Monthly Archives: March 2012

Donsol Getaway Day 1 – A Date with the Fireflies

As a child, I had been fascinated with fireflies. There was this place along the road in our town where these little creatures would glow in the darkness of night. I loved spotting them amidst the bushes and plants.

When Ate Che was arranging our itinerary to Donsol, I saw that there was Firefly Watching in the list. I was ecstatic! I felt this was going to be one of my most memorable trips ever.

(I’m sorry it took me so long to continue this series as I was forced to concentrate on my acads. I know, school sucks during exams!)

So, let’s go back to Day 1.

After arrival and settling down in our resort, we paid the Donsol Tourist Center a visit to register.

Our first activity: Firefly Watching at Ogod River

At 6pm, we hailed a tricycle and headed to the Ogod River Tourist Center handled by the River Cruise and Firefly Watching Association.. And with much excitement, we climbed the boat assigned to us, together with our tour guide and captain. Alas, once on the boat, the tour guide told us not to expect that much because it was a full moon. The moon was actually so huge that night that it took my breath away. (Aside from sunsets, I also love clouds, stars and the full moons!)

Tip # 1: Make sure not to schedule the Firefly Watching on a full moon.

Look at how bright the moon was that night!

We didn’t have to use a flashlight. The moonlight literally lit up the night sky.

So, I was kind of disappointed… but I was still hopeful we could get a glimpse of those tiny little glowing creatures of the night. And surely, we got what we went there to see – hundreds and hundreds of fireflies crowding the branches of mangroves lining the river. I had but one word to say to the sight before me – AMAZING! The captain took us near the mangroves so we could take a closer look. All I wanted to do at that moment was to catch some and bring them home with me. But, I couldn’t. Because they’d die. So I just feasted my eyes on their bright little lights, savoring that moment with nature and God’s wonderful creations. We cruised the river some more and saw more fireflies along the way. And I was just so happy  I forgot I was tired, hungry and sleepy. I left Ogod River and its fireflies with a smile on my face, praying that both won’t get affected by the continuous development in that area. I hope that when I go back, if I’d have another chance to, the river and its fireflies will still be there, thriving.

Tip #2: If you want to capture your moment with the fireflies on camera, bring a DSLR.

Now, this reminds me of another place teeming with fireflies – San Rafael Farm in Tacloban City, Leyte. They have a tree that turns fairytale-like at night because of the fireflies lighting it up. Make sure to visit this picturesque garden restaurant when you’re in Tacloban and enjoy their great food!

Check out Day 2 of Donsol Getaway here!

P.S. Check out these really cool facts about fireflies:

Fireflies, also called lightning bugs, are neither flies nor bugs – they are actually beetles!

Fireflies can be seen in all continents, except in Antarctica

Fireflies are the world’s most efficient light producers.  All 100% of the energy goes into making light, without generating heat. Now, that’s something we could use to combat global warming!

A firefly spends most of its lifespan as a larva. In the adult form, it survives for a very short span. The main aim of an adult firefly is to find a mate and lay eggs before dying. 

Fireflies produce light for three reasons – attracting mates, warning predators and telling other fireflies of danger.

Head to these sites for more fun facts:

http://www.firefly.org/

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/

But hey, did you know that the population of fireflies is slowly dropping? I, for one, have not seen fireflies in areas where I usually spotted them when I was a child. This is because fireflies are sensitive to disturbances in their habitat. They are usually found in moist environments such as swampy areas, fields, lawns and at the edges of woods or streams, so if we don’t stop cutting down trees everywhere and turning fields and woods into subdivisions, we might not be able to see fireflies in the near future.

So, check out this website for a list of what you can do to help fireflies and prevent them from disappearing.

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Thoughts from the Toilet Bowl

February 20, 2011 ~ 10:30PM ~ Paraclete Renewal Center, Tacloban City, Leyte

Oh, what a great day this has been! I consider myself blessed to be in the midst of amazing and wonderful people. It is just so heartwarming to witness and hear stories of learnings, gratefulness, and transformation… of simple, often unnoticed people taking baby steps to confidence… of life lived well and good… of lost dreams and new ones. I love the delicious food and lovely chit-chats with new acquaintances and most of all the beautiful full moon and night sky full of stars! I truly deeply love this life!

Today, I also learned many things about life from someone who’s living it to the full. I certainly look forward not just to a happy and contented life, but a life of learning from mistakes and wrong turns, of forgotten dreams and new adventures. Best of all, I want to live my life giving glory to the One who created me.

Life is beautiful, if you see it that way. 🙂

Donsol Getaway Day 1 – The Arrival

Summer is here! At least for me and my travel mates. And what better way to kick-off this summer than with a trip to Donsol, Sorsogon to swim with the Butandings (Whale Sharks)!

Donsol Bay is one of the few areas here in the Philippines where Butandings are regularly seen (There are also sightings in Bohol, Palawan, Batangas, Leyte and Mindanao). Accordingly, the peak season for Butanding sightings is February to April. Our scheduled trip was just in time!

Armed with a backpack full of summer clothes for our 5-day trip, I was ready to forget about work and school and just enjoy the sun and the beach!

Day 1. The Arrival

To get to Donsol, you can either: a) take a plane to Legazpi City, then ride a van to Donsol; or b) take a bus straight to Donsol. Good thing we got a Cebu Pacific promo fare from Manila to Legazpi about a month ago so we didn’t have to endure to grueling 12-hour bus ride. We took the first flight at 6:05 am since we wanted to maximize our first day. It was a bit difficult to wake up that early considering I barely slept that night ( barely, meaning 30 minutes). I made it a point to finish my paper for school because I didn’t want to have to think about it or do it while I was on vacation.

Thankfully, our flight didn’t get delayed so we arrived there before 7 am. Sleep deprived that I was the night before, I slept throughout the flight and missed seeing Mt. Mayon from above (which I also missed in my previous travels to Legazpi). But, as I stepped out of the plane, I was refreshed just seeing the majestic Mayon volcano.

One of our travel companions booked for the next flight at 7:55 am so we decided to have breakfast first while waiting for her. The tricycle driver took us to Kim’s Bowl where we had breakfast and coffee.

My first Tocilog during this trip

Sadly, the next flight got delayed by an hour. Finally, after three hours of waiting, we were all set for the 1.5-hour travel to Donsol, Sorsogon. You can take a taxi to Donsol but it’ll cost you a few thousand pesos so best take a van since it only costs P75 each. At about 1pm, we arrived in Donsol. The van even brought the six of us to our resort for only P100. I was so exhausted from the trip that I decided to take a short nap before we started our 1st day activities.

At 3pm, we went to the Donsol Tourism Center to register for our Whaleshark Interaction the next day. A BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) showed us a video orientation about Butandings and the rules in interacting with them.

At the Donsol Tourism Office

As always, I find it super awesome to watch the sun go down by the sea. So, here are some of my sunset shots at Donsol.

We stayed at AGM Beachfront Resort. They have really nice and attentive staff and clean rooms. If you’re looking for a quiet place to stay, this is the right place for you. There’s no TV, no WIFI, no videokes. It’s just you and the beach. Plus, they also organize tours for their guests. I give a thumbs up for Ate Mae and all the staff of AGM.

By 6pm, we headed to the Firefly Watching Tourism Center in Ogod River for our date with the fireflies. Check out my next post to know more about firefly watching in Donsol.

Overall, our first day in Donsol was great! That night, I went to bed looking forward to swimming with the Butandings.

Always The Hero

Check out this inspiring story.

laevateinn

Dens’s heart pounded in his chest as he raced through the streets. The world around him seemed to be concerted in its opposition of his desperate sprint; wind and rain lashed at his face, and a tide of people gushed at him, barring his objective. He bobbed and weaved through the hurried throngs left faceless before images of family and loved ones flashing through his mind. Halfway through dinner, just minutes before, Dens had heard the Cagayan River had swollen to levels that threatened the community at Isla de Oro. Without second thought, Dens dropped everything and rushed for home. Every conceivable obstacle stood before him, and he didn’t know just what he’d find, but Dens was determined to save his family and his young lady friend, Nica.

Adversity has been no stranger to Dens. In his experience, life’s strewn all sorts of obstacles in his path since childhood, though…

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Of March Travels and Sunsets

I haven’t had the time to write about my travels, photos and experiences this month. School requirements has taken its toll on me. Thankfully, next week is already finals week so I’m excited to get back to blogging. For the mean time, let me give you a glimpse of my Donsol-Legazpi trip last weekend.

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