One of Bohol’s best-selling and signature attractions, the Loboc River cruise is always on top of every tourist’s “must-do” list when in the island.
This is evident in the traffic of visitors at the Loboc Tourism Center ranging from about 800 a day during off-season but could easily reach to as high as 1,500 and even 2,000 during long weekends, holidays and peak months, especially in summer.
The cruise commences at the Loboc Tourism Complex, constructed to ensure orderly and safe passage for tourists, with an air-conditioned waiting area, comfy lounge and seats, clean rest rooms, standby medic, and souvenir shops nearby.
Tourists then embark on floating restaurants with a capacity of 45, dig into the buffet table for lunch while serenaded by a local musician onboard as the boat moves gently along palm-fringed banks and winds up beautifully in Busay, where a host of small waterfalls cascade in a backdrop of lush vegetation.
From the moment you step into the port until you disembark, music is being a provided by local musikeros. A stopover in a stationary bamboo balsa, where an ensemble of singing folks are gathered, invites guests to a taste of local culture and entertainment.
The attractiveness of the cruise experience hinges on the beautiful blend of nature and culture – in the sights, the sounds, and the local flavors that excite the senses.
Now, taste with confidence the flavors of the floating restaurant with food prepared hygienically and served systematically by its new commissary.
THE LOBOC COMMISSARY
“The concept is to have one kitchen for all floating restaurant operators.” Veteran Food and Beverage manager, consultant and TESDA trainer Mr. Nick Matias explained when asked how the Loboc Commissary started.
“Our vision is to upgrade the quality of food being served at the floating restaurants and make it as hygienic as possible with international standards.”
After several years of operation, expectedly, various issues also start to float, such as those concerning food safety and sanitation. Furthermore, an ever-increasing competition made some boat operators serve better quality of food to attract guests while others did not up their game; the difference resulting to confusing reviews from tourists.
Under Mayor Helen C. Alaba, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Loboc leads in innovative ways of making tourism work for its people as a large number of residents are being employed by the LGU for tourism-related jobs. Furthermore, it also pioneers in having a “tourism-friendly” mindset, always taking into consideration tourists’ satisfaction.
It was in this context that the Loboc Commissary was established and Mr. Matias was hired to oversee the operations which started in July, this year.
The first thing I did was create a process, systematize everything, and establish a work flow to be followed.” Mr. Matias revealed. Without delay, trainings and upgrading of skills for the commissary staff were conducted. “
“For our operations, everything has to be consistent from preparation, arrangement to presentation. We will continue serving people with quality food, hygienically prepared, and to upgrade our facilities – that’s the way to satisfy the tourists, be competitive and stay in the market for our people,” Nick Matias concluded.
The plans and programs being implemented were done in consultation with the four existing boat operators, namely: Village Floating Resto and Cruises, Busay Monarch, Long River Cruise Floating Resto, and Loboc Riverwatch Floating Resto.
Handling coordination matters with stakeholders and the administrative as well as financial aspects of the commissary is Earl Stanley Matas. “We are aware that the Loboc River Cruise is a whole package. It is an experience covering everything from nature, culture, ambiance, and including food. So, we are trying our best that this commissary project will be contributory to make the experience better. We hope we can contribute to lessen the negative comments (concerning food) and to improve our service that will ultimately redound to a better quality of life of the people of Loboc,” he said.