On the enchanting island of Bohol passes a big river called Loboc. One of the island’s best offers is a cruise tour following this winding green waterway through the lush landscapes of Bohol, revealing not only the breathtaking scenery but also the rich traditions and warm hospitality of its people. Together with the Cordilleran team of creatives from the City of Baguio Creative Council, the Department of Tourism (DOT), the DOT Press Corps, the Baguio Tourism Office, and the Baguio Tourism Council, I get to explore the wonders of the Loboc River Cruise Tour and its significance as a cultural and ecological treasure.
The River’s Embrace
The Loboc River is a winding waterway that meanders through the heart of Bohol, providing a serene and picturesque setting for the cruise tour. Surrounded by dense tropical forests, the river is a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. The cruise we boarded the Amore Cruises, like the other cruises, is also a floating restaurant. We were welcomed into a realm where nature and culture harmoniously coexist.
A Culinary Adventure
One of the highlights of the Loboc River Cruise Tour is the sumptuous buffet of local cuisine served on board. Travelers can savor traditional Filipino dishes, lechon kawali, sinigang, abundant seafood, and fresh local fruits. Dining amid the tranquil river setting enhances the culinary experience, making it a feast for both the senses and the soul.
As the cruise gently glides along the river’s surface, visitors are treated to live performances of traditional Filipino music and dance. Local musicians and dancers showcase their talents, providing a captivating glimpse into Bohol’s vibrant cultural heritage. In the middle of the tour, we stopped by the river bank for a cultural performance by the bank. The melodies of ukulele and bamboo instruments and the graceful movements of the dancers performing the tinikling create an atmosphere of celebration and unity.
The Loboc River Cruise Tour includes stops at several points of interest along the riverbanks. One notable attraction is the Loboc Church, a historic Spanish-era church that stands as a testament to Bohol’s rich history. We also got a glimpse of the local lifestyles with children playing and swimming, some of the locals taking advantage of the popularity of the cruise tours that they established their own picnic and camping grounds by the river banks.
Beyond its cultural significance, the Loboc River plays a vital role in Bohol’s ecosystem. The mangrove forests along its banks serve as nurseries for marine life, and the river itself is a habitat for various bird species. Environmental conservation efforts have been initiated to protect this delicate ecosystem, ensuring its preservation for future generations.
The Loboc River Cruise Tour has a profound impact on the local community. It provides employment opportunities for residents, from boat crews to performers and chefs. The tour also promotes sustainable tourism practices, encouraging responsible interactions with nature and culture.
A Journey of Discovery
The Loboc River Cruise Tour in Bohol is not just a tourist attraction; it is a journey of discovery. It invites travelers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality that Bohol has to offer. As visitors navigate the pristine waters of the Loboc River, they not only embark on an unforgettable adventure but also contribute to the preservation of a treasured ecological and cultural gem. The Loboc River Cruise Tour is a testament to the magic of Bohol, where nature and tradition come together in perfect harmony.
Before we parted ways with the crew of the cruiser, we requested more songs from the musicians, and our favorite, and the one that had all of us singing all the way back home to Baguio was the ‘Balik sa Bohol, balik.” Definitely, I will return to Bohol and probably stay there longer. And of course, will be back to experience the Loboc Cruise Tour once again. – Story and photos by Carl Cariño Taawan