TRAVEL: Firefly-watching on Buhatan River

Features Philippines Aug 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm

1962131_1584101388535870_8986989586423818498_oBy Camille Anne M. Arcilla

THE SIGHT of a swarm of fireflies sparkling in a dark night may seem like a scene from a fantasy movie or one of those teleseryes where the leading lady closes her eyes and whispers her wish on a firefly. But the scene was no fantasy — rather, it was the perfect finale to the first day of a media tour through the Bicol region’s Almasor (Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon).

On a five-day trip hosted by the Tourism Promotions Board, and guided by Donsol Eco Tour, we were brought to the Buhatan River in Sorsogon for an eco-adventure cruise on our first day. We were welcomed upon our arrival by bankeros (boatmen) offering snacks of different types of pili nut — roasted, fresh, candied, and in a variant of polvoron (a powdered milk candy) — and a pitcher of muscovado (raw sugar) and ginger juice. We got on what they called cabanas — floating platforms with comfortable seating under canvas canopies — and met our tour guide for the cruise, Ate Mina of Buhatan Eco-Adventure.

The 3.9-kilometer river was basically unproductive, until people from the community — whose main source of livelihood are farming and fishing — thought of ways to develop it. The river’s waters were cleaned up; the mangroves and other plants by the riverside were maintained.

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