When in Bohol, don’t miss the

Loboc River Cruise
One of the vessels at the Loboc River Cruise

A couple of years ago, my brother and I took the Bohol Countryside Tour and we had special lunch in an experience called the Loboc River Cruise. It lasted about an hour going up and down the Loboc River in a special water vessel that I don’t know how to name. It looks makeshift though, with a native look and feel to it.

There are several cruise operators plying this area, so that means each vessel may look different from the other. On board the vessel is a buffet table laden with a seafood-rich lunch with some local delicacies for dessert. The menu and taste may also differ between operators, so I cannot really tell you which one to choose. In our case, our meal was okay. Not really very grand, but good enough and worth what we paid for.

Loboc River Cruise
Another vessel at the Loboc River that I took a picture of while we were cruising.

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When you get on the vessel, you don’t have to wait for the other passengers. You can start eating already, as the dishes are all laid out. In my case, since we were one of the first people on board, I did a quick photography then I ate. I did this because I have motion sickness and I don’t think I will enjoy standing up every now and then to get my food. Plus, I wouldn’t enjoy opening peeling shrimps and eating crabs while enjoying the scenery. By the time the cruise started, I was already done eating and settled on my seat.

The lunch is an eat-all-you-can buffet and each guest is allowed one round of soft drink. During the trip, a local singer and a guitarist will entertain passengers with folk songs. At the end of the Loboc River, the vessel will stop near a makeshift entertainment center where they offer a folk dance presentation. We were entertained with an energetic tinikling number–the national dance of the Philippines, where dancers pranced around two parallel bamboo poles. The singers and dancers accept tips, so you can freely give if you were entertained by them. Even if it isn’t your trip, you can just give a little from the kindness of your heart. That way, these local entertainers get a decent livelihood.

A long buffet table is situated in the middle of the vessel while the dining tables surround it.
The simple dining set up on board the river cruise.

While you are allowed to take unlimited pictures, they also offer a souvenir photo on board. You get your print with the Loboc River Cruise photo border before you disembark and it costs P100 only. It is another way for the suppliers to earn, which I think makes for the success of the tourism industry of Bohol. Everything and everyone is working together to give tourists a wonderful and authentic Boholanon experience.

seafood buffet
My brother at the buffet table filled with seafood and other native dishes.

How to Go on a Loboc River Cruise

The first option is to book the cruise along with your Bohol Countryside Tour available at every hotel in the province or with your tour operator. Or you can hire an independent tour operator. You have the option to include the cruise in your tour or not, as it is paid separately. There was a terminal fee of P100 (around $2.50) per pax and the cruise itself is P350/pax (roughly $9). Note: Prices may have already changed. Can someone update me please?

Live entertainment on board. In some vessels, the singers were ladies.

Loboc River Cruise Review

Some people may not be interested in this activity, as it may get kinda boring for those who are looking for something modern, but I find it a very pleasant experience. For one, it relaxed us from the hectic morning tour schedule. It allowed us to unwind, smell fresh air, and just enjoy the greenery around the river. The food is not extraordinary, but we were already happy. Try to be early so that you can start eating before the vessel moves so that when you are already cruising, you are ready to take pictures. This would also be helpful for people like me who have motion sickness. At least my food has already settled before the boat moved.

Tinikling dancers entertained us. So refreshing to see folk dances still being remembered here in Bohol.

The terminal fee may be a little steep, but when you get there, you will know why. They have immaculate bathrooms that smell very nice. There are also some scenes to see around and take pictures of while waiting, but we no longer have the chance to do it so I could not tell you about it. All I know is that there were like exhibits about Bohol around the area.

The Rondalla that played the folk music that accompanied the Tinikling dancers. I really appreciated this culture trip.

My only complaint is the ticket area–it was chaotic. There was no system and I had to contend with the drivers of other tour operators buying tickets for their passengers. They were bigger than me and with much louder voices so I could not be heard. There was no line. It was only when my brother raised his already loud voice that we were accommodated. So I really think that they should improve on this. This will be good for those who did not book tours with operators.

Otherwise, I was very happy with our experience and God-willing, I would like to bring my whole family here in the future. I’m sure they will be very happy with this.

This little waterfall is the last sight to see before the vessel will turn around and bring you back to where you started.

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