Saturday, October 1, 2011

Puerto Princesa: Iwahig Firefly tour

When I went to a vacation or a place, as much as possible I want to try and experience everything the destination have to offer. That is why we almost missed our flight back home, but if you think about the plane fare, accommodation and other expenses, you yourself would want to maximize your limited time.

I once read that effective blogging is writing your experience while it is fresh and having a journal to write down the details is helpful. So did I follow it? Let's just say I just read it recently. :)

Dock area - I am real bad at low light

Last August when we visit Puerto Princesa, I did not missed the chance to experience the now famous Iwahig Firefly Tour. The experience was just amazing that I couldn't just remember the details now. So I just did a bullet points of what I can remember :)

  • The tour cost us Php800 per pax - Transpo, boat and entrance fee
  • It was 45min drive from the city but our driver was just crazy did it with 20mins
  • The docking station is a century old Balete tree
  • The boat can only hold a max of 3 persons + 1 guide, it is mandatory to wear your life vest
  • The ride is more than 3km (back and forth)
  • River is made up of brackish water - my favorite learning - a mixture of fresh and salt water
  • Be prepared for total darkness while cruising the boat. Imagine Lake Placid? And I also asked if there are crocodiles, tour guide says he wouldn't be there if one has ever been seen.
  • It is best to go on a not full moon, because the moonlit interferes with the light of the fireflies
  • Fireflies are bioluminescence - their abdomen light when they breath and it is their way to attract a mate. 
  • Why do they light? Because of the chemical reaction in their bodies, our tour guide gave me the combination of formula but I couldn't remember a thing he said.
  • Fireflies are natural indicators of a healthy environment
  • They are sensitive with red light
  • Fireflies are choosy when it comes to mangroves, they only like a particular specie of mangroves called Nilad. Tour guide says Manila was once full of Nilad mangroves, that is why it was named Maynilad. - Imagine that?
  • Our tour guide, which I also forgot the name, is a volunteer residence from Iwahig. He was really good at giving information and explaining things. His parents are employees in the Iwahig Penal Colony
  • Iwahig Penal Colony is the Alcatraz of the Philippines, but the prisoners are free to roam around.
  • Planktons can also be seen in the river and they lit too, but we were not able to see it because of the rainy weather.

 Yey! I still remember things but next time I want to practice having a travel journal to be more accurate and specific. You see, traveling is one of the best way to learn!

Definitely not a firefly, saw this injured Dragonfly at the inn


  1. Oohh, looks creepy and exciting! Fireflies look magical at night.

  2. You have good memory to remember all those details. amazing! When I went to puerto princesa our time was too short that we missed the chance to do the firefly tour. I'll try it when I get back there. :)

  3. I agree with Josiah, you have a retentive memory which i badly need coz I'm such a slacker in jotting down notes.

  4. plankton in real life! hihi
    you just need to use shutter priority in your cam, have a super steady hand - and youre all set for some good low light shots. =)

  5. Biggest surprise of my last Puerto Princesa trip :D Ang sarap ng hangin tapos ang babait ng mga guide! Ok din mag-propose dun tapos kapag nag-no itulak mo lang LOL kidding :P

    Tsaka oo nga pala, may pogi na boatman dun <3

  6. exciting yung totally dark boating. havent tried this tour yet and based from your experience... i think i need to try this.

    i remember seeing those fireflies in tinglayan and was settled on just one tree.

  7. Cool outline! And the dragonfly, too bad it's injured.

  8. i wanted to try this tour before but i think d xa kaya ng lowly camera ko, or d lang tlga ako marunong mag-adjust ng settings. haha thanks for sharing this. I;m sure this is a great experince indeed. hano ba yan, d pa din kita name-meet! :(

  9. Super memorable and information-heavy ang Iwahig Firefly Tour! But it was one of the most memorable sa PPS. The tour guides really know a lot about fireflies and history ng place. :D

  10. Wow it all sounds magical. Ive been to Coron but Puerto Princesa is definitely on my list.

    And thanks for those infos =)

  11. You don't seem to need a journal. Ang sharp ng memory mo! Kung ako yun, limot ko na ang prices at ang mga distances (I guess I'm not good with numbers). That's why I hardly have hard facts like that sa blog ko. :)

    Biologist ka ba? Dami mo alam about fireflies. Kaw pala ang expert. Learned a lot here. Ang ganda siguro dati ng Manila. Imagine sa gabi aflame with fireflies dahil sa nilad. And I can say I learned it from Tina, the Firefly Expert!!!

  12. @Gay: yes, creepy but super fun! :)

    @Josiah: Hehe, thanks! I listened carefully sa tour guide nmen baka mgp-quiz pg balik eh :)

    @Claire: Hehe, ako din, pero pg-naaliw ako sa facts I tend to remember it all the time

    @Chyng: Hehe, uu nga kulang nlang si spongebob! :) Thanks sa tip! :)

  13. @Mica: Sayang di ko nakita si poging boatman :)

    @Dom: Hehe, it is really a must try! :)

    @Jane: Thanks! Wawa nga ung dragonfly...

    @Gael: Onga eh, practice lang daw accdg to masters of photogs! Onga gusto na kita mmeet idol! :)

    @Rob: Onga eh, ang galing nila. Ok tlga for tourism

    @kristeta: You should try it pg-uwi mu dito sa Pinas :)

    @Aj: Hahaha! Super laftrip yung comment mo! Palitan ko kaya pangalan ng blog ko? Tina the Firefly Expert sounds good! Hehe :) Pero, korek ka, ganda siguro talga ng Manila before with all the fireflies and fresh air!

    I hope to meet you in one of Bagets' gigs! :)

  14. Fireflies!!! I love Fireflies!! we saw fireflies on our trip to Calaguas Islands!! ang ganda ganda nila parang mga Christmas lights at stars na lumilipad!!

  15. Fireflies only appear on a good weather condition. Iwahig in an old cebuano dialect means "light". "Wahig" in bukidnon, a native dialect, means, water.:-).

  16. Hi Joan! Ang ganda talaga nila tignan! :)

    Wow, thanks for the trivia Kuya Bon :)

  17. saya nito Tina! sana magawa namin toh next year. matutuloy na siguro kami ng Puerto Princesa! :D

  18. Ang sharp ng memory mo:) so I guess you wont need a journal:) pero I was really hoping to see a picture of the firefly..sayang naman...

    Tama c Chyng you just need to use shutter priority in your cam, have a super steady hand - and youre all set for some good low light shots.:)

  19. Been singing FIREFLIES by Owl City but haven't seen one in the longest time. A friend went here too last time and she said its a magical place. :)

  20. astig neto.. eto yung super gusto ko ma-try kpag nag palawan ako.. exciting!

  21. we didn't got to try this! waaah! it must have been beautiful!

  22. galing mo tina. maganda din tong bullet points, short notes lang pero full of info! natawa ako kasi iniimagine ko na nagsusulat ka sa journal habang madilim. hehe -- Onga naman Ed, pwede naman pagbalik ng tour. toinks. hehehe.
    excited na ako next year for Puerto Princesa! :D

  23. di namin nasubukan to nung nag pps ulit kami last month, naulan kasi :(

    for my posts, which are usually backlogged by four or five months hehe, i rely heavily on my journal. i just write impressions of the place, not really the full details of the trip since makikita ko naman sa pix ko yun. on the other hand, personal impressions of the place or food, cannot be really seen on photos :)

  24. Sayang di kami nakapunta dito nong nag Palawan kami... :(
    Sana makabalik ako...:)

  25. I want to see how does it looks like with all the twinkling fireflies....

    Maganda siguro no? parang Christmas lage? hehe.. We had in my hometown, a bunch of fireflies surrounding the big tree... It look like a huge Christmas tree!!!

  26. All the pathos and irony of leaving one's youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveller learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time."Cheap Flights to Accra


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