Cebu Destinations : Bojo River Cruise

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Don't you ever wish to go in a relaxing cruise some place where pollution is not an issue and everything around you is brimming with life and green foliage. Now amazon has made this river cruise thing famous but danger lurks in every corner of that river and somewhere in the country another favorite river cruise exist in Bohol but tourists usually crowd out that experience. If you want a solitary river cruise experience where not a lot of people knows of then Bojo River Cruise in Cebu might be perfect for you. The water is so clean it glows like emerald and can be as transparent as diamond when you held it in your palm. What makes it even more exciting is you end the cruise into the foreboding sea with beautiful limestone formation lining the exit like gateway to a hidden paradise where beautiful corals & colorful sea creatures awaits you.
The sea glows in mostly blue, some lakes in frosty turquoise but the colors of river always seem to fascinate and creep me the most. Likely, it evokes some childhood memories in my head for watching too many monster movies such as the Green Lagoon or maybe it's my phobia of deep body of water which resulted from a near drowning childhood experience.

Nevertheless, this did not stop me from wanting to experience the distinctive river cruise experience that the municipality of Aloguinsan has to offer. I've read about it a couple of years then when they are still actively introducing it to the public but it did not really pique my curiosity because the pictures I see are rather dull and not all that inviting. The interest came when I saw the river with my naked eyes after an untimely detour here with the rest of my waterfall chasing buddies. We were not able to experience it at that time because it is too crowded when we arrived past noon time. I promise to myself that I will return and experience this cruise even if I have to do it alone.


Taken during my first visit in Bojo River
The opportunity came months after that first meeting with the river when we concluded our rewarding waterfall chasing trip in Alegria. My favorite travel buddy has visited me at that time and I knew I have to tour him in a spot where we both haven't tried yet. Instead of going back to the city like what our companions did we decided to tackle another adventure going straight to Aloguinsan from Alegria via Mantalongon road. This is an exciting experience for me because it is filled with uncertainty because I am not sure if there are habal habal drivers in Barili willing to take us to Aloguinsan via Mantalongon road especially when it is super late in the afternoon when we arrive in Barili. Mantalongon road has been known to be a hideaway for bandits and supernatural occurrences have been reported in that area and in a few minutes it will soon get dark.


Luckily, we instantaneously found a habal-habal driver willing to drop us off in Aloguinsan when we got off the bus in Barili for a justifiable rate. We bargained for Php 75.00 per head but the driver pleaded that it is just enough for his gasoline so we settle for double that price Php 150.00 each and an extra tip when we arrive in the town of Aloguinsan. The ride took almost an hour and it is indeed dangerous at night because there're not enough street lights to lit the road but it is nowhere scary.

It was super late when we got there and we are too tired to be doing some exploration in the town so we decided crashed in some affordable accommodations in town and call it a night. The exciting experience can wait til tomorrow and my head is brewing with possibilities in the river cruise especially when I found out there is actually a thriving coral reef in the river's exit to the sea.


Excited much!
The excitement propels us both to arrive as early as eight in the morning in Bojo River which to our astonishment still not operational because surprise! surprise! the river's too shallow for the small boat to float. Unfortunately, this river goes into a low tide which I think is odd. It is a good thing that the wooden bridge, which was destroyed in my first visit, has been partly repaired so we explore that instead. 


This is what a low tide in Bojo river looks like

EXPLORING THE WOODEN BRIDGE


 
Naturally, I am not easily fascinated with mangroves because they can be found anywhere in my home province but there is just something so riveting when you get real up close with those trees without wetting your feet. It gives me an invigorating feel of relaxation of being one with nature. They conveniently labeled the plants and trees we passed through and that added an appeal to the experience which I think made it good for educational tours. We easily breeze through this activity for less than half an hour.


PEACEFUL MORNING IN HERMIT'S COVE


 
Surprisingly, we left river and decided to head over to this cove while we wait for the tide to rise up. It's just around 10 minutes of habal-habal ride for only Php 10.00. The last time I was here is in a weekend afternoon and the beachfront naturally is filled with people at that time but early morning in a Monday makes for a solitary moment. There's not a single guest in the beach besides us and the water in low tide sparkles like diamonds when hit by a morning sun. In this moment, I see Hermit's Cove in an entirely different beauty and one that I really love - pristine, lonesome and exceptionally peaceful. 


I enjoyed swimming in the water of Hermit's Cove during low tide and the white sand is more defined.

BOJO RIVER CRUISE

 
After spending almost two hours in the beach we head back to the river. This is the main attraction that we came here for. Naturally, we want to allot a bigger time to this experience. Around ten in the morning the place now is crawling with people and all of them are staff ready to take guests for the river adventure. Since this happened on a weekday we were the only guests yet again. 

Some damaged boat left out in the river added an aesthetic look to the spot
Before the cruise can start we had a short orientation with one of the BAETA (Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association) staff after paying the fee of Php 400.00 per pax for the cruise alone. The orientation is about the humble beginning of the cruise and how Gwendolyn Garcia discover this spot during the peak of Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo and publicize it to be a known tourist attraction. I really admire the tourism effort of that politician and she's responsible in promoting & developing most of the major attraction now famous in the province of Cebu but her corruption issues erased all that. I was too excited to start the cruise at that time to ever pay attention of the orientation and only the important ones stick out in my memory. I just want to start to badly because the water is calling.


A small boat is waiting here when everything's ready
My heart is brimming with excitement when it is finally time to start the cruise. All of my worries of deep water and rivers in general left my head. They gave us a small boat that would probably carry around a maximum of three people and naturally I was the first to hop into the boat and seated in the front. They handed us some life vests and a pair of umbrella to protect from the sun's heat which we never really use anyway. I was in a selfish mode at that time every thoughts stem from "I want" - I want an unobstructed view of the cruise, I want a photo taken in front of the boat, I want to be the first one to see the exit out to the sea etc. 



Honestly, the first half of the cruise really bored me. I was a hyper kid a few minutes ago and now all I see are mangroves after mangroves and the river. No interesting thing on sight and there's not a lot of fishes to see as well which I'd hoped to find. No avian activity happening over the trees and an appearance of a proboscis monkey *kidding!* or any mammals at all would help liven up the experience but there's none. So I said to myself this is a time to slow down and take in all the raw energy in the nature all around me and it actually works. My hype was replaced with a relaxing energy and I started to appreciate everything that surrounds me - the cleanliness of the river, the well nourished vegetation and there are actually interesting fishes swimming if I look real close.



TIP! Listen to what the guide have to say because they are trained for it. The cruise would be more fun and educational by doing so.

The fun started in the second half of the cruise. When the boat started to make some turns I see some inlets with boats parking on their shores. The marine life is starting to flourish as we are nearing the sea. Near the exit to the sea we spotted a patrol man hidden in the shade. The guide waved to say 'hi' to him and told us he is patrolling the exit for possible intrusion of not sharks or saltwater crocodiles *disappointed* but those island hopping package who are not welcomed inside the river. 


The patrol man on guard mode under the mangrove's shade

 THE EXIT TO THE SEA



The signature look of the cruise is the beautiful exit that I see in photos from people posting about the river. I thought to myself before that's the only thing interesting part of this cruise and it did lived up to its reputation. The towering rocks covered with green foliage evokes a scene in The Lord of the Rings in my head. That was the best time to pose for a photo but the boatman somehow focused in taking us to the sea fast that he ignores my request to slow down the boat. The sad part in here is I don't have a satisfying photo of that signature exit but awaits us in the sea more than makes up for it.



INTO THE SEA


All I can say is it's beautiful out there! We were floating in a huge coral reef and below us is brimming with life. My companion Emir was so excited to snorkel instantly with the gears he brought with him and since I'm not fond of such activity I just swim around and enjoy the water. We spend more time in the sea and transferring from one reef. Since there are no other group around that time we are allowed to spend more than time that it is permitted in the area and the major part of the fun happened out there in the sea.














Was it worth the Php 400.00 fee? I'd say it depends in what interest you most. If you're the type who loves the water and the idea of snorkeling around in the open sea will make you very happy then it is definitely worth it but if you're the type of tourist seeking a unique experience then you should definitely keep those expectation in check because you might be disappointed. The Php 400.00 package for less than an hour cruise is a bit too much without some welcome drinks or some snacks. There is a much expensive Php 650.00 which includes a welcome party, a buffet lunch and more but this can only be availed for a minimum of five people. The price is a bit steep for the less than hour experience but knowing you help the community through that way made it all worth it. 

Contact the Aloguinsan Tourism Office for reservation and be advised of the best time to do this activity. Coming too early in the morning and late afternoon makes you miss the experience because of the low tide.
  • Phone: (6332) 469-9312
  • Fax: (6332) 469-9034
  • Mobile : 0905-9133055 (Rudney Carcuevas, head of BAETA)
  • E-mail: nonela.villegas@aloguinsan.gov.ph
For a complete guide of Aloguinsan and all its destinations with proper budget breakdown. Read Cebu Destinations : Aloguinsan

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.

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