Best time to travel to Philippines

Firefly Watching

Discover natural Christmas trees in mangrove forests


Last updated: by Olha Savych
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The Philippines is one of the best places in the world to go firefly watching. It is home to rare synchronous fireflies that flash in sync with each other, creating incredible night scenes. In the Philippines, you can also observe a unique phenomenon of fireflies glowing on tree branches, turning a jungle into a Christmas wonderland. That unique natural scene occurs not every night and only in some mangrove forests. Even though firefly watching in the Philippines is possible all year round, its peak season falls in December and January. The least favorable time of year is from June to August when the guided firefly watching trips might be canceled due to heavy rains.

Fireflies on Bohol island

On Bohol island, you can choose between a firefly watching boat tour on Abatan and Loboc Rivers, a kayaking trip, or a dinner at a floating restaurant. Kayaking is the most nature-friendly option since motorboats damage the unique river eco-system and cause stress for fireflies. Tours can be arranged in Loay, Cortes, or Maribojoc.

A rare firefly species, Pteroptyx macdermotti, is endemic to area around The Abatan River in eastern Bohol, which makes it an ideal spot to encounter beautiful lightning bugs.

Fireflies on Palawan island

On Palawan Island, the rivers of Sicsican and Iwahig are famous for the abundance of fireflies, occupying mangroves along the banks. Every night, 45-minute watching tours on paddle boats depart from Puerto Princesa.

Fireflies near Donsol, Sorsogon

The Ogod River in Donsol, Sorsogon province, is one more great location with lush mangrove forests serving a perfect habitat for fireflies. Here you can fully enjoy the phenomenon of mangrove Christmas trees during a 4-mi (6-km) trip on the Ogod river that is usually not too busy with tourists.

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