Fireflies: Reminiscing Kenshin and Kaoru

Puerto Princesa, Palawan is not just about the beaches. Situated about less than an hour from the heart of the city is a kingdom of bioluminescent insects in a place called Iwahig.

And to update my post about it, which I originally wrote in 2014, the Kenshin-Kaoru firefly scene has been slashed from the live-action movie of Rurouni Kenshin. For those who are interested to read my review of Kyoto Inferno, you can access it in this link.

iwahig river fireflies puerto princesa palawa philippines

A wall decor at the headquarters of Iwahig River. Photo by Nessa Gabrillo.

The Viewfinder

Article 2 of the Palawan Chronicles

Palawan Day 1: Iwahig Fireflies


It was 4:00 in the afternoon. After deciding to stay in Puerto Princesa for the night, Nessa and I checked in at a lodge near the airport and walked around the area.

We met a trike driver who offered a price lower than the normal rates of Puerto Princesa tours. So we decided to take the firefly watching tour.

Iwahig was a long drive from the center of the city. And we became feast to the hungry mosquitoes when we came to Iwahig River.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

There was a fee of 600 for boat rental, which can accommodate 3 people.

And our tour started, this tour of firsts.

It was my first time to ride a katig boat so I was a bit nervous. It was this narrow boat with wooden balances at the sides, known as…

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The Red Dot Airline: A Blessing in Disguise

As I am patiently waiting for my next trip, let me share to you once again the series of posts I made during our Palawan trip. I already shared one a few days ago. I now present to you Article 1 of 7.

The Viewfinder

Article 1 of the Palawan Chronicles

Palawan Day 1: Puerto Prinsesa


Sleep. Even on a vacation, I am in need of sleep.

I ended the Christmas Day of 2013 with a nap at 11:30 in the evening. I woke up at 1:00 in the morning of the 26th to prepare for my trip from Bataan to Manila. At 2:00, my uncle brought me and a cousin to the bus terminal. And by 2:30, the bus was driving to the city while everybody was asleep.

And surprisingly, I was able to reach Munoz, Quezon City at 4:00 in the morning. And at 4:30, I safely returned to my apartment in Novaliches.

I packed my bags and by 7:00 I was already on my way to the airport. At 7:45 in the morning, I was battling with myself if the exaggeratedly long line in MRT North Avenue could get me any nearer…

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Palawan’s Gods and Goddesses

Article 3 of The Palawan Chronicles


Palawan Day 2: El Nido, A Whole New Adventure


After being inspired by the stars and the fireflies, all you would want to do was to let the creativity flow out of your system.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

And so that night, we were in the mood for art.

Your color palette for tonight's art session. A photo by Johnessa Gabrillo.

Your color palette for tonight’s art session. A photo by Johnessa Gabrillo.

With a serenade in the background, Gypsy’s offers a soothing ambience, ready to bring out the artistE (emphasizing the ‘E’) in you.

I would love to try their coffee. But it was a tiring day, and I preferred sleep than a stimulant. I had green tea instead.

And what’s an art cafe without works of passion?

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

There was another Doll Installation Art work there.  And it was just a masterpiece.  I won’t post a photo. Just see it for yourself. 🙂

Reading a book? No. I'm checking our bill. Photo by Nessa Gabrillo.

Reading a book? No. I’m checking our bill.

We returned to the lodge at 10:30 in the evening, packed our bags and rested for an early trip the next day.


I first heard the name El Nido when I was a kid, in a Play Station 1 game entitled Chrono Cross.  And the mystery of the game seemed to embody the real town.

El Nido is a six-hour drive from Puerto Princesa. So we left the capital city with Tito Bong’s red car at 3:00 the next morning.

Oliver was our driver for that morning. And he seemed to be Paul Walker’s substitute for the next Fast and the Furious movie. He really knew the tricks of how to make your car fly, literally. Nonetheless, I was able to close my eyes and rest my mind for the first few hours of the trip.

I woke up at 5:45 in the morning and this was what I saw outside my window, a first glimpse of Palawan’s Sun God.

We had a stop-over at the bus terminal in Roxas to have some hot early meal.

The Sun God kept us company as we hit the road again.  Along San Vicente, the town after Roxas, the Fog Nymph started to play with us, diffusing all the light coming from the Sun God.  She was so enthusiastic that she turned the picture into an image of the Moon Deity.

It's morning.  Sun or Moon?

It’s morning. Sun or Moon?

Meanwhile, it seemed that the Sun God had also drained my energy away so I took a nap.

And when I woke up again, Oliver was asking if we were taking the right way because we are already in here:

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Who would have guessed that we were just in Taytay… Palawan, I mean?
Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

The Fort of Taytay was built in 1667 to serve as defense for pirates that Spaniards call Filipinos.
 
 
Getting to the red car again, one would know if he or she was approaching El Nido when the rocky dirt road waved “hello”.
And finally, after another hour from Taytay, we came to El Nido.  And the Rain Goddess readily greeted us.
"Hello!" says the Rain Goddess

“Hello!” says the Rain Goddess

But she never stopped the Pinoy Explorer blood in us.  Yan, another friend of Nessa’s, a son of Tito Bong’s, said that the waves were too strong to swim that day.  So we decided to visit the River Spirit.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

And then we found the first pusong bato of Palawan.
Nessa's Pusong Bato

Nessa’s Pusong Bato

It was still raining but I heard the God of the Sea calling my name.
"Yes, my dearest God of the Sea, how can I help you?"

“Yes, my dearest God of the Sea, how can I help you?”

He enjoyed my company and even danced with me.
Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

The same reason maybe why the Rain Goddess was still with us.  She seemed to be jealous of two city fairies that came to pay tribute to the Great Gods of El Nido.

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Article 2 of the Palawan Chronicles – Iwahig Fireflies: Reminiscing Kenshin and Kaoru


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Fireflies: Reminiscing Kenshin and Kaoru

Article 2 of the Palawan Chronicles

Palawan Day 1: Iwahig Fireflies


It was 4:00 in the afternoon. After deciding to stay in Puerto Princesa for the night, Nessa and I checked in at a lodge near the airport and walked around the area.

We met a trike driver who offered a price lower than the normal rates of Puerto Princesa tours. So we decided to take the firefly watching tour.

Iwahig was a long drive from the center of the city. And we became feast to the hungry mosquitoes when we came to Iwahig River.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

There was a fee of 600 for boat rental, which can accommodate 3 people.

And our tour started, this tour of firsts.

It was my first time to ride a katig boat so I was a bit nervous. It was this narrow boat with wooden balances at the sides, known as the katig. I know how to swim but when our boatman said that the river was about 30-40 feet deep, all I did was tighten my grip.

And then the boat man told us to take a look at our right side. And there we saw a bunch of fireflies on the Bakawan or Mangrove trees.

It was my first time to see fireflies. And it reminded me of one thing: that goodbye scene between Kenshin and Kaoru in the anime Rurouni Kenshin. It was that scene when Kenshin finally decided to fight Shishio Makoto and told Kaoru about it. Kaoru tried to stop him but Kenshin had already made his mind up. Kenshin said goodbye and Kaoru was left there alone, crying, with no one but the fireflies.  I’m a bit excited of how the production team behind the second live action movie will portray this legendary scene.  They better do it right.  (My fan girl review of the first live action movie can be read here.)

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Although it was a bit cloudy that night, we were still able to see the starry sky.  It was as if the stars were reflected by the clear river water to the Bakawan trees, thus signalling the fireflies to give out their lights.  Stars and fireflies were a very refreshing combination, sights that one would never see in other cities in the Philippines. If only the boat ride was not timed, I would have wanted to spend the night there, just watching the stars and the fireflies as they all send me to dreamland.

I just wish my camera could capture the sight so I could share them with you. Maybe these were some of the things made for my eyes only. And for yours also when you finally come to visit Puerto Princesa.

iwahig fireflies


Next article:

Palawan’s Gods and Goddesses: Sun, Fog, Rain, River, Sea


Article 1 of the Palawan Chronicles – The Red Dot Airline: A Blessing in Disguise


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The Red Dot Airline: A Blessing in Disguise

Article 1 of the Palawan Chronicles

Palawan Day 1: Puerto Prinsesa


Sleep. Even on a vacation, I am in need of sleep.

I ended the Christmas Day of 2013 with a nap at 11:30 in the evening. I woke up at 1:00 in the morning of the 26th to prepare for my trip from Bataan to Manila. At 2:00, my uncle brought me and a cousin to the bus terminal. And by 2:30, the bus was driving to the city while everybody was asleep.

And surprisingly, I was able to reach Munoz, Quezon City at 4:00 in the morning. And at 4:30, I safely returned to my apartment in Novaliches.

I packed my bags and by 7:00 I was already on my way to the airport. At 7:45 in the morning, I was battling with myself if the exaggeratedly long line in MRT North Avenue could get me any nearer the airport. After 35 minutes, fortunately, it did.

I met my friend Nessa in Taft Avenue at around 9:00 and went straight to NAIA Terminal 4. We got there around 9:30. The concierge officer told us that we could not check-in til 10:00 in the morning for our 12:00 flight.

So we waited.

The clock struck ten. The staff of the Red Dot Airline started putting the sign “Down system. Please bear with us.” And still we could not see any counter for the Puerto Princesa flight.

It says counter is “CLOSED.” No destination and flight number details either. But they are entertaining guests here. 🙂

After 20 minutes, we saw people lining up to Counter 11 which was the only one entertaining guests going to Puerto Princesa. So we followed the line.

It was already 11:00 but we were still standing at the same spot 40 minutes ago. The line was not moving.

After another 10 minutes, the airline staff welcomed the guests with the manual issuance of boarding passes. System was still not available so they needed to write everthing down.

It was already 11:50 when we got our boarding passes. At the boarding terminal, the screen says that our flight was delayed and our departure would be at 1:15 in the afternoon. It was further delayed to 1:50.

We earlier decided to take our lunch at Puerto Princesa but this delay had caused so much trouble in our stomachs. We couldn’t find any rice meal from the stores in the boarding terminal so we settled for siopao and iced coffee.

We boarded the plane and arrived at Puerto Princesa around 3:20 in the afternoon.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

And Tito Bong, a friend of Nessa’s, surprised us by a red car.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo

We wanted to go straight to El Nido but Tito Bong said it would be best if we spend the night in Puerto and just leave early morning the next day.

Nessa and I wanted to sleep and rest but we opted to explore Puerto Princesa instead. This was not part of the original plan but everything that happened seemed to be a blessing in disguise.


Next article:

Iwahig Fireflies: Reminiscing Kenshin and Kaoru


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