The Abatan River stretches 20 km traversing several small villages in Bohol province. The river opens to an estuary, which grows as many as 32 out of the 44 mangrove species in the entire Philippines.
Visiting Abatan's centuries-old mangrove forest is often described as fantastical. The roots and the canopy of leaves reflect crisply on the clear water, lending the river its sparkling emerald hue.
It is now highly encouraged to tour the mangroves on a kayak rather than on bigger boats since the latter often causes the riverbed to erode. Along with the mangroves, the river is home to a rare species of fireflies called pteroptyx macdermotti.
Abatan River sits about 8.4 KM from Tagbilaran City. To get there, you can rent a private car or ride a taxi/tricycle and go along Tagbilaran North Road. After passing a bridge, you will see the Abatan River Visitor Center on your left, which is the main entry and reception area for travelers interested in exploring the river. You can also join guided tours that include the Abatan River in the itinerary for a hassle-free trip.
Visitors will have to pay a certain fee to join a tour along the river while riding a kayak. However, you can also gain faster entry by availing of packages that already cover the cost of the Abatan River tour.
To better show the natural beauty of the river, all tours usually begin at around 6:30 PM. Cruising along the river at night gives visitors better chances of seeing the fireflies light up the surface of the water and the trees themselves. As for the weather, the best time to visit would be around the months of December to March when rainfall is less likely to happen.