This wasn’t the first time I’ve been to Donsol. The last time we went home to my parent’s hometown, my dad decided to have a road trip around Bicol and see various towns. One of them was Donsol.
I remember that long drive from Bulusan to Donsol. It’s weird having to pass through Legaspi first before heading back to Sorsogon. It was a long and winding road up and down the mountains. Like most drives in the Bicol region, this is really nothing new. I remember the roads being smooth in some areas, and unpaved in some. Back in 2002, they were just starting to promote the Butanding experience.
Going back in 2008, I was able to recognize some of the landmarks we saw during our previous trip. Unlike before when the roads weren’t totally paved yet, the road to Donsol was smooth concrete, stopping just past the Tourist Centre. And unlike before when we literally just stopped to look at the sea, this time I’m going out to sea.
Another landmark I recognized was the resort we went to before. I never did remember the name, but I remembered how it looked like. It turns out that Amor Farm Beach Resort was the same resort we went to five years ago. The paper mache butanding was gone, and so was the purple potted sili plant, but the basketball court was still there. Right then and there, I felt at home. This is Bicol, after all.
Welcome to red hot Bicol. There was this guy who ordered a bowl of pancit and specifically asked the girl behind the counter to put in 5 pieces of sili. I can’t even imagine eating one, let alone 5!
We arrived late in the afternoon, just in time to sign up for a Firefly tour. The firefly tour is basically just a boat ride up the river to gawk at the fireflies. One boat can hold up to 5 passengers (excluding the boatmen), and costs Php1,100 per boat (depending on the resort). Agnes, our contact person, told us that there are three guests who are joining the tour. Would we like to join them to complete the 5? Owen and I jumped on this opportunity, since it can get pretty expensive if it was just the two of us.
I wasn’t really expecting much from the tour. I was looking forward more to the opportunity to relax, away from the noise and the lights of the city. We went out just after sundown and it was pitch black when we got to the river. As we puttered up the river, one or two fireflies whizzed past out heads. I was thinking there would just be fireflies flying around us, and that would be it. I never expected that there would be hundreds of them congregated in the trees around the river.
This is what’s missing in Australia. Rice paddies and coconut trees. There were green areas in Australia, but their green is dull, unlike this vibrant green the Philippines had.
It was an amazing sight. The tree looked like it was covered in hundreds of twinkling fairy lights. And it wasn’t just one tree, there were several. After several minutes staring in awe at this spectacular display, we headed back to Amor, just in time for dinner.
We had dinner with Tanja, a German on her last leg of her 5 month South East Asian trip. We talked about places we’ve been to and places we want to go to. It was great to be talking to people who have the same passion for traveling as I do. We adjourned at 11pm, because the staff were closing the restaurant. Besides, we have an early morning the following day.