Floating through a jungle river comes with a certain atmosphere. From hanging palm trees to bamboo rafts and riverside houses, every time I cross one of these rivers I feel like I’m on the road to paradise.
I had the opportunity to cross the Philippine Loboc River on Bohol Island. Not on a longboat, not even on a bangka, but on nothing less than a floating restaurant! Understanding my love for food, this is pretty exciting. There is something intriguing about crossing an off season muddy river – I was not there in the right time – while chewing down chicken drumsticks! The calm of the river and the occasional house on the side make you jealous of the locals who live there.
Unfortunately, this peaceful piece of paradise has been falling in the hands of tourism for far too long! The river has become crowded with floating restaurants, the food on the one even more terrible than the other. Loud entertainment apparently scares off hundreds off endangered Tarsier monkeys (world smallest primate), thus changing their ecological habitat. I couldn’t help but feel guilty for being there…
Our driver told us this was where the Tarsier monkey’s used to bath. Unfortunately they don’t come here anymore…
However, if you can look past this guilt-bearing trip, there is something special about it. I have never fallen more in love with nature than in the Philippines, Bohol being just another wonderful example of it! And of course, in The Philippines, they know how to make a great show. Our floating restaurant eventually docked halfway to leave us with this:
Nowhere else do you get this! More than a dozen people playing Ukulele’s and afterwards, you can get on deck. I didn’t dance but I saw some people breaking loose! There is this thing where you jump in and out of bamboo sticks that are being smashed against each other. Dangerous dancing. Always fun!
Bohol is much more than the Loboc river, but this wonderful place is certainly something you wouldn’t want to miss! I did make myself a promise to not return to these noisy restaurants, once is enough! The Tarsier habitat is just a little bit more important to me!