Donsol: In Pursuit of Adventure
After more or less than half an hour we had finally arrived at the area which seems like to be a pick up / drop off point. Then a guide joined us over. She eventually discussed the bits of the tour, the do’s and don’ts like no flash photography. She also discussed the different stations where the fireflies can be seen.
Donsol River is a 100 kilometer long winding river lined by mangrove forests, coconut trees, and shrubs, and flows out towards Mt Mayon. It has been said that the water and the thriving vegetation in the river makes this the perfect habitat for fireflies.
After a couple of minutes sailing the river, the boat slowly approached one of the area. Then I just saw myself staring at those fireflies dancing in the trees and rippling through the water. There are myriad of them, too bad I couldn’t catch one. 😉
I suddenly remember my childhood days when I was still living in our province. Whenever I see firefly in our yard, I usually chase it until I catch it. Those are the days.
It was too dark, though I could see bushes and mangroves. Only those lovable insects lit the surrounding. I couldn’t help but came into thinking of some scenarios that could happen like what if there’s an alligator in the river, what if there’s a wild animal behind those bushes and trees, what if there’s a crocodile silently watching us then suddenly attack us.
I don’t really like river in general (that’s why I usually walk fast whenever I cross a bridge). Nevertheless, the river tour gave me and my companions amusement as well as calmness and serenity. I couldn’t hear anything but peacefulness.
Here’s my most decent shot of fireflies flying around the trees.
|“Trust me these are fireflies”
There are number of stops to watch those fireflies surrounding the trees. We stopped by some of these areas.
The firefly river tour costs PHP 1,500 good for 5 persons.
After the tour we went to the town proper to look for some cheap restaurants wherein we could have our dinner.
We walked for about 15 minutes to get to the town proper. A kid who we’ve met while we’re walking lead our way for us to get to our destination. 😉
There were a lot of people in the central part of the town. There are night market, small parties and some people who seems to be waiting for something, a show or some sort. We looked if there are still restaurants open but seems like there’s nothing open on this town anymore during that time.
So we just bought some snacks and drinks for us to eat later in our room. We went back to the resort and subsequently had our dinner at their resident restaurant, Siramsana. Certainly, it’s a blessing in disguise that we weren’t able to find an open restaurant in the central town as we were able to taste the food in Siramsana restaurant. Each meals served was outstandingly delicious.
After dinner, we went to our room and had some drinking session. 😉
Whale Shark Watching (Butanding Interaction)
I planned to wake up early the next day so we can eventually have our next activity, Butanding Interaction, early. But blamed it on the alcohol we had last night, I woke up late and I had headache. I woke up around past 9:00 AM; subsequently had our breakfast.
|“Good Morning Donsol!”
By 10:00 AM, we went to the Donsol Tourism office and arranged our Whale Shark Watching Tour. The office is just beside our resort.
You also need snorkeling gear so better bring one. Snorkeling equipments are also available for rent outside the tourism office for PHP 150.00 to PHP 300.00.
The boat is good for 6 excluding the tour staff. If you’re a solo traveler, you can ask assistance at the tourism office to join and share the expenses with other tourists.
We watched the video presentation first about the whale shark before getting into the tour. Whale Shark, Rhincodon Typus, is included in the list of endangered species. This species is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest extant fish species. There are only about 1000 identified Whale Sharks worldwide.
The whale shark interaction in Donsol is strictly for snorkeling activity. I’ve read that scuba diving in Donsol Bay isn’t allowed for safety purposes. It is not recommended to have divers and snorkelers in the same area because the boats are constantly on the move. The tourism office of Donsol set designated area for scuba diving.
After watching the 10-minute video presentation we then went to the shore and boarded to our assigned boat. As we sailed to the sea in quest for this distinct creature, whale shark, our BIO discussed some information about the tour and the whale shark and the do’s and don’ts.
We were told that it has been like six days already since the last sighting of Butanding in the sea. There’s no guarantee that a Butanding could be spotted during the course of out tour but let’s hope for the best. Our group was hoping that we could at least see one.
Here’s our vigilant spotter on the look out for whale shark.