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Firefly watching: Donsol’s newest attraction
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2004-05-20
Aside from interaction with the world’s biggest fish — the “butanding” (whale shark), Donsol now boasts of an added attraction that will surely fascinate both young and old.

In the river of Donsol in Sorsogon is a long stretch of rich vegetation of mangroves, coconut and local shrubs said to be perfect haven for Pyractomena borealis or commonly known as “firefly”.

Firefly watching is a new attraction in Donsol and now made part of the “must-see” sites while in the province. In recent months, these have attracted visitors from the locality and other regions. Boating tours have been organized along the Donsol River.

Highest species diversity of fireflies are said to be found in tropical Asia, mostly around water systems such as ponds, streams, marshes or even depressions and ditches. Hundreds of these light bugs are found rampant along Donsol River.

Fireflies are not really “flies” as entomologists know them, but are actually beetles from the family lampyridae. With their bioluminescent character or their capacity to emit flashing lights through their bodies, they are also called the “light bugs”.

Since the tour was created, influx of tourists interested in firefly tours has already increased considerably that a group of “bangkeros” has been organized by the tourism office to take charge in offering guided tours of the firefly sanctuary.

Local fisherfolks were tapped to take lead in these tours. With a very minimal boat fee rental, one will be able to avail of a guided bangka tour of the sanctuary and enjoy the scenic view of countless numbers of fireflies along the river at night.

A local fisherfolk and now official bangkero, Mang Vicente Marciliano, said that the earnings he gets from the guided tours provide his family additional daily income.

Barely operational for four months, the influx of tourists availing of the tour has already increased. Mang Vicente quipped that every night he would have at least one tourist to bring to the firefly sanctuary.

Donsol Tourism Officer Buboy Capobres said that the firefly watching has increased the income of local fisher folks in the area. “Tourism really means job” said Capobres who is also in-charge of organizing butanding whale watching tours.

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Roberto Pagdanganan has already ordered the Regional Tourism Office to improve infrastructures in the area to further enhance the said tours.

The tour of the sanctuary stretches along Sorsogon’s biggest river and covers several barangays in the municipality. Barangays Gerawan, Dangkalan and Tupas are considered the best sites for firefly watching.

For those interested, please contact the DoT Region V Office at (052) 4820712.

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