Firefly watching must be one of the most magical experiences given to us by mother nature. Fireflies can be found in tropical climate countries such as the Philippines. They often populate in wet and wooded areas such as mangroves. During twilight, these lightning bugs use bioluminescence to attract mates or prey making a delightful view against the darkness. There’s an enchanted feeling seeing the soft glow of fireflies that will truly warm your heart.
Thank goodness you can go firefly watching in these places in the Philippines:
Iwahig River Firefly Watching
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Photo from ww.kamustamagazine.ph
Aside from the world famous Underground River in Puerto Princesa, you can find another thing to get excited about in the rivers in Palawan. You can visit the Iwahig Firefly Watching Ecotourism and Wildlife Park in Quezon, Palawan for a firefly watching tour. The location is just perfect since it’s 30-45 minutes away from the city and the light pollution.
Photo from http://www.tourism.puertoprincesa.ph
Get closer with nature and enjoy the beautiful flickering lights of the fireflies on a paddle boat ride along the calm river of Iwahig. A paddle boat can carry 3 guests at a time and costs Php 600 inclusive of life jackets and your own boatman guide. The tour lasts for 30 – 45 minutes.
Contact numbers for bookings: 0916 780 9118 / 0929 616 5990
Donsol and Ogod River Firefly Watching
Photo from http://www.sheilapepito.wordpress.com
When visiting the whale sharks in Sorsogon, make sure you also check out the fireflies in Donsol River. As the sun begins to set, you’ll find thousands of fireflies light up flicker around the mangrove trees along Donsol River and one of its arteries, Ogod River. You can book your firefly watching tour in Donsol Tourism Center, where registration for whale shark interaction also takes place.
Photo by David Fleetham from http://www.fleetham.photoshelter.com
Watch the dancing lights of the fireflies brighten up the darkness in the mangroves of Donsol and Ogod River. More than just fireflies, you’ll also find another illuminating attraction in these rivers. The boat movements also activate the planktons’ bioluminescense making the water glow from underneath. A boat ride costs P1,250 and can carry up to 5 visitors maximum.
Abatan River Firefly Watching
Photo by Javi Flores from www.visit.otg
Just when we thought the island province of Bohol has already enough attractions with its beautiful countryside and island attractions, we find another magnificent activity along Abatan River in the municipality of Cortes. The Abatan River Visitor Center is located approximately 6 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City, and the ride will only take about 10-15 minutes.
Photo from http://www.gayatravel.com.my
In Abatan River, there are a couple of options for guests who want to go for a firefly watching tour. Guests can opt to board a 20-person capacity boat called “bandong”. The rate for a group of 6-10 is Php 500 per person, but it can go as low as Php 350 for groups of 16-20 persons. First trip starts at 6:30 pm, next one is at 7:30 pm, and the last one is at 8:30 pm. Tourists can also go firefly watching with a small kayak. Kayak rental is available at the Abatan River Visitor Center.
Contact number for bookings: 0917 010 599
Aside from Palawan, Sorsogon, and Bohol, you can also go for firefly watching tours in a few more places in the Philippines such as Siquijor, Coron, Romblon, and Sibuyan Island. However, these places are less aggressive in promoting their firefly watching tours.
Fireflies are truly enchanting creatures and watching them flock together in their natural habitat, dancing and flickering, is surely one of the most magical experiences you’ll ever try. We’re really blessed to have these lightning bugs around, but it’s also our responsibility to keep them safe with simple precautions. Here are some thing you need to know before going to a firefly watching tour;
- Do not smoke near the fireflies! This will irritate the lightning bugs and will surely make them leave their habitat.
- No flash photography, please! The bright lights will disturb the fireflies and might make them go away. No matter how vibrant they seem, it really is difficult to take good photos of the fireflies. Just leave it at that, cherish the moment and appreciate the beauty of the fireflies.
- Don’t catch and keep them. You may be lucky enough to have a firefly go near you but don’t try to capture them. Just let them live and enjoy their natural habitat.
- Wear mosquito repellent lotion. You’ll be in a dark river for about an hour or so. There may be other insects there that we don’t want lurking around our bodies, don’t we?
Have you tried firefly watching before? Tell us about about your experience!