Destinations, Philippines

Firefly watch in Donsol, Philippines

4 Comments 15 December 2011

Firefly watch in Donsol, Philippines

Even though my bed was looking pretty good after waking up at 4 a.m. on the day of my arrival in Donsol, Philippines, I decided to go on a firefly watch that night. Departing from Amor Farm Beach Resort at 6 p.m. most nights, a bangka boat picks guests up at the beach and sails for about 20 minutes to Donsol River, which runs through Donsol proper.

Along the river we picked up our guide Bernard who knows absolutely everything a human being could possibly know about fireflies. Things like, they’re not actually flies, but beetles. They produce cool light. They mimic each other’s lights. It’s a chemical reaction that causes them to light up. This chemical reaction is done to attract the opposite sex.

Bernard was adorable and every statement he made was followed by, “Mam, you have question for me?” He is by far one of the best people I met in the Philippines.

But back to the actual tour.

It starts out slow. I saw maybe one firefly, then a few in the bushes here and there. Then all of a sudden, I spotted what looked like three Christmas trees situated ahead on the river.

Hundreds of fireflies covered these Indian Almond trees, pulsating light at the same pace. I was living my five-year-old dreams. (I was a professional firefly catcher from five to eight years old. I always dreamed of catching enough to make a lamp for my room. I’m sure you all know how that usually ended.)

Bernard then suggested we look down at the water. That was also flickering with light. He said the flickering came from all the plankton in the water and vast amounts of plankton are why so many whalesharks seem to visit the ocean surrounding Donsol every year. The tiny organisms also glow at night.

He finally advised us to look up. The stars were spectacular.

“Light is the water, light in the sky and light in the trees, ” Bernard said.

The area is so special for wildlife and luckily it has very little light pollution to corrupt such a beautiful view at night.

Firefly watch is an ideal way to end a day in Donsol and one a lot may not think of until visiting the area. It costs P1,250 and departs daily from Amor Farm Beach Resort. Make sure to bring a coat.

Banner photo courtesy of Best of Bicolandia Travel.

Thanks to Amor Farm Beach Resort for supporting my trip to Donsol. As always, all opinions are my own.

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  • http://twitter.com/DTravelsRound Diana Edelman

    I grew up on the east coast of America and every spring was treated to fireflies blinking outside after sunset. We’d run around and chase them, trying to put them in little jars and take them inside with us to keep a little magic once we had to go to bed. It never ended well for the little bugs, but it delighted us as children to have them sparkle in our rooms and be a living nightlight. The ones I saw in Thailand are entirely different than the American counterpart. They are more strobe-like.

  • http://twitter.com/notacheesesteak Mikey

    Whoa very cool.

  • http://www.heelsandwheelsonline.com Bobbi and Ric

    I didn’t get to see any in Thailand :( But I was with you on catching them back in the Northeast. One of my fondest memories growing up was catching fireflies.

  • http://www.heelsandwheelsonline.com Bobbi and Ric

    It was amazing! When will you be on the road again?

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