MisOr eyes ‘whale watching’ as new tourism attraction

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Misamis Oriental tourism office is planning to develop “whale watching” as a potential tourism attraction and a preservation effort for the species found in Macajalar Bay.

Jeffrey Saclot, head of the provincial tourism office, said they are now in coordination with the Department of Tourism Region 10 (DOT-10) for the preservation and promotion of whale watching in the province.

Saclot confirmed that the whale species spotted in the vicinity of Salay to Talisayan waters last week was a sperm whale and not whale shark as earlier reported.

“If there’s no holding of the ATOP National Convention in the province last week when several whales spotted in the deep of Macajalar Bay, forces of action could be the focus of tourism players especially in the vicinity of the bay where the sperm whales were spotted,” he said. On October 3-6, the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines (ATOP) held a national convention.

After the meeting with the Misamis Oriental Provincial Tourism Department and DOT-10 Regional Director May Salvana Uchuan, Saclot will invite mayors of towns in the province where sightings of sperm whales and whale sharks had been confirmed.

Saclot added that meetings and dialogues for an assessment, spot visit and workshop on how to promote the sperm whale appearances in the province will also be organized.

He is also promoting dive and aqua tourism in this part of Northern Mindanao.

In a separate interview, Talisayan town Mayor Rommel Maslog reported that his local tourism team would spearhead the tracing of the coordinates and patterns of the whales through global positioning system (GPS).

Maslog said there is an abundance of sperm whale and whale sharks in Misamis Oriental.

He said there are more sperm whales in the province, however, a number of these were found dead in the shorelines of Macajalar Bay, from Cagayan de Oro to the tip of the Bay in Talisayan and up across Camiguin Island.

In February 2018, a 37-foot sperm whale was found dead in the shoreline of Baloy Village here, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) laboratory analyst for Northern Mindanao, John Roy Obsioma, said.

The usual causes of death of these whales are poisoning as a result of swallowing plastic waste materials or a shark attack. (PNA)