It’s become a tradition during the Holy Week holidays for my brother and I to return back to our home in Cebu. Though I have been coming home more frequently this year, every time still feels like I’m on a vacation. But I was extra pumped for this visit because it would include a road trip to the Bojo River in the town of Aloguinsan in Cebu, Philippines!
I literally had taken no part in planning this road trip or even choosing the destination — so needless to say, I had done no research whatsoever prior to trip. Now, I’m the type of person who gets a bit uneasy not knowing anything about a destination (though I know I should let loose sometimes). This trip proved back to me that not always being in the know may also be a good thing: because it means having zero expectations and keeps everything as a nice little surprise! Now on with our Bojo River experience!
I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with this place — the natural beauty of Bojo River surely lured me in, but it was the hospitality of the local community that made this day trip such an enjoyable and memorable one. We could immediately tell that this river cruise was definitely different from all others because of the lovely little touches done by the locals. They really went to great lengths to welcome us!
I later found out the Bojo River Cruise & Eco-Cultural Tour was actually created by the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS), a local organization, as an alternative source of income to their main livelihood of fishing. The proceeds from these tours would then fund other local community projects and programs. In fact, the BAETAS won the 2017 Asean Tourism Award for best community group and the Bojo River Cruise was also named as one of Green Destination’s 2016 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations in the world. This also won the 2015 UN Tourism InSPIRE Award for Best Community-based Tourism Initiative in Asia-Pacific.
We opted for the package that included native lunch and a river cruise with the use of a glass-bottom boat to see the corals underwater. We arrived at the jump-off point for the Bojo River Nature Reserve at around noon, just in time for lunch. There is a short nature walk that leads up to the river which was just as beautiful as the river. We were then welcomed by serenading locals and a good-looking lunch array. It was so refreshing to see how hospitable everyone was!
After lunch, our tour guide briefed us on the cruise, the BAETAS, and the local community who all had their own roles in this tour. It was so inspiring to see how hard working and self-sustainable these people were! At this point, I was already so impressed by this tour — and we even haven’t gone on the cruise yet! Haha!
The river cruise tour would be done on a small wooden bangka as motor boats weren’t allowed to run along the river as it was too narrow. The ride down the river was not too long, but it was undoubtedly entertaining as our local guide educated us on the flora and fauna all around us. The place was so well preserved that you could actually see and feel how clean the water was.
When we got to the river mouth (where the river meets the sea), we moved to the glass-bottom boat. On the regular river cruise, this would be where the tour ends and guests could take a dip in the river and take shade under some mangroves. We went for the extended tour on the glass-bottom motorboat that took us out into the sea. The scenery both on ground-level around us and underwater below us were breathtaking. Our guide even provided more information about the different kinds of corals we saw passing by. The open waters were a bit rough so after some time, we turned back towards the river mouth and took a dip into the water ourselves. The water was so nice and refreshing on that hot summer day!
Needless to say, I would highly recommend visitors and locals (my fellow Cebuanos) alike to take a trip down to the Aloguinsan to revel in the natural beauty of the Bojo River. It’s definitely a great idea of a day trip for the whole family — it’s not too far away from Cebu City and it doesn’t involve any extremely strenuous activity so everyone, young or old, can enjoy!
The municipality of Aloguinsan is around 59 kilometers southwest of Cebu City — that would translate into around 2 hours of travel from the city. We took a private car for the entire duration of the trip but there are also public transportation options as well. When getting to Aloguinsan, you would need to first visit the Tourism Office (The Farmhouse) where you would confirm your reservation and pay all the fees. From there, it’s another 10 to 15-minute ride to the jump off point of the Bojo River Cruise.
Reservations & Costs
One of the reasons why the Bojo River has been well maintained and preserved all these years is because it is never overcrowded. The BAETAS have implemented a reservation system where there is only a limited number of slots for visitors per day. With that, you can contact the Aloguinsan Tourism Office directly and reserve your slot here.
We paid around P600 per person for the entire Bojo River Eco-Cultural Tour which included a native lunch, river cruise, afternoon snacks at The Farmhouse, and additional ride into the sea in the glass-bottom boat for some coral sight-seeing. There are other packages available as well, best to inquire with the Tourism Office directly.
I really enjoyed discovering one of the hidden gems in my home of Cebu — goes to show that you don’t need to go far to find amazing destinations as they might just be right under you nose! Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you’ve uncovered beautiful spots in your hometown! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
I visited the Bojo River in Aloguinsan, Cebu in the Philippines back in April 2017.
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Giselle is the owner and author of Giselle Wanders Off, a travel blog and creative outlet where she captures her adventures at home and abroad in hopes of inspiring others to go see the world as well!