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“Donsol Fireflies” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Donsol Firefly Tour

Donsol Firefly Tour
Makati
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Donsol Fireflies”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2013

We went by motorcycle from Manila to Donsol at Christmas, knowing full well that there are no whale sharks at this time of year, but were curious about the mention of a 'firefly spectacle' as a possibility. We had already driven around the entire base of Mount Mayon -possibly the most perfect coned volcano of the 165 volcanoes to be found throughout the Philippines. Early evening after our arrival at a small beach resort near Donsol the 2 of us climbed into a classic small wooden banca with bamboo outriggers on either side for stability, and the little popular inboard Briggs and Stratton engine took us upstream from near the river mouth. The night was moonless and the sky was brim full of hundreds of stars, then all of a sudden from between the twinkling stars shone more yellowish and flashing and swirling lights, and the backdrop on the river banks were rows of shadowy trees, with leaves and branches regularly showing up from the glinting lights that flickered incessantly. Nature had definitively taken centre stage and the incandescent show was in full swing as the fireflies darted every which way. This was the time of year for Christmas trees, but here was a Christmas forest lit in line for as far as the eye could see along both sides of the slow flowing river. As the banca drifted down stream the silence was abeam with light. We could only whisper to each other in this humbling stage, and the purity of the occasion flooded all our senses.
As the inboard engine fired up it seemed intensely out of place, but at least the paddles had carried us out of ear shot from the herding gangs and the massing crowds of fireflies. Nature had won our hearts and as the star filled sky crowded back into focus and we spoke in awe of a truly defining experience, and our insignificant place in the universe was confirmed!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank bunnytannerMakati
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
211 reviews
138 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Excellent way to end the day”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2013

Although it's a pretty quick and uneventful river boat ride, coming alongside a tree full of fireflies that seemed to be dancing was really magical. As most know, there really is only one other thing to do when in Donsol, but since we saw no whale sharks, it was nice to settle for a sure thing. It wasn't as the whole river was lined with the insect, but a half dozen trees glowed like Christmas trees. To me, many seemed to flash in unison. I found it mesmerizing. Don't miss it. It's cheap, quick and easy. Hop a trike and head for the river -- enjoy the light show.

Consider dinner at "Kent's Grill" on the way. Not exactly an extraordinary restaurant, but for this part of the world, it'll do just fine. What made it fun was that it was over water and you can even catch your dinner. I reeled in a "whopping" 700 gr. Lapu-Lapu. While it barely fed us, it was a fun experience -- even if just for the story. All in all though, dinner and some fireflies was a good time.

In the end, there's no reason to skip it.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank Doug H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A nice relaxing experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2013 via mobile

While you shouldn't let your expectations go overboard, the firefly watching is a pretty great experience. We saw several trees on the river bank with what must have been hundreds of fireflies buzzing around. The guide was able to tell a few interesting things while we were enjoying the view. It's really quite beautiful, and with the boat engines off it's a rather peaceful activity.
Note that you shouldn't expect to get good pictures or videos unless you have a good low aperture lens on your camera. (Saw a lot of people struggle to capture anything with regular lenses).

Helpful?
Thank marek_indietraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide
Level Contributor
66 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Cool”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2013

While most people come to Donsol for the Whale Sharks, the firefly tours are a well worthwhile experience too. Your hotel should be able to organize a Tricycle for you to be taken to the wharf. You need to pay for a round trip on the trike as they will wait for you while you are on the boat for over an hour. The trikes should cost you no more than 250 PHP for the round trip. The boat with guides is a separate fee costing 1250 PHP. From there you will cruise down the river until the guides find the trees with clusters of firefly's lighting them up like Christmas tree lights. It's really cool.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Wadstorm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A must!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2013

Great experience! take a tricycle from your hotel after dinner to a "port" on a river where you will get on the boats. around 5 people per boat, you will "cruise" the pitch black river for around 30 minutes. you will come across trees that are lit up and are glowing! beautiful site! pictures will not be able to capture its beauty, you just have to remember it!

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
Thank Ana O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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