Friday, October 14, 2011

Firefly watching in Puerto Princesa

When you hear the place Palawan, crocodiles and the famous Underground River would normally pop out of your head. While I was doing some research to prepare for our adventure, I happen to come across this activity. I wasn't too thrilled as mosquitoes is what came to mind and the bites we will get .  .  . but answers from my inquiries in forums are saying that we should go for it. Then finally. . .  . our guide has fully convinced me that it is part of the 
"Palawan experience"

From the city, it's 18km to get to Iwahig River. We took a van and we were quick to get there. The road was kinda scary as this is more on the country side where there are very few houses and lots of trees on the sides of a very dark road (they have no lights on the road) We went with 3 other groups so we were all busy talking inside the van just to distract us from scaring each other about white ladies. Of course, the Iwahig Mangrove Eco-tourism & Wildlife Park has electricity and it even has wi-fi access. As soon as it gets dark, the tour starts along the river of Iwahig and their last batch would be around 2:00AM. We were required to register and wear a life vest and a "salakot" (hat) A boat can accommodate 4 people (including the boatman/guide) as long as they are not all too heavy as this is a little boat. It's 600 pesos/boat. Camera flashes are strictly not allowed once the boat moves and leaves the dock. 

Our van driver shared his last words to us which was when we get to the middle part of the river .  .  . we should not panic. As soon as he said that, I panicked silently. It was pitch dark and we were in a tiny boat on a combination of a salt/fresh water .  .  .  . Palawan is known for salt and fresh water crocodiles. Even if our van driver assured us that there aren't any crocs out there. Still, crocs are nocturnal and we couldn't see anything. I couldn't even see our boatman (i was in front and he was at the back) As he paddled the boat, he was telling us about the history, the wonders and jokes about Iwahig river, mangroves, fireflies and other species in that area. After his friendly reminders of what to do and not, he started his spiel and good thing he started with "there are no crocodiles here because the river is 30-40ft deep and crocs can't swim that good in deep waters" Then my heart beat started to slow down and went to it's normal pace. The river is surrounded by mangroves. I don't like them for the only reason that they are not pleasing to the eyes BUT appreciated them after our boatman, Atom shared the knowledge. My heart then changed to a faster beat once again but this time with excitement when I saw what it was like Christmas lights on trees. Left and right, there they were. It was just BEAUTIFUL. We attempted several times but failed to capture these enchanting visions with our cameras without flash. We finally decided that it was just best to enjoy the moment. The moon showed up & we could see it's reflection on the river. It was a romantic view .  .  . a perfect place for love proposals. We inhaled the fresh air .  .  . the freshest ever that I've experienced (good thing there weren't any firefly that I inhaled) The stretch of the river I think was around 4 - 5km but we only went to a kilometer and a half for reasons I cannot remember why (it might be from too much inhaling of fresh air he he) The ride is usually 30 - 45minutes (good thing we didn't have a Dragonboat team paddler) Zero mosquito bites as the river is super clean and the mangroves are very healthy. 

This activity just started 2008 with the discovery and assistance of ABS CBN Foundation Managing Director  and an environment advocate Gina Lopez. Palawan is very rich with a healthy environment and this is one of the many things we should protect from the industrial world. 

I was planing to share more facts on fireflies, mangroves and the rest of the interesting information shared by Atom in this blog. But I think you would enjoy it more when you hear it from the locals and boatmen themselves while you tour on the river. Your senses would be all active as you hear the facts and stories, as you see the luminous fireflies, the beautiful river, the stars and the moon and as you smell the fresh air. I did not activate my sense of touch like attempting to touch  the water hahaha even if crocs can't swim that deep (too much watching of those kinds of movies)  

A picture they say tells a thousand words but this I guess does not apply (aside from that we're not allowed to have camera flashes) I may have shared my wonderful experience here but just like my mission in having this blog (to share and encourage people to try, enjoy and live life), you have got to have this experience. It's worth  more than a picture I assure you.  

I liked mah hat


Too dark to see him. I only saw our boatman, Atom after the ride. 

The boats and the boatmen

with our boatman, Atom
with Ms. Marie (from Manila)....she was one of those who convinced me to do this when I inquired online &  unplanned we met  in PP & did this together

This is the only area where our flashes are allowed .   .   . at the dock area

ha ha ha  .  .   . this is all I got from trying to document the fireflies



Haha! It's alright if you weren't able to capture it with your cam. The actual experience was awesome anyways :)

One of the most awesome experience! It's really awesome to see God's natural Christmas tree! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie - you said it!!! i'll be back on January next year to see it again.

Apple - my christmas gift you will never forget he he he

GbSb - you should! Go na! =)

it only means that you enjoyed the tour and not minding the fact that you weren't able to capture the fireflies. :-)

you just made this reader curious of visiting Palawan won't get disappointed with Palawan! :)

i want to go there and watch those fireflies.

trivias | tourist spots in the philippines

kasama ba yun sa package tour nyo? oh commute lng kyo jan? kelangan b mgpareserve jan like sa ppur?

hi anne. your blogs are very helpful. thank you for sharing them with us. may i know what travel agency did you talk to in all these tours in Palawan? i am interested in trying honda bay tour, El Nido Island hopping tour and Firefly watching. hope you can answer me as soon as possible. thank you! GOD bless you!

Thank you for visiting my site and I'm glad that I'm serving my purpose in being informative. You can contact Ms Tiara 09178094509 or email her at Just tell her you got her information here though I don't really have commissions in promoting her hahahaha You'll be in good hands :)

we rented a van. You can just go there but don't go there na medyo late na

At around what time do u advise na magpunta? Kasi we hve very limited time since 2nights lang kami sa palawan.. Im planning sana na 1st night since 530 ang arrive namin after checking in sa hotel we go straight na sa iwahig river.. My only concern is baka late na kami makapunta dun.. Hanggang ano oras ba sya? Chaka the price is kinda steep pag packages sa hotel ang inavail.. Can u give me some details on around how much magagastos pag hindi package sa hotel ang kinuha. Thanks :)

Hi Paw. The first trip is at 7pm and until 10pm. Rate for boat is 600 pesos and it can have three passengers and one boat man. Van rental is 1300 and trike is 700. You can contact Ms. T a.k.a Tiara of you want a travel agency to work on this or any tours and she can arrange van rentals too. You can ask her if may masasabayan kayo to lessen the cost. 09178094509

Hope this helps.

Post a Comment