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The Water Lights Up When You Touch It

By June 28, 2017May 21st, 20184 Comments

When I was looking at all the tours in Coron, there was one called the “Fireflies Tour Coron.” Given that I remember spending tons of time in my childhood chasing after and catching fireflies, I wasn’t that excited to pay 950 pesos to go see them. I mean, cool, but skip-able.

And then I heard there was a phosphorescent bay on the way.

I met two girls in my room at the guesthouse – Allyra and Pouchi, and they were so fun. They’re best friends who grew up together (Rachel and Jess… they reminded me of us!) and it was their first trip together. So they were ready to have a fun time and they were incredibly sweet. We all decided to do the fireflies tour together (ok, I might have talked them into it once I heard “phosphorescent bay”).

Holy crap, these people are not marketing this tour very well. They talk all about the fireflies. But when I said “phosphorescent bay” that was what sold Allyra and Pouchi on doing the tour too.

On the way to the fireflies, the water LIGHTS UP WHEN YOU TOUCH IT.

Let me say that again: the water. lights up. when you touch it. Seriously. And was never once mentioned in any of the promotional literature.

The lagoon is filled with phosphorescent plankton that give off light when disturbed. And they even light up when you make a loud noise!

When you splash, you can see exactly where all the drops land because you can see it light up and then fade away! Or if you move a pole (maybe like your GoPro on a pole…) through the water, it lights up around it and you can see the trail where it just was.

That night, I was re-introduced to the six year old living inside me. I could not stop squealing every time I touched or splashed in the water. It was possibly the most magical thing I think I’ve ever seen. I could not stop looking at it or playing with the water. It was truly an otherworldly experience. And now one to check off the bucket list! I think Allyra, Pouchi and I were all screaming and squealing for basically the whole time the boat was on the phosphorescent part of the bay. They met their inner six year olds too!

Oh, and there were some actual six year old kids on the tour. I think they were far more mature, well-behaved and quiet than we were. It’s probably because they had adult supervision.

However… if anyone is thinking about going on this tour in Coron (or going to Coron specifically for the phosphorescent bay), I’d probably look elsewherere – I’ve heard Koh Rong in Cambodia has a beach with it, there’s one in New Zealand, I think there’s one in Florida, and one in Puerto Rico. I’m sure there are more.

In general, like many of the tours in Coron, this one was perhaps mis-advertised with even more than the fireflies. The pictures showed kayaking in mangroves, and the “free inclusion” was listed as a paddleboat. So I assumed you’d have some sort of personal watercraft like the pictures – likely a kayak. You did not. It was all one big group packed onto a speedboat – there were about 16 people. And they took the speedboat to the lagoon and the fireflies. Last I checked, a speedboat is NOT a paddleboat. There was no paddleboat to be seen. You also didn’t get a ton of time in the lagoon, as they were trying to get multiple boats through.

So it was an incredible, unforgettable experience that I’m so happy I went on, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back to this one. Ultimately, though, it was the perfect last night in the Philippines!

And sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of this because it was at night. So here are some pics from climbing Mt Tapyas earlier in the week!


  • gtdmouse says:

    There’s a phosphorescent bay in Jamaica too. 🙂 I was curious, what camera are you taking most of these photos with? Did you bring your slr with you?

    • Amanda Plewes says:

      Oooooh! Good to know!

      And it’s basically an even split between my DSLR and my GoPro, depending on which is more convenient. And some iPhone shots lol. The DSLR is my trusty 10 year old Nikon D80.

      • gtdmouse says:

        ok, cool. You may want to try to reduce the saturation on them if you can. Some of the colors look a bit off.

  • Donna Plewes says:

    These pics are gorgeous. We don’t see colors like that here! Stunning! Looks like fun, and the florescent plankton sound memorable. Love it

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