CEBU CITY, Philippines— If you think only beaches and waterfalls make up the beauty of the southside of Cebu, then clearly you haven’t experienced the underrated calmness of Aloguinsan’s Bojo River.
Local and foreign tourists, who want to experience being one with nature only need to visit Bojo River, an experience that takes two to three hours of being on a cruise, swimming and of course, picture-taking.
The Bojo River Cruise costs P400 per person for walk-in guests without lunch and P650 per person for inclusions such as lunch, snacks, and complimentary treats.
For a more intimate cruise experience, we recommend a small banca that fits three persons including the guide. This comes with a guide, a member of the community-based Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS), who is well-trained to talk to you about the history of Aloguinsan.
Bojo River’s community guides are so well trained and well prepared that they can even regal you in a storytelling spell about local and scientific names of the different types of mangroves — and how their presence contribute in the healthy biosphere and ecosystem.
The best part about Bojo River Cruise is that it is ran by a community-based association so expect that the guides really earn for themselves as half of the fee you paid goes to them.
Before going on the cruise itself, your guide will give you a briefing which includes safety precautions.
Each person will be given a life jacket.
To enjoy the cruise, you will be on board “boats” called baroto.
If there are only two persons or three persons in your “group,” opt for the small baroto as it offers are more intimate experience. But if you’re a big group, say a group of 10 individuals, then go ahead and fill the big baroto.
There are other river cruises in the country including the Loboc River Cruise in Bohol province.
But what sets the 1.4 kilometer Bojo River apart is that it is placid and takes guests in a panoramic cruise of mangrove forests that are home to about 60 bird species.
The town of Aloguisan embraced the sustainable model of operating a river cruise on June 14, 2009.
The town faces Negros Island and Bojo River empties to the Tañon Strait, a protected seascape rich in marine biodiversity that divides mainland Cebu and Negros Island.
In 2016, Aloguinsan was included in the list of the world’s top 100 sustainable tourism destinations, a recognition given by Green Destination, an online global partnership of five big names in sustainable tourism.
It is endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, National Geographic, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Located 73.2 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, the town of Aloguinsan was a recipient of the 2015 UN Tourism INSPIRE Awards for Best Community-based Tourism Initiative in Asia-Pacific.
In 2017, BAETAS, the community association that runs Bojo River Cruise, win an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Tourism award for best community group.
To get to Bojo River, head to the Cebu South Bus Terminal.
In the terminal, look for a bus that will take you to Pinamungajan and ask the driver to drop you off at The Farmhouse in Aloguinsan. The bus guys know the place too well.
From there, it’s easy to find your way to start your cruise experience.
Fare is between P80 to P100 for a travel time that usually lasts for two to three hours.
Aside from the cruise, sumptuous lunch awaits you at the Bojo River Cruise should you decide to include meals in your package.
So… grab your bag, make your way to the Bojo River and experience a cruise like no other. / celr