Have you ever seen a firefly?
Because I grew up in a place with lots of trees, fireflies are not alien to me. However, because of the continuing invasion of man into their natural habitat, fireflies are being driven out and are being forced to look for other habitats more suitable for their mating rituals, such as river banks far away from urban cities. Much like the Abatan River in Bohol.
According to the NGO Coordinator of this tour, Ms. Dijhay Pilayre, the Abatan River Life Tour is now a new destination which offers an activity-filled river tour that touches on five (5) municipalities and goes up to about 14 kilometers. There is a lunch at one (on land), an activity park at another, and numerous mediums of cultural exposure to observe and try out, like basket-making (Bohol’s main product). And of course, the Firefly Tour, which is done at night, obviously.
We start at the Abatan Main Visitor Center, located in Cortes, a few kilometers north of Tagbilaran. Once we are settled into our native boat, called a “bandong”, our tour guide tells the story of the Abatan River and the fireflies over the din of the boat’s engine. About 5 minutes later, we are entertained by our first view of the fireflies — a tree canopy head covered by swarming, throbbing, dancing white lights. All along the river, we are caught by these sights, sometimes just one tree, sometimes two. But the peak of the tour is when we come upon three heads, alight with bright blinking white lights, switching on and off, almost in unison, making it look like they were dancing to the beat of music only they could hear.