MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – The popular Loboc River Cruise in Bohol province is again accepting guests after an intensive post-Typhoon Odette rehabilitation.
Lourdes Sultan, manager of Travel Village Tours, a Loboc River Cruise operator, said their floating restaurants have also resumed offering buffet lunch services.
Sultan said the cruise briefly resumed in the last quarter of 2021 as pandemic restrictions started to ease, but their operations were again suspended after super typhoon Odette hit Bohol province on December 16, 2021.
In a statement, Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, of the Central Visayas office of the Department of Tourism (DOT-7), said the Loboc River Cruise is among various tourism activities in the region that they are “restarting” as the country re-opens its borders to travellers.
Last March 1, four cruise vessels were launched with a maximum 50 percent passenger capacity or 30-35 guests per boat in compliance with protocols prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Four more boats will be serviceable by the end of this month after these complete its rehabilitation.
“The cruise promises an enriched heritage experience. The refurbished boats are fitted with details in the Visayan vernacular architecture. Guests will enjoy a more elegant, culturally-attuned journey through the waterway. The boats are now wider. Polished wooden floors, stained glass, capiz and callado details have been installed on the vessels,” the DOT statement reads.
Cruise operators, says Sultan, also saw the opportunity to implement aesthetic enhancements with the repair of the twin-hulled motorized vessels. The upgrade is part of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council’s direction for tourism facilities to adopt the Visayan vernacular theme.
“As tourism activities ground to a halt with the declaration of the pandemic in 2020, the local government of Loboc and cruise operators hankered down to masterplan the conduct of the well-loved river trip.”
“They began with assigning separate entrance and exit buildings within the river cruise complex. The two- storey airconditioned entry facility houses ticket booths and waiting areas seating up to 150 guests with consideration of the IATF distancing protocol,” the DOT statement reads.
Since they resumed operations, Sultan said they have been getting an average of 150 visitors per day. Of the number, at least 25 percent are foreign visitors.
“Tourists appear to have been just waiting for pandemic restrictions to be lifted,” the DOT statement reads.
“DOT7 reiterates its commitment to industry players all over the region. We congratulate the Province of Bohol, LGU Loboc and our floating restaurant operators for the initiative to enhance the Loboc River Cruise and for the successful reboot,” Tamano said.
Visitors are advised to book ahead and present proofs of their vaccination upon entry.
A tour like no other in Aloguinsan’s Bojo River