Firefly watching river cruise

Sunset and firefly watching river cruise

I’m starting a new series of short posts about small adventures around the world. My aim: Encourage all of you to go out and try something new. Today’s little adventure is a sunset and firefly watching cruise.

I came across this idea in Sorsogon, a province in Southern Luzon in the Philippines, during my recent blogger trip to the Bicol region. We went on a beautiful evening cruise along the Buhatan river with a stop in a wooden shack on the river for dinner.

The organisers had timed the start of our cruise so that we set off just before sunset. We got into a comfy wooden river cabana, and were served typical Filipino snacks and ice tea. A small motorboat pulled out cabana down the river at a slow pace, allowing us to watch the sunset over the river and the surrounding jungle. Two men from the local community joined our cruise and sang songs accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

local dinner sosrsogon cruise

Dinner was served family style on big platters. We all sat around a wooden table eating fried chicken, prawns, vegetables and rice while watching the moon come up.

On our way back, we got to discover firefly watching. This area is teeming with fireflies (also known as lightning bugs or glowworms), and cruising on the river is the best way to see them. We turned off all our lights on the boat, then slowly cruised back up the river, keeping our eyes on the shore to find fireflies. Whenever we discovered one, we’d all start clapping – the locals assured us it would make the fireflies come out. So our whole group of seven bloggers and our group leaders sat there in our little cabana on the river, clapping at… nothing. It felt quite silly at first, but fireflies did actually come alight! Whole trees were buzzing with hundreds of lights.

As our boat was moving, and so were the fireflies, it was pretty impossible to take any decent photos of them. I recommend the Firefly Experience website for beautiful photos of fireflies in the wild.

Moonrise over river

Adventure: A firefly watching cruise

Thrill level: 2/5
Chill level>> 5/5
Skill level: 1/5 – no skills or fitness needed
Where to do it: Fireflies can be seen all over the world, typically in warm and humid places near water. I tried this little adventure in Sorsogon, Philippines, on the Buhatan river.
Verdict: Worth it! Not the most thrilling experience, but a nice evening out doing something different. I recommend starting early to combine it with a sunset cruise.

Note: I was invited to this cruise by the Philippines Tourism Promotions Board. Opinions, as always, are my own.