I never thought that touring in Puerto Princesa, Palawan will be that educational. I was in total awe when we had our Iwahig Firefly Watching & Stargazing in Palawan. This was an optional tour in the AirPhil Express Puerto Princesa Adventours. I strongly suggest you take it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll totally remember.
Iwahig Firefly Watching is an ecotourism project between ABS-CBN Foundation and the city government of Puerto Princesa under Mayor Edward Hagedorn. It started October 2008 wherein ABS-CBN gave initial funding. The Puerto Princesa community will then continue on with the project and sustain it.
The goal is conserve the natural resources of the city and provide the community opportunities. At the same time, it offers tourists a unique experience of the wonderful Iwahig river.
As we entered the place, Eric even joked that the lights displayed were fireflies. Well, I almost believed it but they were actually just candles hehehe. The place was very dark at night which is what the place should be as we can’t see the fireflies if the place is well-lit.
The Iwahig River Tour will need us to ride a boat good for 3. Each boat costs Php 600 (good for 3) but if you were coming from somewhere and you would want to experience the food too then you can go for the Php 1,100/person fee which includes transportation via van and dinner 🙂
I still suggest you go for the AirPhil Express promo so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Before we ride on the boat, we were asked to wear life vest and conical hat (cute!).
It was pitch black and I had a hard time taking pictures. Honestly, I decided to stop taking pictures altogether when the 45-minute boat ride started. I just enjoyed each and every minute of the tour.
Seeing the colonies of fireflies was totally astounding! And even in the waters, when you move your fingers, you’ll also see the amazing bio-luminous planktons. It just shows that the environment is clean and not polluted (or else, they wouldn’t be there!).
I listened intently to the boatman who shared so much information about Iwahig River, the fireflies, the stars, the mangroves and the planktons.
The boatmen are volunteers and they do it mainly for charity 🙂 Do you know that they are even trained by experts? You’ll notice it when you get to experience the Iwahig River tour and listen to them. They obviously know what they’re saying and you can feel their passion. They have my respect!
Here are just some of the things that I learned from the awesome Iwahig Firefly Watching and Stargazing tour:
- Fireflies are winged beetles (they are not flies).
- The light of fireflies came from their lower abdomen (not from their tails as shown in movies).
- there are no crocodiles in Iwahig River
- Frogs and Bats are Fireflies’ predators.
- Fireflies cannot hear and make sounds (not scientifically proven but this was an assumption of the volunteers in the Iwahig River project)
- Presence of fireflies and planktons indicates a healthy and thriving ecosystem.
- Fireflies only lives for 2 months.
- Male Fireflies are bigger than female fireflies.
- Male fireflies illuminates stronger showing more power (or more machoness hehe :P).
Iwahig Firefly watching is definitely one of the must do in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. With this experience, I can truly say, WOW Philippines!
Iwahig Firefly Watching, Mangrove Eco Tourism & Wildlife Park
Highway km. 20 Barangay Iwahig Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines