Friday, October 29, 2010

Bojo River Ecotourism, Aloguinsan, Cebu

We left Cebu around 9:45 and we finally reached Aloguinsan by noon. After all the media attention that this tour has received, we were surprised that there were no wayfinding signs to Bojo River.  We drove up to the municipio and still no signs. So, we just asked and this is the direction we got, - go up on the road to the church, keep going till you see an elementary school, then next will be a high school and just keep going- so we did. Until we were in a very mountainous area- could we be lost. On the roadside, there is a bus that turned over and fell on the side of the road. Hmmm, not a good sign. There was no river to be found. We persisted until we saw this sign:

A few meters from the sign there is a small sari-sari store and a waiting shed and  we parked our car beside it. Within minutes, there were representatives of  BAETAS or the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association. They told us that there was a base camp by the river where we could eat and from there we will take our river ride. We took a short walk and had our first glimpse of a TUBOD or spring. They say that there are 100 springs that feed the BOJO river.

A few more meters...
Not bad, a short walk, and we were at the base camp. We were greeted by the vp of the fisherfolk association -Rudney Carcuevas and he explained to us how they were organized by the Local Government under the leadership of then mayor -Cynthia Moreno. They have been offering eco tours for over a year now and they provide guided river tours, birdwatching and mangrove planting. All the proceeds of their tours go to the members of the association and the town.

If you are interested to experience this ecotourism initiative by the Bojo fisherfolks, contact the ff:
President of BAETAS: Jomelyn Manigos- 0926-4906-670
V. President: Rudney Carcuevas- 0905-9133-055 or 469-5528
Municipal Tourism office: 469-5604 (Noli/Irene)

They charge P600 per person for a river tour with lunch and snack. For us, since we were considered walk-in guests- they charged us only P300/person without meals.  Each guest had a banca and a boatman. We found two kayaks under the base camp hut, so we added P200/person for the use of the kayaks. By the way, they have a very clean and modern bathroom with running water. So, no worries about bathing after swimming in the river and the sea.
Rudney, the vice president of BAETAS

Our knowledgeable and able boatmen
Before we started with the ecotour of Bojo, we were seated to listen to an introduction of their ecotourism efforts, the importance of mangroves in the detrital food chain, and the endemic, resident and migratory birds found in the area. They were able to get support from USC and Cebu Biodiversity Foundation for the inventory of their flora and fauna. So, a lot of good information given by the locals based on their training from   cooperative efforts of  local educational and scientific institutions. Nice application of knowledge, yes, bring that knowledge to where it can be used for conservation efforts. Now, the locals respect the value of their flora and fauna.

So, off we went to our individual boats and personal boatmen and eco guides. They told us of interesting tales about the barter trade between the locals and the Spaniards that occured by the mouth of the river, of sea water being cooked in cauldrons of coconut juice and turned into delicious and special sea salt, of a generous cave-dwelling fairy (their version of Maria Cacao), of treasure hunters who blasted the cliffs and the consequential disappearance of the monkeys that lived in the area. The river spans 1.5 kilometers until it pours to the sea. The river is lined by nipa palms and other mangrove varieties. A predominant variety is the saging-saging kind ( its name based on the shape of its propagules that look like miniature violet/yellow bananas). There are also patches of mangrove reforestation efforts. There is also a short bamboo observation walkway one can use to explore the mangroves closely.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures coz I forgot to charge my waterproof camera.

We had the chance to swim in the sea. The water was cool and refreshing, not too salty. Actually, they have a good and diverse marine/coral life in the area. So, next time we want to come back and go snorkeling. After an hour of swimming and watching the sayaw birds, we headed back to the base camp.

Did our tour end, yes and no. Yes, the river tour ended but the interaction with the locals began. One boatman started strumming his guitar and sang and the others joined, so we joined too...

We left around 4pm and we drove to Pinamungahan. Our day did not end yet, we rode our bikes from Pinamungahan to Toledo City. It is a very pleasant ride. Pinamungahan is very flat. We rode on the coastal higway - no traffic, lots of friendly people and beautiful coastal views. The area is lined with affordable beach resorts, with signs that say - SING AND SWIM... Must be a favorite pastime in that area. The traffic started to be congested as we reached Toledo city. We had dinner at the newly opened Mang Inasal at the Metro Plaza. We took the shorter route home via Uling, Naga. By 8pm, we were back in the city.

What a great day- experiencing the therapeutic effects of nature- a flowing river, dancing birds, mangrove forest, blue sea, cool seawater; an easy multi-sport adventure- kayaking, swimming and biking; hanging out and singing with the locals. And we got home safely, Thank you God!


  1. Sounds very much worth the trip! Thanks for the directions, Ed! And by the way, niadto pud si Ray Bael diri and had more than 70 photos of the place. He was clearly as impressed as you are :)

  2. great place! great people! i highly recommend this place....

  3. i've been there just few weeks ago and yes, it was one of my best nature trip so far.... i'm hoping for visiting the place again.....


  4. people their are very hospitable.. they sing a bisaya while we had our lunch.

  5. i have a blog on their singing albularyo nga buta. check it out

  6. Do you want participate in the Bojo River Ecotourism Tour and for your stay experience true, simple philippino lifestyle close to beautiful nature?

    For your stay in Aloguinsan, you can be guest of the Villarosa family.

    Were you stay
    Our simple house is situated on a small hill only 8 minutes away from town center and 15 minutes from the river cruise start. The surrounding nature is peaceful and quiet. Your room is simple with a soft gymnastic mat and pillow only as a bed. We have running water since a short while, but your shower still is taken We are happy to welcome you to our table or you can have a private meal if you wish. The crickets will sing you to your sleep.

    Our free-running chicken provide the eggs for simple philippino dishes or we can provide other food if you tell us in advance. (We recommend trying the local mango!)

    Getting here
    The best way is to take the bus from south bus terminal. A one-way ticket is 85 PHP.
    We can arrange for your pickup from the bus station by motorbike (# PHP) as well as to the Bojo River Ecotourism Tour. Remember to check the tides so you go there when it is near high tide

    Your room is good for up to 4 people. It is 300 PHP per night for the room. Simple philippino meals are 100 PHP. Or we can go to the market according to your wishes.

    Reservation and questions
    Please call (+63) 908 971 2415 or email

  7. If you would have come earlier, the high tide is a more beautiful sight. Anyway, while the camera is a very important tool while touring an adventure, forgetting to energize (the camera)is looking forward to a second visit.

  8. wow nice place i'm excited to come here..!!!!