The journey to the firefly site starts at 6 Pm. It is a 25 minutes boat travel from the Puerto Princesa Baywalk. The firefly watching site is at Sicsican river which is at the adjacent north of the island.
There were about more than 20 people on board including all the boat’s crew when we left. It was big enough to accommodate us though.
During the whole trip, we listened to the tour guide talk about fireflies. Interestingly, he seems to know much. He talked non-stop for the rest of the trip in English. He had a few jokes and a Q&A game. There was no moon that night which is good. It is better to watch the fireflies in complete darkness.When we arrived at the site, the boat anchored. We were divided into two groups. The first group where we decided to join in had the firefly tour first. We transferred to a smaller boat that carried us through the sicsican river which is about 3 to 5 meters deep and 20 minutes long. While we were enjoying our firefly watching, the second group was having their dinner.
The firefly watching tour was 40 minutes long – forth and back.
The brackish river is about 10 meters wide and mangrove trees were planted on its banks. It was so nice to see the mangrove trees in the riverbank lit like tall Christmas trees with Christmas lights as we pass. The boat also had a red light that blinks. The purpose of which is to attract the fireflies to illumine themselves in unison. The tour guide seems to know well which trees are most populated with fireflies, and whenever we pass one, the red light blinks and the fireflies, in their proud moment, lit like little white stars scattered all over the leaves of the trees. If all the fireflies along the length of the riverbank will blink at the same time, I believe that it will be enough for us to see the whole landscape.
One of the attractions in the river were the bioluminescent planktons that also illumine when you brush your hand in the surface of the water.
Unfortunately, our camera is no good at almost pitch black environment. Our camera’s best performance setting as well fails to capture the fireflies. Anyway, we took pictures of ourselves and just enjoyed getting surprised by those self-illuminating creatures. I think that it will be a good chance for every couple and families to spend time to talk and bond, and for romantic lovers to propose.
When we returned, the other group has just finished having their dinner. It was now time for ours, and the other group to have their tour.
I was also surprised to see that the crew had transformed the boat into a dining place. It was a seafood dinner – there were shrimps, grilled fish, sweetened eggplant adobo, crabs, bananas etc. The food was delicious. We felt like we were one family feasting at a home cooked meal by our mom and grandma. The servings also were more than enough for us. We were full and satisfied. After the dinner, we still had time to talk – and even found out that half of the people in our group were “balikbayans”.
We finally headed back to the port when the other group came back and settled. It was a half an hour ride and just perfect for a short nap across the Puerto Princesa bay.