meron dun. sorry. :) cottage lang kasi yung iparent ata nung caretaker.

  29. rainier says:

    alam mo ba kung anong oras available ang whale watching dun?
    buong maghapon ba?u

  30. lakbay says:

    i think they’re available whole day, but it’s advisable to get there before noon. they start as early as 5am, and they might run out of food to feed the whalesharks late morning. :)

  31. kuyawa pud kaayo ang kadako sa Tuki ba. Puede man mag life vest ani dwin no? :-).

  32. Corrine says:

    They have whale sharks in Cebu?!

  33. Atticus says:

    swerte niyo naman. congrats! happy new year!

  34. timmy says:

    Can someone post contact numbers pls? Will be going tomorrow and the person I talked to said they won’t open tomorrow. Major problem!

  35. Macky says:

    nindota sa emu experience oie… nindot unta masakyan ng whale… hehe

  36. zhequia says:

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I am sooo green in envy right now! I can’t wait til February! Will go rubbing elbows with them Whale Sharks~

  37. zhequia says:

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I am sooo green in envy right now! I can’t wait til February! Will go rubbing elbows with them Whale Sharks~

  38. lakbay says:

    @bonzenti: o, dako jud. pwede ra mang lifevest. :)
    @corrine: we do! :D
    @atticus: happy new year too!
    @timmy: uhm. i’ll send an email.
    @macky: hehehe nindot unta sakyan pero dili maayo :)
    @zhequia: kaduha jud mo comment???

  39. zhequia says:

    Pasensya. Pakidelete sa isa please?! :)

  40. chyng says:

    wish I could have a great experience like you do. kaso magaling kang lumangoy eh, astig!

    what does “Ang ang ang ang-ang ang-ang” mean? im interested. hehe

  41. Swimming with sharks, which is unusual, really is a fun experience.

  42. Tourist should really try this encounter :) Whale sharks really are not sharks that everybody’s afraid of.

  43. Well, you are lucky. Not all get the chance to see these animals. But you, you had an close encounter.

  44. kapupunta lang namin dyan sa Cebu last August and thankfully like you my nakita din kaming mga butanding. grabe nakakatakot talaga pag super lapit na nya sayo. pero it was an extraordinary experience!

  45. Diva says:

    @joan: apir! nakakatakot talaga yung mga gentle giants na yan :D

  46. MJ says:

    hello may alam kaba na cheap resort to stay ? gusto din namin mg whale watching hehehe

  47. Issa says:

    Hi.. may post ka rin pala tungkol sa whalesharks. Haha.. :)

    They were both scary and stunning.

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