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In the company of fireflies

The Spanish conquistadores of long ago took to calling Siquijor Island in the central Philippines “Fire Island.” That’s because when evening came, the island glowed with the incandescent flight of its innumerable fireflies. Such an otherworldly glow contributed to the island’s reputation as a place of mysticism, mystery, and magic. Today, Siquijor banks on such a reputation in wooing travelers looking for a place to meditate and re-center their lives in a tropical island far from the madding crowd. The nighttime firefly tours in Siquijor are an out-of-this-world experience — and a perfect way to enjoy the dark with your special someone. Buzzing on different frequencies, the fireflies twinkle with heartbeat serendipity, casting a spell on all your hearts. Other notable firefly tours: at the mangrove forest in Donsol, Sorsogon; at the nearby Ogod River, also in Sorsogon; at the Iwahig Firefly Watching station in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; at the Abatan River in Bohol, right smack in the centuries-old Postan Forest; at Laoay, also in Bohol, where you can enjoy dinner as part of a river cruise organized by the local government; at Magdiwang town in Sibuyan Island, Romblon; and at the Kingfisher Park in Coron, Palawan.


Say — and eat — it with flowers

At the Bohol Bee Farm in Tagbilaran, Bohol, you can do some extraordinary wooing through flowers — arranged crisply on your platter of organic salad dribbled with freshly harvested honey. This homey organic-food diner offers healthy beverages, too. While here in this island-province, you can go chase each other in a butterfly farm. Or hold each other’s hands as you both pet the smallest primate in the world (yes, the tarsier can fit into each of your palm). And why not luxuriate in the many flowers and herbs in the jungles and chocolate hills and islets and coves that make Bohol an all-in-one adventure dating island for those who love the great outdoors?

Go island-hopping

Whether it’s high tide or low tide, the Philippines has many islands you can go to by plane, boats, or car — or even kayak or outrigger canoe. In Lingayen, Pangasinan, in the northern Philippines, you can enjoy a smorgasbord of the Hundred Islands. Local tour packages include lunch picnics, with options for your own “private island” to spend the night on. Much pricier are the island-hopping tours in Palawan, consistently named the best island destination in the world by international glossy magazines. At the central Philippine beach haven that is Boracay, island tours are easy to come by.