Food trips are always included in my itinerary, wherever I may be. When we went to Bohol in the summer of 2010, apart from visiting the infamous Tarsier and the Chocolate Hills (post – coming soon!), we decided to do one of Bohol’s classic tourist activity: the Long River Cruise, which is a cruise along the Loboc River.
Along with other tourists (around 30+ of them), we boarded a “floating restaurant” which is actually made out of a platform supported by two boats. The tourists are set to enjoy a buffet meal and be entertained by an on-board entertainer. The food varies, depending on which boat you signed up for, but it is typically a combination of rice, pancit, fish and meat dishes, a set of fruits for desserts (watermelon, pineapple, and melon) and either a can of softdrinks, a bottle of water, or beer. Extra order of beverages would cost you extra as well.
The food was pre-cooked (probably in the morning), and since we were there for lunch, it means, it isn’t hot anymore.
Yes, according to the “MASTER”, there should only be 40 passengers. “MASTER”, we shall obey!!
Hungry people chasing cold food (including me!)
As for the entertainment, ours was an acoustic set where there’s a guitarist playing both local and foreign pop songs (no kundiman or local folk songs, for those who are looking for a more traditional performance). It was an okay performer but somehow relatable due to the pop songs being performed.
An “okay” Acoustic Performance
The actual cruise and entertainment starts just as the guests’ meal is about to finish. By then, our main focus was the sight-seeing around the river: a sight of nature surrounded by trees, tiny waterfalls, and who knows what.
Floating along the river
As we sail along, young boys (whom I think live nearby, possibly along the riverbanks), would climb our boat and then dive/jump off towards the river. I am not sure if this is where we drop a coin and they’d try to catch it (as I’ve heard from stories, although it is possible that it’s probably in a different place). I haven’t tried it there. Anyway, what I remember was that the first time, my sister was trying to take a photo of nature when one of the young boys was unintentionally blocking her view. She asked the boy to move away, and the boy probably felt a bit off from it. That boy did a canon ball and splashed a good amount of water towards us. Wrong move sis, you must have offended them.
We eventually passed by a boat/floating restaurant which had stopped across a platform where there were locals performing. I wondered why we didn’t stop over. I was feeling a bit “defeated” and at the same time, childish for doing so. HAH! But after some time, we made our own stop at another platform and here, we watched another group perform.
A platform of local performers, waiting, in anticipation for their next audience
In local language, it is referred to as Kuradang, which means the traditional folkdance of the Visayan people
Grandpa, doing his thing
The kids are really serious with their craft
My poor capture of the Tinikling
Their performances (which lasted for like 3 songs/dances) were good. It is evident that it’s something they’ve really worked hard for, and you could see how focused the kids were during their dance. Another favorite was when the older ones were dancing (grandpa). I also like the tinikling (which involves dancing in, out, and around two bamboo poles in parallel being tapped on the floor, changing it up with regards to the tap/beat), but my camera didn’t cooperate with me on that one!
There’s a donation box on the side of the platform. I’m not sure if they’re actually paid by the cruise organizers, or if they just earn a living based on tips/donations.
When the performance ended, we cruised back again to the other side of the river and eventually we went back to where we boarded earlier. Overall, it was an okay experience (and it was actually my second time, I can’t remember my thoughts on the first one!).
As we left, I saw an ice cream shop and bought myself one (buko ice cream stick). There were a few souvenir shops outside as well, but we’re really not up for it. The banderitas (colorful flags) looked nice though.
A Few Notes:
Price: This was in 2010, and the prices might have changed now. As of my research, it’s Php 450 is their price as of April 2013 for the lunch+cruise.
Food and on board Entertainment: I personally feel that the food isn’t worth it for the price (in Filipino-food standards, or atleast in my standards). The food wasn’t as sumptuous as I’ve expected, and the on board entertainment (back then) was just “okay.”
Duration: The whole experience lasted for about an hour, and the cruise would only start after everyone is done with their meal.
If you ask me now if I would recommend it, I guess if you have a tight itinerary, your time and money could be better spent elsewhere (and I know a place where there’s actually good food, although about the same price as well!). But I won’t discourage you to try this one as well. Things might have been better now, anyway. So there, happy cruising!