The Firefly Watch was one of the 4-tours included in our Villa Saturnina vacation package, and I would say one of our most memorable experiences in PP. Coming from an elegant dinner in one of the bigger hotels (a welcome inclusion in this tour), we proceeded to the site in Iwahig.
It was pitch-black when we arrived, which wasn’t exactly ‘friendly’ to this flat-footed trip-prone grandma with poor eyesight - the path leading to the Registration and waiting areas was rather stoney and uneven with occasional up and down steps, and just when I was about to blurb out a few invectives why they have to create such drama at my expense, we were informed that there was a power outage in the area, thus this darkness. (Sorry guys for misjudging you…).
This served us well, because in complete darkness, coupled with a moonless and cloudless night, the fireflies were simply glorious! In between the ‘lights show’ (only fruit trees have fireflies) we got to see the galaxies right before our very own eyes in 3-D vision, gosh I’ve never seen so many stars (and some planets) in my life. Now I can honestly say I’ve seen Jupiter and Mars. (At least that’s what the boatman says while pointing at ‘em through his laser beam, and for the moment I believed him). Maybe, given this romantic atmosphere and if I were younger, I’d probably gently hold my partner’s hand while stargazing – but I can imagine a look of horror of my husband if I tried doing that! Next came the ‘water magic show’ – our guide told me to put my hands in the waters… this was kinda scary, what if a crocodile suddenly snaps my hand off… but then again in full trust of the guide, I did – and what an awesome sight! As you touch the waters, planktons radiated a magical luminous glow like you’ve never seen before. And so what if there were unfriendly creatures down there my hand was stuck in the waters the whole time!
The tour only took all of 45 minutes, but I consider this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t think I’d go back there again – but I guess it’s one of those memories which connects you with the earth, its creatures, and God’s beautiful creations – and deepens our relationship to ourselves in the process. I would hope everyone going to PP would always consider taking this tour. Aside from the beautiful experience, you would, at the same time, provide livelihood for the community.
My advice : 1.) A DIY tour may be perfect for adventurous young people used to travelling on backpack because it will save you a lot of money. But if you’re a tourist or a ‘Jr.’ citizen like me who wants a stress-free life, it’s better to take a guided tour. You will have to add a few more bucks and you’re spending for dinner anyway, but at least you’ll feel safer and taken-cared of. The roads leading to the sight is quite dark and deserted and far from the city proper - I wouldn’t cherish the thought of a flat tire or a trike motor breakdown along the way! In fact we encountered an overturned van on our way to the sight, I am still wondering how the driver got help. ; 2.) It is advisable to bring a flashlight if you’re taking this tour. I hoped I had one, cuz the fireflies will not be lighting you way…
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