Famous for its lunch cruises along the scenic and winding river, Loboc Bohol is also one of the few locations where you can observe the Tarsier monkey. This is a small nocturnal animal with large red eyes – and one of the world’s smallest primates. We planned to spend 3 nights there, as a break from the more commercial areas in Panglao.
From Alona, we traveled back to Tagbilaran and again stocked up with fruit and snacks at the mall. To get to Loboc, we took one of the small yellow buses from the bus stop outside the mall (25 pesos).
The trip took about 45 minutes via the coast road. These buses travel on through to Carmen and Talibon, so you need to let the conductor know you want to get off at Loboc (they don’t always stop there).
The bus got very packed, so we were crammed into 2 tiny seats with our rucksacks and side bags (and shopping bags) on our knees. The seats are not designed for foreigners: you have to be a 5-foot 50 kilo Filipino to fit comfortably. Fortunately, we had just a young girl next to us on our 3-seat row.
We climbed out at Loboc, then hiked back 2 km to find our lodging; The Fox and Firefly.
The Fox & Firefly is is a very small resort on the river (you turn off the main road at the Petron petrol station). There are only 2 traditional cottages and a 6-person dormitory (just a larger cottage with 6 beds).
We were greeted with a lemon and ginger welcome drink. The resort is peaceful and relaxing. The accommodation is basic but adequate. The outdoor toilet and bathroom is shared, which may not suit everyone. They provide good breakfast, lunch and dinner options at reasonable prices.
Loboc Paddle Boarding
The Fox & Firefly resort have a rustic jetty on the river from where you can set off for accompanied daytime or night time river trips on their stand-up paddle boards. You can also swim from here, if you’re comfortable swimming in fast-moving rivers.
We had 3 nights in Loboc, but were already beginning to fear that this may have been too much. It gets surprisingly cold at night, though it is only 5 km from the coast, and not particularly high up. I ended up supplementing my sheet with a towel to keep out the chills.
Activity options include hiring a motorbike, day or night time paddle boarding (at night time, you visit the fireflies), boat cruise on the river, and zip-lining.
Loboc River Walk
We took a 3-hour walk upriver (along the opposite riverbank from the road, and through paddy fields) as far as a small waterfall. This is a pleasant walk. mostly by the river. You need to cross the river at Loboc – across a large concrete bridge. Then you take the first side road right, and just follow your nose until the waterfall is in sight (although you can’t quite reach the waterfall without taking a swim up river).
Loboc itself is not so much a town as a few scattered buildings along a stretch of road, including a couple of small eateries, bakeries and shops.
Blink and you’ll miss it.
We ate at a couple of local places, but didn’t eat anything very remarkable. I hate to admit it, but there was a pizza place on the main square where we had 2 very good, freshly made pizzas with local beer. It was run by just a young girl on her own: She makes the pizzas from scratch in the Italian way, right in front of your table. Well recommended.
There are clear signs everywhere of the recent earthquake and flood damage, notably at the church on the main road.
Villa Limpia – Loboc Bohol
For our last full day in Loboc, we took a jeepney (8 pesos) back down to Loay on the coast road. We were headed to the Villa Limpia just outside Loay.
Villa Limpia is a small beach resort that charges outside guests 25 pesos to use their pool and facilities (towels included). We had the place to ourselves, and spent a few hours by the pool. We also had a decent lunch there for around 200 pesos each.
The nearby beach is a bit rough, but has several karaoke booths if that’s your thing. This day out made a relaxing inexpensive alternative to the standard activities typically on offer in Loboc.
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