Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cruising Bohol's Loboc River

With the numerous attractions and activities in Bohol, The Loboc River Cruise is where I experienced a touch of Boholano culture.

Arriving in Loboc River Complex, we chose the kiosk for Riverwatch floating restaurant (as per the recommendation of our tour guide) and paid Php300 for the buffet lunch. There is another fee of Php100 to be paid at the tourist assistance center.

We then boarded the Riverwatch floating restaurant and the buffet lunch had just started. Everyone queued up to the buffet table, where appetizing meals are being served. I filled my plate, everything is Filipino, and began eating with my family while a local singer is serenading us with his Boholano and other English travel songs. In about 30 minutes, the  motorized boat started to cruise.

Loboc is one of the towns in Bohol where this green river flows. The water is brackish, with the sea water coming from the town of Loay and the fresh water coming from the town of Sevilla. I am fascinated when I learned that the sea water remains under the river while the fresh water floats at the surface. It may be because of bouyancy, but I have always thought that brackish water is a mixture of both. Loboc River is very tranquil with calm waters. It is surrounded by towering palms and other plants on both sides. It is very soothing riding this floating restaurant, just observing the surroundings. The backdrop of the mountains still rich in flora adding to exquisite beauty of the place.

I am really happy to finally see a commercialized river in the country that is so clean considering there are some homes built just beside the river. I never saw even just one garbage floating. This shows the discipline of Boholanos as well as the love they have for nature. It is inspiring. :)

The cruise reached Busay Falls,with two small cascades flowing from the elevated part of the landscape. Our boat turned back headed to the dock. Halfway, it stopped at the riverside where a bamboo platform was constructed. There, we were greeted by the local teens, wearing traditional Filipino costume  and are happily singing a lovely Boholano song. I didn't understand it but the emotion their song conveys feels like a warm welcome to us. The performance is so lively, with a lot of synchronized clapping both from the performers and the tourists. They were also playing guitar and ukelele ( a Filipino string musical instrument smaller than a guitar with 4 strings) as accompaniment. Then they started dancing with Filipino folk dances, one is Tinikling (a dance performed using bamboo with the dancers imitating the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems). Tourists are encouraged to join in the fun and even the foreign tourists gladly mingled with the performers. I was very happy with this sight. For me, this is the highlight of the Loboc River Cruise. I noticed everybody had a smile in their faces before we left that station.

The cruise lasted for almost an hour. The serene beauty of the river, the traditional Filipino food served to us and most specially the Boholano performers made the the Php400 so worth it. I may not do it again for a second time but for those who haven't experienced it yet, it is definitely a must try when visiting Bohol. Boholanos captivated my heart. I love Bohol!

The teens of Loboc, Bohol providing river cruise entertainment

Getting to Loboc River Complex

I won't be able to share how to go to this place via commute since this and all the other attractions I've visited in Bohol is a part of the itinerary for the countryside tour I availed from a local tour guide/driver. This is a a family get-away and not my typical backpacking trip so comfort is one of my top priorities arranging this trip.
If you need information on who you can contact for tours, please check this link: Cars/Vans for Hire in Bohol.

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