Donsol, in southeast Luzon, is the perfect place to snorkel with whale sharks, otherwise known as butanding. Each year from November to May, possibly the largest school of whale sharks in the world migrates here to feed on the dense concentration of plankton and krill in the area. Donsol's whale shark interaction is strictly regulated to protect the creatures and their natural habitat. They are not captive and are not fed by the local fishermen, so whether they appear or not is pure chance. A small boat takes you out to the bay and spotters cue you to jump in and swim alongside the whale sharks as they begin to near the surface. It’s an incredible experience to be so close to these huge beasts, which are typically four to 12 meters long in Donsol (though residents claim, of course, to have seen larger). They look like spotted submarines, but luckily have a gentle disposition and are surprisingly graceful.