Firefly watching in Donsol

Trip Start Apr 04, 2009
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Trip End Apr 18, 2009


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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The trip from Legazpi to Donsol was 1.5 hours. The trip was comfortable as the roads were all paved and developed. Arrived at the terminal in Donsol at around 1400. We stayed at Aguluz Homestay, which I learned about via TripAdvisor.com. The place was just walking distance from the terminal, and a 10-minute tricycle ride to the Whale Shark Interaction Tourism Center in Donsol. The rates were pretty good.  We paid 1700pesos/night for the 5 of us. The owner, Marilyn Razo, also offered home-cooked meals for 200/head. Compare that to staying and eating at a resort near the beach. Great savings! Tricycle costs 20pesos/head to the Tourist Center.

After unpacking, we quickly headed out to the tourist center to register for the whale shark interaction tomorrow.  There were tons of information about the activity in the center, and the staff were very courteous and helpful. We were also asked to view a 10-minute video about "what not to do" while interacting with these gentle giants.

The fees were as follows:
Boat rental: 3500pesos for 7 people (We were 5, and there was a French couple who registered around the same time as we did, so it all worked out fine.)
Registration: 100pesos for locals; 300 pesos for foreigners; children under 12 are free.
Snorkeling rentals: 200 for masks, snorkel and fins (I strongly suggest bringing your own equipment).

We were scheduled to start the interaction at 0630 tomorrow.

Since we had the whole afternoon and evening free, we booked a firefly watching tour through Marilyn. The tour costs 1250 pesos, inclusive of everything. This tour is a must-do for visitors in this sleepy town. Well, there was really nothing else to do but this and the whale shark interaction. We sailed along the banks of the Donsol river and patiently waited until it got really dark.  After sailing for about 10 minutes, the trees just started to blink with lights as if you were viewing Christmas trees. It was truly spectacular. I have never seen so many fireflies in my life. The skies above were also glistening with stars. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to capture the fireflies and stars with our cameras.

We got back at the guesthouse at around 2030, where we had a taste of home-cooked Bicol cuisine.

Looking forward to the whale shark interaction tomorrow!
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