The Loboc River Cruise will resume operations on Tuesday, over two months after Typhoon “Odette” ravaged the province, filling the Loboc River with debris and damaging the floating restaurants that ply the world-renowned river.
According to Elmer Varquez, Loboc’s chief tourism operations officer, it has been deemed safe to traverse the river based on an inspection done by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) after authorities cleared the water of debris.
Officials of the Bohol Tourism Office also held a trial cruise prior to deciding to reopen the travel destination.
“Atong gihinluan na ang suba, gi inspect na sa atong Coast Guard, ila ng giingon na ‘free to navigate’ na. Nakuha na nato ang mga debris, naghimo na pud og test cruise ang BTO,” said Varquez.
However, parts of the riverbanks have still not been cleared of trees that were toppled by the typhoon, which also inundated swaths of Loboc due to heavy rains that caused the river to swell and overflow.
Varquez said floating restaurants, each capable of accommodating 25 persons, will offer daily cruises from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
According to Varquez, only floating restaurants that have been upgraded based on the agreed upon new design by industry stakeholders for the vessel were allowed to resume operations.
The local government unit and tourism stakeholders have earlier agreed to incorporate a “Boholano design” to the floating restaurants.
“Atong gi-require na mo upgrade sila, naa tay mga design na gipang sunod para masunod ang atoang Boholano architecture ang atoang design sa mga boats. Dili na pareho sauna na ordinary ta kaayo,” said Varquez.
There were a total of 12 floating restaurants that plied the river before the storm and the imposition of the mandatory redesign.
He added that some floating restaurants that were not damaged by the storm have not resumed operations due to their continuing redesign of the vessel.
The river cruise package which includes a buffet lunch costs P850 for adults.
Children three feet and below are allowed to enter free of charge while those between three feet and four feet will be charged P500. (R. Tutas)