Loboc River Cruise Bohol: The Ultimate Cruise Tour in the Philippines

Welcome to the Loboc River Cruise, the crown jewel of Bohol Island’s attractions. This cruise offers a mesmerizing blend of nature, culture, and food. Tourists, both Filipino and foreign, are flocking to experience this riverside wonder every year. Guaranteed to be a memorable experience for everyone.

loboc river cruise bohol ticket with the floating restaurant and the river on the ticket

The Rich History of Loboc River Cruise

The Loboc River Cruise is not just a recent phenomenon, its roots trace back decades, making it an integral part of Bohol’s cultural and tourism history. The river itself has been a lifeline for the residents of the town of Loboc and its neighboring areas for centuries. Historically, the river was a primary source of livelihood, with locals relying on fishing and transportation of goods.

It was in the late 1980s when the potential of the river as a tourist attraction began to be realized. The local government, seeing the pristine beauty of the river and its surroundings, initiated the idea of a river cruise. The aim was twofold: to boost local tourism and to provide an alternative source of income for the residents. The first cruises were simple, with small bancas (traditional Filipino boats) offering rides to visitors. Over time, these evolved into the larger floating restaurants we see today.

But what truly set the Loboc River Cruise apart was its unique blend of nature, culture, and gastronomy. By the 1990s, the cruise started incorporating buffet lunches, showcasing traditional Filipino dishes. Additionally, cultural performances, especially by the renowned Loboc Children’s Choir, became a staple of the cruise experience. Their melodious voices echoing along the riverbanks added a magical touch to the journey.

Today, the Loboc River Cruise stands as a testament to Bohol’s commitment to sustainable tourism. It’s a beautiful blend of the past and the present, offering visitors a glimpse into Bohol’s rich history while ensuring a modern, comfortable experience. Now, the cruise continues to be a beacon of Bohol’s tourism, drawing visitors from all corners of the world.

Journey from Tagbilaran City to Loboc

Tagbilaran City, often referred to as the gateway to Bohol’s attractions, is a bustling urban center with its own charm. But if you’re looking to escape the city vibes and immerse yourself in nature, the Loboc River Cruise awaits. The journey from Tagbilaran to Loboc is not just about reaching a destination, it’s an experience in itself.

a white passenger bus with a rising star on the body

By Private Transportation

If you’re someone who loves the freedom of driving, renting a car or scooter is a fantastic option. The direct route to Loboc via the Loay Interior Road is approximately 24 kilometers and can be covered in about 30-40 minutes. The roads are in good condition, and the drive offers a gradual transition from the cityscape of Tagbilaran to the lush greenery of Loboc. Along the way, you’ll pass by local villages, rice fields, and even get glimpses of the river as you approach Loboc.

By Public Transport

For those who prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride, public transportation is both convenient and economical. Head over to the Dao Integrated Bus Terminal, which is just a few kilometers from the city center. From there, buses and vans frequently depart for Loboc. The journey is comfortable, taking around one hour, and the fare is typically below 100 pesos ($2). If you’re unsure about which bus to take, the terminal staff and even fellow passengers are usually eager to assist. Remember to ask the driver to drop you off at your desired location in Loboc, especially if you have specific spots in mind!

Additional Tips

While the journey from Tagbilaran to Loboc is relatively short, there are a few attractions you might consider exploring en route. The Church of San Pedro in Loboc town, one of the oldest churches in Bohol, is a testament to the region’s rich history. If you’re a nature enthusiast, making a stop at Busay Falls can be refreshing. And for those interested in a guided tour, several operators in the city offer packages that include the Loboc River Cruise and other Bohol highlights.

Journey from Panglao to Loboc

green tricycle on the upper left, yellow buses on the upper right, chrome mitsubishi suv on the lower left, motorcycles on the lower right

For many visitors, Panglao Island serves as the starting point of their Bohol adventure, thanks to its renowned beaches and proximity to the Panglao Airport. Transitioning from the sandy shores of Panglao to the tranquil riverside of Loboc is a journey that’s both scenic and straightforward.

By Private Transportation

If you’ve rented a car or a scooter, the drive from Panglao to Loboc is approximately 25 kilometers and takes around 40 minutes. Start on the Panglao Island Circumferential Road, heading towards Tagbilaran. Once you reach the city, follow the Loay Interior Road which will lead you directly to Loboc. The roads are well-maintained, and the journey offers glimpses of Bohol’s picturesque countryside.

By Public Transport

For those relying on public transportation, the journey is just as convenient. From Panglao, take a tricycle or a multicab to the Dao Integrated Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran. The trip should take around 20 minutes and cost a few hundred pesos. Once at the terminal, there are regular buses and vans heading to Loboc. The bus fare is typically around 100 pesos ($2), and the journey takes around one hour. Again, if you’re unsure about the timings or the bus to board, don’t hesitate to ask the locals or the terminal staff.

Additional Tips

While the direct route to Loboc is quick and scenic, if you have some time to spare, consider making a detour to some of the attractions along the way. The Tarsier Sanctuary is a popular stop, offering a chance to see the world’s smallest primates in their natural habitat. Similarly, the neighboring town of Loay, with its historic Loay Bridge and serene Loay River, is worth a visit. And if you’re traveling in a group or prefer a guided experience, many tour operators in Panglao offer day trips to Loboc, often combining it with other attractions in Bohol.

The Authentic Bohol Countryside Tour Experience

Bohol tours are incomplete without the Loboc River Cruise. As you cruise along, the riverside adorned with palm trees and the distant view of the Chocolate Hills make for a picturesque setting. And if you time your visit right, the Busay Falls, although not grand in height, adds a touch of magic to the journey. The cruise starts in the town proper of Loboc and floats through some of the cleanest rivers in the country.

a family with the father holding his daughter by the waist, grandmothers on both sides with the rio verde floating restaurant name and logo in front

Dining With Nature: The Floating Restaurants

One of the standout features of the Loboc River Cruise is the unique dining experience it offers. As you glide along the serene waters of the Loboc River, you’re treated to a feast that tantalizes both your taste buds and your eyes. The floating restaurants are a testament to Bohol’s commitment to offering an authentic and memorable dining experience.

different local dishes like white rice, noodles, fish, and fresh fruits like banana, watermelon all laid out neatly on the table of the floating restaurant

The dining is buffet-style, allowing you to sample a wide variety of dishes. Tables are arranged on the boat, and as it cruises along, you can get up, select your dishes, and then return to your seat to enjoy the meal with the moving landscape as your backdrop. It’s a relaxed setting, with the gentle hum of the boat’s engine, the rustling of the trees, and the occasional song from local performers adding to the ambiance.

Sample of Dishes

The dishes are predominantly Filipino, showcasing the rich culinary heritage of the region. You can expect dishes like:

a hand holding a plate with shrimp and salad with the loboc river and the boat's deck on the background

  • Adobo: A savory, slightly tangy chicken or pork dish slow-cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.
  • Grilled Fish: Fresh catch from the surrounding waters, grilled to perfection with a smoky flavor.
  • Pancit: A noodle dish often mixed with vegetables and meat or seafood, with soy based sauce.
  • Kinilaw: A Filipino version of ceviche, where raw fish is cured in vinegar and mixed with onions, ginger, and chili.

Must-Try Food: While all dishes offer a taste of Filipino cuisine, if there’s one dish you shouldn’t miss, it’s the Lechon. This roasted suckling pig is a delicacy in the Philippines. Its crispy skin combined with tender meat, often served with a liver-based sauce, is a gastronomic delight.

Note: Don’t forget to order your drinks if you prefer cola or juice. Once the boat departs, you can’t order drinks anymore since they don’t keep stocks on the boat.

The Ati Tribe Attraction

While the Loboc River Cruise is a sensory delight, the Ati Tribe performance adds depth to the journey. Interacting with the locals, understanding their traditions, and even joining in their songs and dances, offers a cultural immersion like no other.

a family with the mother carrying her daughter andn the grandmothers on the right side all carrying spears with the tribes people

Tips for the Best Loboc River Cruise Experience

Visiting soon? Here are some insider tips:

  • Book in Advance: Especially during peak seasons, spots fill up fast.
  • Embrace the Experience: From the jade-colored waters to the riverside performances, there’s a lot to soak in.
  • Respect the Environment: With Bohol’s commitment to eco-tourism, every tourist plays a part in preserving its natural beauty.

Attractions Near Loboc River Cruise

The Loboc River Cruise is undoubtedly on of the highlights of any trip to Bohol, but the surrounding area is also rich with attractions that deserve a spot on your itinerary. Here’s a look at some must-visit spots near the Loboc River:

Loboc Church

Officially known as the Church of San Pedro, this is one of the oldest churches in Bohol island. Though it suffered damage during the 2013 earthquake, restoration efforts have been ongoing. Its historical significance and beautiful architecture make it a must-visit.

Busay Falls

While the falls are a brief stop during the river cruise, they’re worth a longer visit. Surrounded by lush greenery, this small waterfall offers a serene spot to relax and enjoy nature’s beauty.

a small falls along the river

Loboc Eco-Tourism Adventure Park

For those seeking a bit of adrenaline, this park offers zip-lining and cable car rides over the Loboc River, providing breathtaking aerial views of the river and the surrounding landscape.

Tarsier Conservation Area

Located just a short drive from Loboc, this area is dedicated to the protection and conservation of the Philippine Tarsier. Visitors can observe these tiny primates in their habitat.

Man-Made Forest

A short drive from Loboc will take you to this 2-kilometer stretch of mahogany forest. It’s a testament to Bohol’s reforestation efforts and offers a cool, shaded area perfect for a brief stop and photos.

If you want to know more about tourist attractions in Bohol, click here.

Accommodations Near Loboc River Cruise

After a day of exploring the wonders of the Loboc River Cruise and its surrounding attractions, finding a comfortable place to rest is essential. Fortunately, the Loboc area offers a range of accommodations to suit various preferences and budgets. Here’s a look at some of the notable options:

a large swimming pool surrounded by cottages shaped like the chocolate hills

Loboc River Resort

Located along the banks of the Loboc River, this resort offers a serene environment with cottages that provide river views. With its natural setting, guests can enjoy the sounds of nature, making it a perfect retreat. The resort also offers amenities like a swimming pool, restaurant, and guided tours.

Nipa Hut Village

For those looking for a more authentic Filipino experience, the Nipa Hut Village offers traditional bamboo huts as accommodations. Surrounded with lush greenery, it provides a rustic yet comfortable stay, allowing guests to connect with nature.

Fox & The Firefly Cottages

This boutique guesthouse is known for its cozy atmosphere and stunning river views. They offer both private rooms and dormitory-style accommodations, catering to solo travelers, couples, and groups. Additionally, they organize paddleboarding sessions on the Loboc River.

Loboc Stay Lodge

A budget-friendly option, this lodge offers basic amenities with clean and comfortable rooms. It’s a favorite among backpackers and travelers looking for a no-frills stay close to the river.

Villa Limpia

Located a short distance from the Loboc town center, Villa Limpia offers spacious rooms with modern amenities. With its friendly staff and peaceful ambiance, it’s a great option for families and couples.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s what we wondered during our first visit:

  • How long is the cruise? Typically, the cruise takes around one hour, but it’s an hour packed with experiences.
  • Is vegetarian food available? Absolutely! The buffet caters to diverse dietary preferences.
  • How do I reach from Cebu or Boracay? Both private transportation and public transport options are available. From Cebu, one can take a ferry to Tagbilaran. From Boracay, flights to Panglao Airport are the quickest option.

a woman standing on the deck looking at the river with her arms spread wide

In a tropical climate like the Philippines, where natural beauty abounds, the Loboc River Cruise in Bohol stands out as a unique attraction. It’s not just a boat ride, it’s a journey through nature, culture, and flavors. So, whether you’re a local or a tourist, this cruise promises memories that will last a lifetime.

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