Loboc and Loay River Cruise and Floating Restaurant in Bohol (2023)
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The Loboc and Loay River Cruise has a history deeply rooted in the local culture of Bohol. For years, these rivers have served as lifelines for the surrounding communities, and their significance is still felt today. The river cruise has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of Bohol's top attractions, drawing visitors from around the world who seek a unique and immersive experience.
How far is the river cruise from Tagbilaran City, and what transportation options are available to get there?
To reach Loboc or Loay, you need to take a short journey to Integrated Bus Terminal in Dao, Tagbilaran City.From Dao, there are several transportation options are available, including buses, vans, or even renting a scooter for a more adventurous journey. At Dao, look for buses or vans with Loboc signboards on them. Ask the driver or conductor to drop you off at the Loboc River Cruise and they should know where to make the appropriate stop. For a more detailed step-by-step guide on how to reach Loboc, click here: How to get to Loboc from Tagbilaran City or Panglao
The dock is located in Loboc town proper which is an hour ride from Tagbilaran City by public transport and around 45 minutes by private transportation. A visit to Loboc is always included in Bohol's countryside tours but the actual floating restaurant that you hop on to depends on which one your tour guide/travel agent brings you to. If you know a specific floating restaurant that you want to visit, you can request your tour guide/travel agent to bring you there.
The one that we have visited is Rio Verde Floating Resto which is not located in Loboc but in the adjacent town of Loay. But even if the floating restaurant is in Loay, tourists still call it Loboc Floating Restaurant since that's what it has been called for years. Some of the tour guides say that Loay is actually better in terms of food offerings and is less crowded than Loboc. But of course, you have to see and experience it for yourself. The two other famous floating restaurants, both located in Loboc, are Village Floating Resto & Cruises and Loboc Riverwatch Floating Resto.
You have the option to do a full countryside tour with the Chocolate Hills and all other major tourist destinations in Bohol or you can choose to only go to Loboc Floating Restaurant. Here are some of the ways to arrange for this tour:
Arrange with your hotel. You can approach the receptionist in your hotel and ask if they are able to arrange a countryside tour for you. Most hotels should be able to do so.
Contact a travel agency. If the price being charged by your hotel is out of your budget, you can contact an independent travel agency directly instead. There are several agencies around Tagbilaran City or Panglao Island. You can also join and check out the travel companies in DIY Travel Philippines Facebook Page or just simply search on Facebook.
Contact a van driver or tour guide. If this is what you prefer, I highly recommend Kuya John. He is a van driver slash tour guide (but more of a van driver really) who can take you around Bohol. His number is (+63) 916 176 5683.
Reserve via Klook. If there is only 1 or 2 of you in this trip, it would be cheaper if you book through Klook. You have 2 options with Klook. First option is to book only the cruise with no hotel transfer, which is the cheapest option than if you will book directly at the cruise/floating restaurant. Second option is a cruise reservation with private transfer and price depends on the number of travelers. If you would like either of this arrangement, you can visit Klook here: Loboc River Cruise in Bohol
Do-It-Yourself. If you would like to go by public transport, you can go to Dao Integrated Bus Terminal from any point in Bohol and look for van/bus/jeepney that can take you to Loboc or Loay town proper, whichever you prefer. Ask the driver to drop you off near the entrance of the dock of the floating restaurants and should be a few minutes walk. For a more detailed step-by-step guide on how to reach Loboc, click here: How to get to Loboc from Tagbilaran City or Panglao
What is the best time of the day to take the river cruise?
If you are taking the full countryside tour, it would be ideal to arrange your schedule and make sure that you arrive in Loboc or Loay for lunch. If you arrive at exactly 12:00 noon, expect the place to be crowded. If you had late breakfast or don't mind pushing your lunch to a later time in the afternoon, you should be able to skip the crowd and enjoy the scenery with less tourists. Make sure to tell and agree with your tour guide or driver your desired schedule.
Once you get to the dock, you can enter the establishment and take pictures of the river and the floating restaurants. You have the option to just sightsee at the dock but you will be missing a lot if you don't take the trip down the river. The whole trip takes about an hour. I have a poor sense of time so it might have been more, might have been less. LOL! All I could remember was it took me the whole trip to finish my meal and I do eat very slowly, which my mother was not very happy about ever since I was a kid.
If you prefer to have lunch somewhere else, that should be up to you but I don't think tourists are allowed to ride the floating restaurant without paying for the buffet.
What is the cost of the river cruise?
The costs and the inclusions of the buffet are in the photos below. However, the photos I have here were taken during our trip in 2017. The difference between the regular and the high-end meal from what I could remember was the lechon kawali and a few more dishes which the regular buffet did not have. For example, for the soup, you will be served corn soup with the regular meal but for the high-end buffet, you'll have tinolang manok. The type of boat also differs between the high-end and the regular buffet. As of July 2023, the price of the buffet is P850 per person and I don't think they still give the option to choose between a high-end and a regular buffet. The photos below are obviously outdated so if you would like to inquire, feel free to contact Rio Verde Floating Resto directly:
Personally, there was nothing special about the food. If they had nothing else to offer except food, I would rather eat in Bohol Bee Farm or Lantaw. But cruising along the river is something that you shouldn't miss. The moment you step aboard the river cruise vessel, you'll be greeted with warm hospitality and a picturesque setting. The view is spectacular - the turquoise-colored river slowly running downstream (or wherever it may be going) against a backdrop of green trees and blue sky, which looks just like a desktop wallpaper. The boat gently glides along the emerald waters of the Loboc and Loay rivers, revealing the stunning beauty of Bohol's landscapes. Lush greenery lines the riverbanks, while charming local houses peek out from the foliage.
Throughout the cruise, you'll be treated to live music, often traditional Filipino tunes by Boholano musicians, adding to the enchanting atmosphere. Sometimes, the musicians/entertainers would even hold open mics and invite guests to sing on stage. And this is something that I've always been proud of as a Boholana -- a lot of people from Bohol love to sing and they do so very well.
Is it possible to visit the Ati Tribe Village during the river cruise?
Beyond the scenic beauty, the Loboc and Loay River Cruise offers a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of Bohol. The Loay River Cruise in Bohol that we took passed through the Ati Tribe Village. Note that this Ati Tribe Village is only accessible if you're on the Loay River Cruise, the Loboc River Cruise do not pass through here.
The Ati Tribe is an indigenous group in the Philippines known for their rich cultural heritage and unique way of life. During the Loay River Cruise, the boat will make a stop at the Ati Tribe Village, allowing visitors to interact with the community and learn about their traditions and customs. This provides a valuable opportunity to experience the local indigenous culture firsthand and gain insights into their daily lives.
The guests are given 15 minutes to stay and take photos with the tribesmen and tribeswomen. Couldn't go down because I was still eating but I took some photos from the boat. When you're in the village, you may have the chance to witness cultural performances, traditional dances, and music. It's a chance to engage with the Ati people, ask questions, and gain a deeper appreciation for their cultural practices and ancestral heritage. Please note that it's always important to approach such visits with respect and sensitivity. Remember to follow any guidelines or instructions provided by the tour operators or guides to ensure a positive and respectful interaction with the community.
What are some tips that you can give before we go on the river cruise?
Book in advance: To secure your spot and ensure availability, it's advisable to book your tickets for the river cruise in advance, especially during peak seasons or holidays. This will save you from any last-minute disappointments and ensure a smooth boarding process. Best option is to book via Klook here:Loboc River Cruise in Bohol
Choose the right time: The river cruise is most enchanting during daylight hours when you can fully appreciate the scenic beauty and vibrant surroundings. Consider opting for a mid-morning or early or late afternoon cruise to enjoy optimal lighting conditions for photography and to make the most of your time on the river. The river cruise also tend to get crowded during lunchtime, so these alternative times of the day would be better.
Be prepared for the weather: Bohol has a tropical climate, so it's essential to be prepared for the weather conditions. Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing, and choose breathable fabrics. Don't forget to apply sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun's rays. It's also a good idea to carry an umbrella or raincoat, as sudden showers are common in the region.
Capture memorable moments: Don't forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the beautiful moments along the river cruise. The stunning landscapes, cultural performances, and local landmarks provide ample opportunities for photography. Be sure to respect the privacy and cultural sensitivities of the locals when taking photos.
Engage with the local culture: The River Cruise offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture of Bohol. Take the time to interact with the performers and locals on board, ask questions, and learn about their traditions and way of life. It will enrich your experience and create memorable connections.
Respect the environment: As you enjoy the river cruise, it's essential to be mindful of the environment and practice responsible tourism. Avoid littering and dispose of any waste in designated bins. Respect the wildlife and refrain from feeding or disturbing the animals you encounter during the cruise.
Embrace the dining experience: The river cruise includes a delicious buffet of local cuisine, so come hungry and embrace the dining experience on board. Sample the variety of traditional dishes, including fresh seafood, grilled meats, and tropical fruits. It's an opportunity to indulge in the flavors of Bohol and savor the local culinary delights.
How long does the Loboc River Cruise last? The Loboc River Cruise typically lasts around 1-2 hours. The duration may vary slightly depending on the specific cruise package or any additional activities included.
Are vegetarian or vegan food options available during the cruise? Vegetarian and vegan food options are typically available during the Loboc River Cruise. The buffet spread usually includes a variety of dishes that cater to different dietary preferences. You may visit the river cruises' website or Facebook pages to contact them for questions.
How many people can the river cruise boats accommodate? The river cruise boats used for the Loboc River Cruise can accommodate varying numbers of passengers. The capacity may range from smaller boats that can accommodate around 20 to 30 people to larger vessels that can hold up to 100 or more passengers. The exact capacity can vary depending on the specific boat used and the tour operators.
Is the Loboc River Cruise wheelchair accessible? The accessibility of the Loboc River Cruise may vary depending on the specific facilities and infrastructure available at the river cruise station and boats. It's recommended to contact the tour operators or organizers directly to inquire about the accessibility options and facilities for individuals with mobility challenges.