Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello, Palawan! Day 2 (Part 3) - Iwahig Firefly-Watching Ecotourism and Wildlife Park

A rather extended post about fireflies and stars

⇠  DAY 1 |   Day 2 Part 1 Day 2 Part 2  | Day 3 

With more goods bought from Binuatan Creations added to the packs of cashew from the market loaded on our taxicle, we travelled for about 20 minutes from Sta. Monica to the Iwahig Firefly-Watching Ecotourism and Wildlife Park in Iwahig, Puerto Princesa. The Park entrance a few meters off the highway is past the end of the old South Road Bridge that spans the Iwahig River.

Iwahig Firefly-watching and Eco Park Entrance1
Welcome sign looking out to the main road.

The firefly-watching tour at the Eco Park, managed by the Iwahig Community Ecotourism Association, Inc. (ICETA), started in 2008. Established jointly by the ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. through its former Palawan Ecotourism program manager, the late broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega, with the city government of Puerto Princesa and the Tourism Department, this community-led activity received the Gold Award (Ecotourism Project category) from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in 2010. It won the award over 65 other nominees from the Asia-Pacific region.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this evening firefly tour at all—I didn’t know what this first-time visit to Palawan had in store for me either, much less of the Underground River tour scheduled for Day 3 that convinced me to fly there—but anyhow gamely told my companions who had previously been to Puerto Princesa that I was open to doing whatever or be brought to wherever provided some internal matters like meetings or initiating contact with local community networks or groups were dealt with for example, and/or reunions with friends based in the city were done.

With the reunions and brief meetings fulfilled, and some happy shopping by my companions plus key tours of the city accomplished that afternoon and the day before, this firefly tour was, quite surprisingly, to be the highlight of our day. It was, at least, very much of mine.

A game-changer

Since its inception, the term “ecotourism” has often been misappropriated or misconstrued. Anyone with a room to let and a vista to display can claim to provide “ecotourism” experiences as had been mine in previous other instances so I tend to take locations that brand themselves as such with a bit of circumscription.


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