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Monday, May 27, 2024

Help for Butanding caretakers sought

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By Scottie Efondo

They guide interactions between humans and whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon to ensure the experience is safe even for those who do not know how to swim.

BIOs guide a tourist during an interaction with a butanding. (Photo from WWF-Philippines)

They act as guides and lifeguards for this extraordinary meet-up with such fantastic animals that Filipinos call butanding.

They help protect the environment to ensure these special animals are not harmed and the waters where the butandings visit are kept clean.

They are called the Butanding Interaction Officers, or BIOs.

They are the frontliners of Donsol’s whale shark tourism, acting as both tour guides and lifeguards.

As long as the whale sharks regularly visit the waters of Donsol, the BIOs will continue to protect the butandings and the environment.

But they too need help at this time due the effects of covid-19 on many aspects of the Filipinos’ life.

The thriving months for tourism — March and April—were turned into periods of quarantine. This adversely affected not only the whale shark tourism operations but the entire economy of the Donsol community.

A BIO holds a butanding baby. (Photo from WWF-Philippines)

There are around 40-50 BIOs in Donsol, and their livelihood has been severely affected by the pandemic.

Due to lack of income in the tourism industry, they have been struggling to feed their families and to provide for their basic needs.

To help them, the De La Salle University – Dasmariñas Chorale launched #Conservatunes: Livestream Fundraising Concert for the Environment!  in partnership with WWF-Philippines last June  22 . They hope to raise funds to provide food assistance and livelihood equipment to help 200 families in Donsol and the 50 whale shark protectors.

The online (Facebook) concert was aired and will be aired 5-6 pm and 8-9 p.m. every day until June 30.

The De La Salle University – Dasmariñas Chorale is composed of students from different colleges who strive to promote appreciation for choral music, and to uphold Filipino faith and culture. The choir aims to guide its members in their personal formation towards becoming people who fully live by the Lasallian core values of faith, zeal in service and communion in mission

To help the Butanding caretakers:

Step 1- Go to "simply giving fund raising" site by clicking this link:

Step 2- Click "Donate Now" button below the screen.

Step 3- Fill up the form.

Step 4- Once finished, click the "Donate Now" button again to proceed and wait for your confirmation slip.

You can also use debit/credit card or paypal to donate via Simply Giving.

You may also donate thru GCASH using Bank Transfer to the following bank accounts:


Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas Foundation, Inc.

Account Number: 004210003967


Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas Foundation, Inc.

Account Number: 1993053194

Email your transaction confirmation at and to receive updates regarding the campaign.




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