Text & Photo: Kaycie Gayle
Loboc River is one of the most scenic rivers in the Philippines that has become one of the major tourist destinations in Bohol. To explore its beauty, embarking on a native catamaran for a river cruise enables tourists to see it in a relaxing way.
The Floating Restaurant
The vessel you would get on board is designed to be a floating restaurant. It is made of two outrigger boats that are covered with a platform to serve as flooring and a roof is installed to serve as a cover from the sun and rain among its passengers. Both local and foreign tourists ride on this vessel to experience the buffet aboard while cruising on the picturesque river.
Landing starts half an hour before departure. As soon as you are aboard, you will instantly notice the multicultural passengers on it and a center table where the dishes are served. You may start feasting on the local delicacies as soon as they cued that the buffet is already on.
1. Verdant greenery
Once the native catamaran slowly glided across the calm water to cruise upstream, scenic views of the river start to unfold. Initially, you will pass on rare houses on the shore and see fishing boats. Eventually, you’ll see a panorama of a lush jungle that borders left and right and the winding, emerald-colored river in between.
2. Local life scene
As the cruise starts, a band will begin performing classic love songs which you can sing along while sightseeing. Just when you thought that the greenery view is that all that there is to expect on the entire cruise, you will be surprised to have a glimpse of the local culture. Along the way, you’ll be able to observe how locals live their lives as they normally do as they carry out their everyday chores. You’ll see men and women working by the river, lads are swimming near the riverbanks, and children are jumping from a tree branch into the river.
3. Cultural Show
The cruise involves a brief stopover for a short cultural show performed by the local community. The vessel will stop on a docking platform with a hut where a group of local women is dressed in costumes and perform for tourists. Some play the ukulele while others are singing and some are dancing along with the tune. They encourage everyone to join them and some tourists alight from the native catamaran and jump over the bamboo platform to participate with their performance.
4. Busay Falls
The water currents are calm until you reach near the stream of the river with small waterfalls. This is the end of the route and the point where the vessel will trip back to the port. The return cruise downstream is a bit faster but will still be fun and heartwarming. On your way back to the port, you will pass along vessels going upstream and encounter its congenial passengers. It’s been the norm here to wave and greet passengers riding on other floating restaurants even if you don’t know them.
The Loboc River cruise runs about an hour or so back and forth. It may be short, but will definitely allow you to slow down, appreciate the nature, breathe in the fresh air, feast on local food, witness local culture and encounter multicultural strangers. This short river cruise certainly gives you a multi-faceted experience.
Authentic experience and personal tip
It is better to start eating before the trip commences. As for me, I arrived ten minutes before the cruise begins hence, by the time I started eating, the trip has launched already and the vessel has been gliding on the water. I would like to focus on eating and enjoy my food but since the scenic views draw my attention, I ate less and preferred to look at the view. With so many things to appreciate during the one hour cruise, taking your eyes off the scenery to grab a bite makes you miss out on seeing some picturesque views.
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Happy Travels! 💛