Thursday, April 8, 2010

Loboc River. Another Cruise/Lunch, Another Story

So, on the boat we were! And we were happily front seat just two steps from the buffet table! I was up front taking pictures of whatevers when I heard one of the crews do her usual welcome remarks and declared lunch was served. What else, of course I was first to toe that buffet line, then quickly signaled for my companions to follow me. Note: at 1:46PM, yep 1346H, all of your boatmates are tourists who have also missed their schedules by staying too long at their previous tour destinations, therefore are quite hungry and craving for lunch. So, I think poise and finesse are two words you may want to temper down a little bit if you come to this place at such a time. Just don’t be wild hehe. Okay?!

Hey, on this boat that we took, the buffet did not even have that extensive a variety of choices if I may compare them to previous tours. But having seen that red thingy (second tray) beside the fish fillet, ah I was already fine, and I knew I’d have a fulfilling lunch. Plus pineapple, banana and maja blanca and coke, ah I knew I was going to like everything. It was good that we were just very hungry and not what you might call “nalipasan ng gutom”! And our table went silent for a short while. Indicator for me that everyone was busy devouring what was on their plates hehe. Hey, am getting to like pancit with my rice (that’s the 6th tray and 7th is rice)! I don’t know, maybe am now becoming truly bisdak! Should that be an indicator? Might as well be hehe.

What else do I have to see about this upriver cruise that I was taking for the nth time? Ah, as I always say “there’d be something new everytime I come back”. For the most part, I busied myself being tour-guide to the companion and two drivers as we merrily took on the hefty lunch. I caught myself even already aware at which part of the river are the vines that local children use to swing and dive into the river. Even already knew, and of course proudly pointed out to them when we passed by the tarsier viewing area. And of course, I was not wrong telling them to watch out for some stationary rafts with uniformed (or is that costumed) locals who play guitars and ukulele very well as they sing and dance for us the tourists! I should be a tour guide now hehe!

Here’s one more thing I expected and proudly alerted my “wards”. At a part of the cruise where most guests were already lazing around after the fine lunch, I saw two dudes swimming towards our boat. Not kids, boys probably in their 20s or even 30s. Told my companions to watch where they’d go or what they’ll do. And we all merrily did (discreetly). I have observed this “occurrence” many a tour ago and I like it. The companion’s reaction was a kind of sigh bordering on pity while the 2 drivers’ eyes seemed to have flickered at what they witnessed. They seemed to be saying… “what a privilege”! Anyway, for those who are not yet in the know, those bigger boys swim to the boat, clamber up by the aft section where they receive left-over food (already packed in plastic bags) from the boat’s crews. That’s pre-arranged of course! I know as I already asked about it 'many a tour ago'. And those that swim towards the boat are either close friends of the crews or their relatives. AND, the food given is not scrap. Crews get it from the buffet containers when none of the guests seem to still have the stomach for anymore morsel. I think that’s nice. Share what is worth sharing instead of throwing them to trash later.

Music on board was so-so, and the manong singing solo with his “electronic” piano did get some song requests and applause a number of times. As everyone silently sat or had pictorials while the boat cruised, the companion loudly wondered why many of the little bancas we were seeing on the river had outrigger fittings only on one side. Ha, and it was time for the two drivers to rise and shine! They eagerly educated us about those. Like? Like they told us that when the hull of a banca is properly made, there is actually no use for the outrigger on both sides. One is enough to support it from tipping over. Oh ha?! I asked why and the reply was rather scientific. My driver told us that the bamboo frame touching the water is already enough to support and float a banca being usually small (not tall). He further pointed to us at some of the motorized bancas we saw that those kinds needed “katig” on both sides since the bodies are built taller with plywood (the walls) than just the real hull (the carved, solid wood) that is down at the bottom. That enlightened me! Here’s more… driver says the “half” outrigger is usually enough since this river is very calm anyway. And they are usually built on the right side half of the boat because… you guessed it… this country is “drive-right”, so that farmers and fishermen plying these rivers have no problem passing each other even at narrower portions upriver. See?! I learned something again! Yey!

Anyway, our drivers did have fun watching the “performances” at those rafts that we passed by!

Happy. And I still maintain, even if it’s the nth time I cruise on Loboc River, there’d always be something worth my while.

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34


  1. I wonder if we have different caterer? Coz I did not like the food at all. Too bad for me.

    It was raining hard during our cruise, is that the reason why I didn't see any performers?

    Btw, nice blog :D

  2. Hi Tina,
    There are I think 3 or 4 such providers having their own "registration tables" at the entrance to the boarding area. I think each of those have different caterers. On this one, I was not even that 'sold' at the choices, but when I saw the shrimps... I calmed down hehe!

    Thanks for dropping by.