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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stored Treasure: The magic spell cast by Loboc River Cruise

BAYANIHAN REPUBLIC:

Stored Treasure / 30 May 2010 
http://digitista.blogspot.com/2010/05/magic-spell-cast-by-loboc-river-cruise.html





About 9 years ago, the small province of Bohol became big in my eyes as I witnessed its magnificent natural beauty and wonderful people.  It captivated me that up to this time, Bohol still lands in the top list of my most desired Philippine destinations.  The province has it all -- the world famous Chocolate Hills, the so-called smallest primate in the world Tarsier, top diving destination Balicasag Island, Boracay rival Panglao / Alona Beach, Philippine pride Loboc Children's Choir, historical treasures Dagohoy and Sanduguan sites, and religious gems Baclayon and Daois churches, among many others.

Left photo shows foydi playing with the tarsiers.  Right photo shows foydi right after his snorkling experience in Balicasag Island.

The province may be small but I think I'll never run out of things to do, sites to check out and people to meet everytime I visit the place.  And for this trip, I was able to experience the Loboc River Cruise, dolphin watching in Pamilacan Island, tour and food trip in Bohol Bee Farm and first class stay in Bohol Beach Club. 'But I also checked out the world famous Chocolate Hills, manmade mahogany forest and Baclayon Church.  For this post, let me focus first on the River Cruise because for sure, this will be novel like if I include all the sites in one write-up. =)



From Cebu City, we had a two hour ride going to Bohol via SuperCat ferry.

Leaving Cebu City for Bohol


A kid enjoying the sites of the bay

Loboc River

The Loboc River Cruise

With PhP400 per head, I together with my companions was able to get access to the much acclaimed Loboc River Cruise.  As we walk towards the riverside gate, folk music welcomed us courtesy of the Loboc Rondalla.  And after a few more steps, I finally got into the much desired improvised river vessel.

The Loboc Rondalla



And who could ever be the best guide to tour us around, well he's no other than the mayor of the said town, the honorable Leon Calipusan. And though he's the top man in the municipality, our tour did not become stiff or boringly serious at all!  In fact, our Loboc River Cruise experience became candid, free flowing and cool as Mayor Leon seemed to be just one of the gang, our hip big brother. =)

Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan, Loboc's main tour guide!

The gang with Mayor Leon
We started the cruise at around 1 PM so it's terrific that fantastic food accompanied us during the trip.  And as the vessel started moving, the band gave a very engaging performance, we sang with them, moved our heads and shoulders, and danced.  Then right after we passed through the bridge, Loboc River cast a spell and put everyone in awe as we witnessed the beauty, magnificence and magic of this part of Bohol.







Another thing that captured my eyes are the river stops where community folks and children perform native dance and songs.  Mayor Leon said they discovered that the people have natural talent in the performing arts hence they conducted trainings and workshops so that the people of Loboc can harness the full potential of their gifts; hence the birth of Balsa Tourism Project for Livelihood.  No wonder, Loboc became the sanctuary for the internationally acclaimed Loboc Children's Choir which won first prize with a gold medal in the Europe and its Songs Festivals in 2003.  Before these people were just living simple lives, perhaps unheard, but now their voices blended with the melody and harmony of life, which many have started to notice and been proud of.

The cruise stops at the Balsa Tourism Project.

Foreign and local tourists loved the folks' warm welcome and performance.


video

the smiles that accompany the graceful dance and wonderful voice


video
Kuradang is the traditional folk dance of the Visayan people usually danced during special occasions, parties, reunions, etc.


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