You are WHALE WATCHING Palawan…

Surrounded by the deep waters of the Sulu and South China seas Palawan has great potential as whale watching destination, while still today remains relatively unexplored. It is not clear indeed how many species of cetaceans truly occur in the island and, despite the scattered reports arising from time to time, the whole picture of marine biodiversity is not yet well understood. From Minke Whales to Irrawaddy Dolphins, including Whale Sharks and dugongs, it seems that Palawan has much to offer to marine observers.

Because of their singularity, we have seen fit to consider Irrawaddy Dolphins in a separate tour package. It is not easy, however, to tackle the remaining array of creatures as if they were one single homogeneous group. Both technical and taxonomically, little have to do dugongs with dolphins, or Mink Whales with Whale Sharks, despite their sight may trigger the same rewarding feelings on us. Hence, in order to optimize our trips as much as possible, we have based on feasibility to design two different tour types: INSHORE and OFFSHORE.

Visitors must be aware that marine creatures are subjected to seasonal patterns, especially when it comes to nomadic species. This means that not all periods of the year are good to spot all species. Please, bear this in mind in order to shape your expectations accordingly and choose the right tour when coming to Palawan.

Our whale watching tours include
  • TRANSPORTATION

    to and from the whale watching sites

  • GUIDING

    nice introductory breafings and best search guaranteed

  • MEALS & DRINKS

    snaks, meals and some drinks will be provided on board

  • COMFORT

    padded seats, shade roof, toilet… all you need for a long search

  • DISCOUNTS

    in subsequent attempts, if you are not lucky your first time

 

Are you keen on WHALE WATCHING?

please, visit...

www.whalewatchpalawan.com

Minke whales

Minke Whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) visit the offshore waters of Palawan between December and June, coinciding to the shoaling season for “dilis” or “alamang”, a small crustacean that comprise a significant part of their diet. While Sperm Wales (Physeter macrocephalus) and Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) also show up from time to time in the area, Minke Whales are the most conspicuous among large cetaceans and the only native baleen whales. During the season, they are relatively abundant in northern Palawan, being the Balacuit Bay and the mouth of Malampaya Sound the best places to spot them.

Small / medium-sized pelagics

Unlike baleen whales, toothed cetaceans are found in Palawan throughout the year. Pelagic species (those inhabiting offshore waters) can be quite difficult to locate though. Typically nomadic, they undertake large-scaled movements, often in sparsely aggregated groups which keep in touch and even socialize thanks to echolocation. That is the case of Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Risso’s Dolphins (Gramphus griseus), to which European and North American naturalists will be quite familiar. Stenella dolphins [Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) and Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (S. attenuata)], otherwise, will be likely the first to show up, as they approach boats to swim alongside.

The Philippines is one of the best places in the world to spot Fraser’s Dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei), species that was described just half century ago from bone remains, but which at the end doesn´t seem to be that rare, at least in the waters of the archipelago.

Truly rare are the Melon-headed Whales (Peponocephala electra), both for their small numbers and striking appearance. Most of what is known about them has been yielded by a few stranded animals. Melon-headed Whales are easy to identify from their white lips contrasting over a dark background. They tend to flock with other cetaceans of similar size, such as the Fraser’s Dolphin.

Please, bear in mind that…
  • SIGHTINGS ARE NOT GUARANTEED

    We are dealing with wild animals in their habitat

  • NO PAIN NO GAIN

    Be ready for long hours of search. The reward will make it worth.

  • THE SEASON MATTERS

    Not all species are available at all times. Check it out with us first.

  • WE DO NOT FEED ANIMALS

    They are beautiful as they are wild, and we want them to keep being so

  • OUR TRIPS SERVE TO MAKE SCIENCE

    Daily contact with cetaceans is a great opportunity to collect data

  • SWIMMING WITH ANIMALS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED

    It is indeed more dangerous for us than for them

  • DON’T FORGET YOUR SURVIVAL KIT

    Bring sun cream, motion sickness pills, and plenty of water. We will provide some drinks on board but, when it comes to hidration, the more the better. You will not need insect repellent. Swimwear and towels are optional, as long as are to be used at the right time. An don’t forget YOUR CAMERA!

Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris)

Pantropical Spotteed Dolphin (Stenella attenuata)

Fraser’s Dolphin (Legenodelphis hosei)

Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra)

Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)

Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)

Bottlenose Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are, together with Irrawaddy’s, the less nomadic among Palawan’s dolphins. Like them, they are tightly linked to coastal food resources and can often be seen near human settlements. But that is also the reason why they have become rare even in areas where were known to be common in the past. All over their range Bottlenose Dolphins have to compete with humans and are thus subjected to a very high pressure.

The calmed and rich waters of the outer Malampaya Sound are happily an exception to the rule. In Malampaya, where fisherfolks use traditional methods and human population is sparse, Bottlenose Dolphins can still enjoy a diverse and productive marine ecosystem.

Dugongs

The island of Palawan has very rich seagrass meadows which are comprised by up to 8 different species. The list include, among others, Halophila and Halodule spp, two pretty nutritious and low-fibre content species that are favourite forage for Dugongs (Dugong dugon).

Seagrass meadows cover significant areas both in the east and west coast of Taytay Municipality, providing excellent feeding grounds for Dugongs. Despite dugongs visit these sites regularly all throughout the year, they are extremely shy and sights are indeed quite rare.

Dugongs are perhaps the gentler among the gentle giants of the sea. They spend most of their time foraging tons of seagrass from the muddy sea bottom, oblivious to what goes on around them. Unfortunately, with their food source growing only in shallow waters are also frequented by humans, the slow, calm, and pacific giants are easy target for poachers and prone to collide with boats and be harmed by propellers.

Whale Sharks

In the past few years much of the attention has sadly focused on the Philippine Whale Sharks since some “whale watching” companies begun to feed them to attract tourists. This practise, while pretty effective to meet the demand of the most careless side of industry, modifies shark behaviour, stops migration, creates malnutrition and, at the end of the day, sends a wrong message to the public about what wildlife is.

Palawan Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) are still the magnificent nomads that used to be. They show up in the island waters just from time to time, during season, but that’s indeed what makes their sight such a unique and unforgettable experience. The period between May and July is the best time to spot these true giants of the sea in Palawan.

Come

to the Malampaya Sound and get lost in time

Enjoy

whatching the gentle giants the sea

And PROTECT!

With your visit, contribute to protect marine life

Whale watching tour rates
  • Single
  • INSHORE
    TOUR
  • OFFSHORE
    TOUR
  • Single
  • 50 $
    2,500 ₱
  • 70 $
    3,500 ₱
  • Couple
  • 35 $
    1,750 ₱
  • 50 $
    2,500 ₱
  • 3 – 4 pax
  • 25 $
    1,250 ₱
  • 40 $
    2,000 ₱
  • 5 – 6 pax
  • 20 $
    1,000 ₱
  • 35 $
    1,750 ₱
  • 7 – 8 pax
  • 17 $
    850 ₱
  • 30 $
    1,500 ₱
  • Our boat has a limited capacity, we are unable to offer tours for more than 8 pax
  • Meals will be provided on board
  • Marine creatures are best spotted early morning. Tours will typically start at dawn and will depart from Pancol pier
  • Regular tours will end by early afternoon (half day duration). Longer trips will be considered a custom service and thus the above rates will not apply
  • Despite we will conduct a thorough search, wild animals are unpredictable and sights are not guaranteed
  • Customers not being able to spot targets during their first trip will get a 30% discount on each subsequent attempt
  • Approaching trips take long, especially when targeting offshore species. Be ready to sail for hours before you can spot your whale
  • Inner waters of Malampaya Sound are calm, but it is common to get seasick during offshore trips for pelagics. Pills are of great help
  • While our boat is provided with a proper shade roof, bear in mind that just a few minutes of sun exposure in the tropics can cause severe injuries. Do not forget your sun cream
  • NOTE: There are no mosquitoes in the sea
Special RULES AND MEASURES concerning whale watching tours
  • QUALITY OF INTERACTIONS

    Animals shall never be harassed or prosecuted (short, non-disturbing approaches shall be allowed though). In the presence of new-born calves or in case that behavioural signs of stress are detected, interactions shall be cancelled.

  • MINIMUM DISTURBANCE

    Passengers shall keep calm and silent on board and display always a passive behaviour. Interacting directly with animals (e.g. swimming) is strictly prohibited. As far as possible, the boat engine shall be off during encounters.

  • COLLISION PREVENTION

    Boats shall always respect the speed limit, whether during transportation, search or interaction. Unpredictable movements shall be avoided and a safety distance kept.

  • ECO-FRIENDLY NAVIGATION

    Boats operating within Malampaya Sound shall be provided with well-insulated, low-consumption, inboard engines. Outboard engines shall be avoided, as they emit high-frequency waves interfering with cetaceans’ echolocation system.

  • SELF AND EXTERNAL CONTROL

    Both customers and employees shall be aware of the foregoing rules. Any misconduct shall be immediately reported. Customers’ surveillance shall eventually guarantee that the protocol is met.

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