The City Government will open new Community-Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites for firefly watching by June this year.
City Tourism Office (CTO) chief Aileen Cynthia Amurao said this is part of the tourism industry expansion program of their office; noting that Puerto Princesa brands itself “the firefly capital of the Philippines.”
“Ito ay pagpapalawig pa rin ng ating turismo dito sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa. Sabihin na nating isang bagong activity at tourist attraction. Sabi ko nga talagang the city can already claim as the firefly capital of the Philippines dahil sa dami ng fireflies all over the city. The presence of fireflies is an indication [na] maganda ‘yong environment,” Amurao said.
The first site will be in Nagsagipi River, which can be found within the boundaries of Barangays Salvacion and Sta. Cruz.
Amurao said that they consider the Nagsagipi area as the “home of the firefly” because it is a rich habitat to these numerous light-flashing insects.
Because of the great number of fireflies in the site, the tour can be done by just walking at the riverside, she said.
“Iyong iba na ayaw nang magbangka, but they have the option na mag-boating, pero ang main activity talaga [dito] is walking tour siya dahil andiyan lang ang mga fireflies and we call it, ‘yong place, as the home of fireflies,” said Amurao.
The other area will be the San Carlos River Cruise in Barangay Bacungan.
Anurao said that they are just waiting for the CBSTs’ exact date for launch.
These new sites will soon be among the other two operating firefly watching tours in the city.
“Dadagdagan natin ng dalawa, magiging apat na, and we are still looking for more sites para i-develop as a destination,” she said.
Meanwhile, Amurao noted that her office is still hoping that the Iwahig River firefly watching tour will soon be revived with the help of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) administration in renewing the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Iwahig Community Eco-Tourism Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ICEMCO) and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
In April, over 60 workers lost their jobs due to the closure of the Iwahig River firefly watching tour, a month after BuCor issued a cease and desist order against ICEMCO that operated the tour within the land under their jurisdiction.