16 Apr2013


If these photos don’t convince you to go try and see some whalesharks, I don’t know what will. In September 2011, Mrs. MM and I visited Vancouver, and several wonderful folks and readers of marketmanila, led by bettyq, spent an afternoon and evening with us, showing us around the city and sitting down to a terrific meal that evening. Stewart is also from Vancouver, but was unable to make that dinner, and sent over a stunning pasalubong… a photo of a salmon or huge trout in a river that was amazing. Shot partly underwater and partly above water, with a bit of the shoreline and trees visible, it hangs proudly near my desk today. Many months later, when Stewart emailed to say he was coming to Cebu, specifically to dive and perhaps photograph whalesharks near Moalboal, on the western side of the island, I was hoping to catch up with him. Schedules didn’t cooperate, as I think we were out of the country, but Stewart managed to grab some lechon at the Zubuchon just outside the airport and headed straight to the diving grounds…


After his trip, I asked how it all went and he sent these utterly stunning photos of the whalesharks. I asked his permission to publish them, but never got around to doing that until I rediscovered the photos in my inbox while clearing things out and trying to organize my laptop! I have written about the whalesharks of Oslob before, here, and yes I realize there is some controversy surrounding them, but go to the old posts and comments for my views on that if interested. At any rate, these are fantastic photos of majestic creatures in the wild. Thank you very much Stewart for sharing them with us…


All images are copyrighted to Stewart L. Sy
SLS Photography

Please do NOT use any of these photos without Mr. Sy’s express written permission. Thank you.



  1. ECC says:


    Apr 16, 2013 | 10:38 am


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  3. Dodi says:

    WOW! That’s one huge, majestic fish! Spectacular indeed!

    Apr 16, 2013 | 2:02 pm

  4. blaise says:

    I like the second photo where you can clearly see the eye of the whaleshark.

    Apr 16, 2013 | 3:56 pm

  5. rickyg says:

    Stewie is filipino, migrated to canada after finishing college at dlsu manila. His works has been featured in the vancouver sun. He also has won several photo contests in the past.

    Apr 16, 2013 | 9:13 pm

  6. Lissa says:


    Apr 16, 2013 | 9:32 pm

  7. anonymous paul says:

    whoa. always wanted to do this. but unsure how i would feel treading in open water with a colossal fish in front of me. still in my to do list.

    Apr 16, 2013 | 9:46 pm

  8. Chinky says:

    My first whale shark sighting was in Tubbataha Reef’s shark airport! Beautiful large creature.

    Haven’t been to Oslob yet but have had interactions with the whale sharks in Donsol. From what I have read, Oslob’s local government can take a few lessons from Donsol.

    Beautiful photos!

    Apr 16, 2013 | 10:18 pm

  9. EbbaBlue says:

    Ganda, medio lang takot ako.

    Apr 16, 2013 | 11:15 pm

  10. Cora says:

    Great shot! Thank you for posting and sharing SLS Photography. I like the third frame.

    Apr 16, 2013 | 11:33 pm

  11. marilen says:

    Beautiful!! Thank you for posting. I have always in awe of these magnificent creatures!

    Apr 16, 2013 | 11:46 pm

  12. Stewart says:

    Hi MM,

    Oh wow! What a pleasant surprise! I had forgotten about these! =) Thanks for all the kind words. I shall be heading back to Cebu next year with another group to dive with the Thresher Sharks of Malapascua, so a visit to Zubuchon will again be in order! MM, I’ll be sending you an email for some advice shortly.

    Kuya Ricky! Long time no see. =)

    For those who’d like to see the photo that I gave MM, it’s at this link:


    It’s a photograph of Spawing Sockeye Salmon taken in appropriately enough, Salmon Arm, British Columbia, this was a record setting run of approximately 35 MILLION fish going through the Adams River.



    Apr 17, 2013 | 12:52 am

  13. La Emperor says:

    They are beautiful gentle creatures but their size can be intimidating. I had the luxury of visiting Oslob with wife and my teens, snorkeling with the “beast”. And of course I was inspired by MM’s blog entry on the butandings.

    Would not expect anything less from Stewart’s photos. Spectacular indeed!

    Apr 17, 2013 | 1:44 am

  14. Stewart says:

    La Emperor,

    Thanks! =) BTW, the Oslob sharks are juveniles! These guys grow upwards for 40 feet!


    Apr 17, 2013 | 2:23 am

  15. Ted says:

    Spectacular photos indeed. Thank You Mr. Sy for sharing them.

    Apr 17, 2013 | 4:39 am

  16. Fred says:

    Channeling Augusto with that caption. LOL. Very nice looking fishies you got there.

    Apr 17, 2013 | 6:17 am

  17. nessa says:

    Stewart, the photos are amazing! What underwater camera do you use?

    Apr 17, 2013 | 7:56 am

  18. natie says:

    “The Lord God made them all”…Thank you for sharing, MM.. Magnificent indeed!

    Apr 17, 2013 | 8:50 am

  19. Stewart says:

    Hi Nessa

    Thanks for your interest. I used the Canon 7D in an Aquatica underwater housing and the Tokina 10-17mm zoom lens. You can see it here:


    I’m also the dealer for Aquatica housings in both Vancouver and the Philippines. ;-)


    Apr 17, 2013 | 11:36 am

  20. Ley says:

    Amazing photos! By the way MM, last Monday I tried your boneless lechon sandwich at the Mactan pre-departure area. Yummy!

    Apr 17, 2013 | 12:29 pm

  21. Monique says:

    These are really amazing and beautiful pictures. I have not seen them in Oslob but had encounters with these whale sharks in Leyte and Donsol. After seeing this I will definitely make an effort to go. What months were these pictures taken? The last time i went diving in Malapascua for Thresher sharks was in January. I wonder if this could be a good month to hit Oslob as well?

    Apr 17, 2013 | 5:41 pm

  22. Monique says:

    Stewart would you also carry housing for the Canon 5D Mark 11?

    Apr 17, 2013 | 5:42 pm

  23. Stewart says:

    Hi Monique,

    Thanks! These were taken in June of last year, but from what I gather, the sharks are there year round. The only time the disappeared was when there was a typhoon. Warmer months would likely lead to clearer water and nicer photos. I’ve sent you an email about your 2nd inquiry.



    Apr 18, 2013 | 12:22 am

  24. Slightly Epicurean says:

    Beautiful photos! My only encounter with a whale shark was at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. I hope I can go to Donsol sometime so I can meet these whale sharks face to face without a glass between us.

    Apr 18, 2013 | 12:11 pm

  25. bagito says:

    Breathtaking pics!

    Apr 19, 2013 | 12:15 pm

  26. Fards says:

    Beautiful!!, Thanks, for sharing.

    Apr 21, 2013 | 3:19 pm

  27. kristin says:

    love these,thank you for sharing…hope to be home soon and could be in the water again…dreamin’again..

    Apr 22, 2013 | 11:02 pm

  28. Lynne-Enroute.com says:

    I’d go back to Oslob in a heartbeat. Watching the shark pups feed is actually on of the highlights when we stayed in Sumilon Island.

    It is actually unfortunate that the town doesn’t get as much tourists now as before because of unsupported claims that what they are doing is detrimental to the sharks. If the shark feeding program has no effect on their behavior and gives enough livelihood to the folks there where they are not able to send their kids to school comfortably, I’m all for that.

    P.S. : Talking to one of the Oslob folks, the urban legend about the shark feeding began when one of the fisherfolk met a Korean diver who paid top money to bring him to the whale shark site. And the boatman started earning so much to the point he was the talk of the town due to his 32″ flatscreen TV. So one time they got him drunk and disclosed how he was earning more from showing the sharks instead of fishing, and the rest was history.

    (One thing noted from the story was how things were before whale shark watching was the main industry: Back then since the time they established their barangay near the coast, the whale sharks were considered nuisances that ate their catch. They would even hit them with paddles to shoo them away before!)

    May 4, 2013 | 3:34 pm


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