There’s no shortage of things to do in Puerto Princesa. With limited time and having done island hopping Tour A and Tour C in El Nido, we decided to skip the Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour and go for the Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour.

To be completely honest, Iwahig Firefly Watching wasn’t on my must-do list during our Palawan trip. What a mistake that would have been!

Be Informed

We availed of the Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour through our hotel. It was great that the tour operator was able to accommodate us despite the short notice. We were picked up from our hotel at around 6 pm.

Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour inclusions:

  • Hotel transfers
  • Plated dinner
  • Transportation to and from Iwahig
  • Entrance fee and boat
  • Tour guide
Starry Sky

Our guide diverts our attention to the night sky as he navigates the dark river.

Using his laser pointer, he tells us about the stars, planets and constellations. Far from any light pollution, it was one of the starriest night sky I’ve seen. The still sky is only disturbed by the occassional falling star.

Glowing River

“Put you hand in the water”, our guide said with a wry smile. With only the moonlight, it’s hard to tell what lurks beneath.

Assuring us it was safe, I slowly and cautiously dipped one hand into the cold water. “Wow!”, I exclaimed. A sentiment echoed by the other two passengers on the boat. When disturbed, the water glows! How could we not have noticed before?!

Our guide explains that the glowing plankton-like organisms thrive in the brackish water. My hand splashing the water as he recites all this. ^_^

Glittering Trees

As our guide paddles farther into the river, we begin to see a few flickers of light. I was giddy and, with some reluctance, finally decided to take my hand out of the water. Later planktons. Later…

As our small outrigger boat turned the bend, we were greeted by a small glittering tree. There they were, the fireflies! Lights flickering as if in synchrony to a tune too magical for our poor human ears.

More pockets of glittering trees break the dark as we glide through the winding river. The tune became a symphony.

Final Thoughts

Since our Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour in Palawan, I’ve been somewhat addicted to firefly watching tours.

The Loay-Loboc River Firefly Tour in Bohol and the Donsol Firefly River Tour in Sorsogon were both amazing, but had their kinks.

The Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour set the bar high with their well-informed guides, and quiet outrigger paddle boats. Telling how the same activity can have a different effect if it’s well thought out.

The starry sky, the glowing river, the glittering trees, and the well executed tour made it a truly magical experience.

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