You probably have heard about CWC…

No?

If not, then let me share this post with you.

CWC stands for CamSur Watersports Complex – a fast-rising tourist destination in the heart of Bicol. Okay, CamSur is Camarines Sur ;)

Our first time to visit the watersports complex was in August 2007. Three years back. It was but a brief half-day tour for lunch, and a tour-demo of its wakeboarding facilities.

Impressive, no doubt.

Then last week of August this year, we found ourselves back at the complex – this time, staying there for 4D/3N. ;)

But we were out during the day (to Naga, Legazpi, Iriga, etc – another story) and only came back at the end of each day! :( Hence the photos shown here were all taken at low light :(

Anyway…

Camsur Watersports Complex, dubbed as “The Best Cable Park in the World,” is a unique watersports park designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating and waterskiing.

Local authorities are quick to claim it is now “the number 1 most-visited tourist destination in the Philippines!”

CWC offers a 6-point cable ski system which pulls riders at variable speeds around a huge man-made lagoon filled with the latest ramp “obstacles” of the sport.

They say it’s a take-off from an Australian inventor who sold the idea and had it materialized in the Philippines.

And they say it’s the biggest in Southeast Asia!

While CWC has various watersports facilities around the complex, it is the wakeboarding area or cable ski park which is the main attraction – for beginners to professional wakeboarders and skiers who visit it from all over the world.

The best riders (wakeboarders and wakeskaters) from all over go to CWC to ride, compete and party!

The cable park is well-lighted at night allowing riders to enjoy their favorite water sports until 9PM. Bars and cafes are open till 12MN. ;)

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Even ships that pass in the night end up somewhere in due time.

As the song goes… all things must pass… boats and ships included.

Each of them, I’m pretty sure, has her own story to tell…

Photos taken in Marabut & Calbayog City, Samar; Ubay, Bohol; Mactan Channel, Cebu City and in Tacloban City.

View high-resolution photo slideshow: http://gerryruiz.callezaragosa.com/p203077613/slideshow

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Much has been written about the success story of Donsol, Sorsogon and its transformation from being a sleepy, rustic, 5th Class municipality to its current 1st Class stature since the discovery of hundreds of whale sharks or butanding congregating in its murky but food-rich bay.

Donsol now stands proudly as the site with the largest number of recorded sightings of whale sharks anywhere in the world. It has become a world-class tourist destination and is now known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World”. Their presence has become a major income generator, as thousands arrive each season to swim and witness the friendly behavior of these giant fish.

Donsol’s local residents have long known about the presence of the butandings in their area for over 100 years. The locals believed, however, that the butanding sharks were dangerous. This all changed in 1998 when a group of divers came in contact with them where their interaction with the gentle giants was documented and publicized by the media and got the attention of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment.

The Whale Shark (scientific name: Rhincodon Typus) is considered the biggest fish in the world and is included in the list of endangered species, with only about 1,000 identified worldwide. (For those not in the know, the huge and enormous blue whale is a mammal, not a fish.) Butandings seen in Donsol measure from 3 meters to as long as 10 meters (15 ft. – 40 ft.) in length and weigh up to 40 tons. The butanding has leathery grayish brown skin with silvery polka dots all over its huge body. They feed only on plankton and krill and are harmless and gentle, allowing humans to swim alongside with them.

Whale sharks are migratory and are found in warm tropical waters as they follow their food supply. They have been observed to converge in vast numbers off plankton-rich waters of Donsol starting in October and November and peaks in the months of February to May. After this time, they move on to other areas.

In Eastern Visayas, sightings of butandings have been reported in Pintuyan, Southern Leyte and in Dulag, Leyte.

Interaction with the whale sharks at Donsol is regulated by a triumvirate group – the Donsol Local Government Unit, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and WWF-Philippines. WWF guidelines are generally observed which are intended to maintain safety and to defend the creatures from over exploitation.

Rules include limiting number of motorized bancas to one boat per butanding, the number of swimmers per boat to six, and no scuba divers and flash photography allowed.

The swimming interaction is simple: a group of six hires a boat (this includes a swimmer guide, a spotter and banca operators), the group finds a shark and slips into the water alongside the creature. Snorkeling gear are available for rent.

We went to Donsol, Sorosogon March 16-18, 2010. It was an experience for a lifetime.

The banca trip is a mere 10-minuter ride from the beach. Once the spotter spots a butanding, the boat maneuvers near it and swimmers, led by the guide, slip into the water and swim towards the fish.

The first time you see the giant creature, one naturally freezes. Your instinct forces you to push away to safer distance. But after recovering from the initial shock, you get by and start to marvel at the butanding’s enormous size and natural beauty.

It’s one truly awesome and memorable experience, guaranteed to last over a lifetime.

Thanks to DOT Regional Offices  No. 8 (Eastern Visayas) and No. 5 (Bicol), Regional Development Council for Region 8, Donsol LGU, and to our guide – the best of them – Allan. Salamat sa lahat!

View more photos and slideshow: http://gerryruiz.callezaragosa.com/p435649078

Gae Samson

Ludette Ruiz

Peace!

Gae Samson & Ludette Ruiz

Ludette & Gae

View more photos and slideshow: http://gerryruiz.callezaragosa.com/p435649078

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This is an attempt to post a video here at the new photoblog site. Let’s see if it works. ;)

Hey! It does work! Yehey! (I could not embed videos at gerryruiz photoblog Part I, due to some site restrictions. )

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