June 30, 2017
Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol
Tour Guide: Bernadette Atuel
Location: Lungsodaan (barangay), Candijay (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Google Map: 9°50'41.2"N 124°29'24.4"E
Candijay Tourism was doing a dry-run for a contingent of Japanese guests who will be taking the firefly tour the following day. I was fortunate enough to be invited by tourism officer, Mr. Fred, to join his staff.
I was picked-up by a staff in a motorbike and off we went to the river's edge where the rest of the staff were waiting. Guiding us for the river cruise was the lovely Ms. Bernadette. After a short orientation, we were off on the pumpboat in pitch black condition, illuminated only by a boat crew's flashlight. Ms. Bernadette used the 60-minute cruise talking about fireflies and answering our questions.
The river was winding into a thick mangrove forest. As late as the 70s, crocodiles used to inhabit the river system. Folklore has it that in 1983, during the river feast of Senior San Nicolas, his statue fell overboard. One intrepid local dived into the crocodile infested river and retrieved the statue. Amazingly, after that incident, the crocodiles disappeared. It was not because of poaching or loss of habitat, but because of that incident. The boatman seemed to agree with Ms. Bernadette's story. That's the folklore.
The cruise along the moonlit river was a perfect setting to enjoy the stillness of the night while being mesmerized by a few isolated trees flocked-upon by thousands of fireflies. The trees were reminiscent of Christmas trees. The 'luminescent trees' gave an optical illusion of swaying with no wind as the fireflies turned their lights on-off and hopping from leaf to leaf. It was captivating.
The only thing that took away from the pleasant experience was the pumpboat's loud motor - it simply had no place in such setting. It was hard hearing what Ms. Bernadette was saying and equally as difficult to engage in a conversation. If there was only a way to install a muffler on the exhaust pipe. If this issue is addressed, then I would say the firefly tour is a compelling experience.
There is a charming boat restaurant floating on the boat dock. This would be ideal for romantic dinner after the cruise.
Next stop: Roadtrip from Candijay to Ubay
- Firefly Tour on a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Dec 19, 2017
- Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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