Aloguinsan Town is in the middle of tourism rich province of Cebu. In 2009 its local government together with some consultants and the community joined forced to create a sustainable eco-tourism activity known to us today as the Bojo River Cruise. This initiative put Aloguinsan in the eco-tourism map of the Philippines. The project is one of the successful, diverse and community-building endeavor I have seen. Bojo River Cruise is the full contrasts of the activities in Moalboal, Badian and Oslob. Although both are found in the richness of nature, Bojo River Cruise is for the soul – feeding you with calm and embracing you bliss.
Unless you are coming from Toledo City you will not be passing by the town of Alonguinsan if you are going to the much hype destination in Cebu such as Oslob, Osmena Peak, Moalboal or Kawasan Falls. This town really needs a determined heart to be visited because its not in the usual Cebu tourism route. This maybe a good relief because it can be preserved and stillness abound . From Cebu City travel time to Bojo River Cruise is approximately two hours if you have private vehicle. A rustic sign and a promising entrance will welcome you as you reached the Bojo River Cruise. Cemented and manicured pathway will lead you to the reception where a signature Cebuano welcome will make you smile.
Since we had a prior booking we were welcomed by a group of mothers singing lively Cebuano songs with a guitarist playing and smiling at us. Then we were given a floral garland like we were dignitaries from all over the world. After that we had our sumptuous lunch of fresh fish and local dishes of the Cebuanos. Lunch, tour and refreshment is included in the Php650/pax package. Hini-usang Kinusbao – the Effort of the People The Bojo River Cruise is the product of the collaborative efforts of the local government of Aloguinsan which provided the funding, the consultants such as biologist and ornithologist who provided the knowledge and the blood and sweat of the community. Initially there are 400+ folks from the community joined the collaboration to have an alternative source of income, to protect the environment and to empower the society. As of December 2017, there 41 active members of Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS) – the association that manages the river cruise.
Through the collective effort of the community, LGU and consultants the nature has given people the dignity to the live. According to Jamaila, one of the empowered woman in Aloguinsan, Bojo River Cruise provided an Alternative Livelihood for the Fishermen, Education for the Local People and Women Empowerment. Alternative Livelihood for the Fishermen Alonguinsan is a coastal town. Most of its people rely the sea for their everyday food. Now, aside from fishing, folks can tour people in Bojo River. In this way they are playing part in protecting the environment while they earn more from tourism.
Provides Education to the Local People Before there is Bojo River Cruise, fishermen in Aloguinsan used to cut mangrove to make charcoal for cooking. We cannot blame them because they were not aware how important the mangroves are in our ecosystem. Ms. Jamaila, one of the locals who welcomed us saw the impact and importance of eco-tourism in the lives of the local community. “As eco-tourism destination we only have day tour. We do not have night tour so that environment can relax. Limited people, limited structure – the more you construct structure the more you cut trees so there is no environmental protection” She added, “we wanted more people because the more the guest the more the income. But we realized if we do that, we are one day millionaire and we cannot pass this to the next generation” The locals now knows of the long term effect of protecting the environment – far from what they are who use to cut down mangroves to have food for the day. of course this did not happened overnight. Collaborative effort means sacrifice for the community, support (moral and financial) from the LGU and patience from the consultant.
Women Empowerment Majority of the workers and volunteers in BAETAS, are women. Only a portion of them are men. This is very important for the community because women who are usually at home waiting for their husband catch can now contribute to the household budget. It gave them more economic value to our society.
Bojo River Cruise is a recipient of Asia’s Best Community Based Tourism Initiative in Asia Pacific awarded by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). It also belongs to World’s Top 100 Sustainable Green Destination in 2016 and 2017. Travel Tips:
- Book ahead of time to enjoy full Cebuano hospitality.
- As an eco-tourism destination, they have a carrying capacity of the 60 – 70 per day to relax the environment at night. It is better to book early.
- You can swim there, and they have a nice shower room.
- Give a tip to those who serviced you and even to those who do not deserve it.
- It is advisable to go there early or at least before lunch because river cruise depends on the tide.
How to go to Alonguinsan Take a bus bound for Toledo City at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. In Toledo City, take a jeep to the town of Aloguinsan. Then take a habal-habal to take you to Bojo River Cruise. Bojo River Cruise Alonguinsan, Cebu Province, Philippines Contact: +63 933 120 9480/ +63 919 906 7172 Price: Php650/pax but depending on the number of person.