SORSOGON | A Calming Afternoon Cruise Along Buhatan River

Buhatan River Cruise, Sorsogon

Earlier that day, we got up in the wee hours to transfer from our hotel in Legazpi to Sorsogon. We needed to reach Donsol at around seven in the morning for breakfast, and afterwards, the phenomenal yet somehow exhausting Whale Shark Interaction activity that usually lasts for three hours or so. Next, after lunch, we attended the opening of the Regional Travel Fair at the convention center in Sorsogon City—this was a media tour with the Tourism Promotions Board and fellow travel bloggers. We then left for a while at around 2:00 PM for Buhatan River, located a few minutes away from the event's venue.

While the shortened sleep and the whale shark encounters tire me out in the morning—several jumps into the sea, trying not to be outswam by the vanishing whale sharks, then treading back into the boat while drenched under the sun for about three hours—cruising Buhatan River in the afternoon did the exact opposite.

READ ALSO: Whale Shark Encounters in Donsol

Buhatan River Cruise is a community-based eco-tourism site in Sorsogon City. It was a legacy of the late environmentalist and former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, who spearheaded the livelihood project in 2014 when she was the chair of ABS-CBN Foundation. Together with the residents and local leaders of Brgy. Buhatan, they cleared the heavily trashed river and rehabilitated the fringing mangroves, thereby seeing its potential of becoming an eco-tourism destination. The cleanup drive led to the creation of Buhatan River Eco Adventure Service Cooperative (BREASC) that now provides an income to its members who were mainly boatmen, fisherfolks, women and the youth.

Cooking demo by members of the cooperative

Our Buhatan River tour started with a cooking demo hosted by the women members of the cooperative. There, I first learned about baluko (pen shell scallops, Sorsogon's exotic shellfish) which they prepared in different ways: fried it, cooked it in gata (coconut milk) and used it as lumpiang shanghai stuffing. It was a Bicolano culinary experience. The cruise began after the tasting.

Ginataang baluko
Ginataang baluko (cooked in coconut milk)

Fellow travel bloggers photographing the dishes
Fellow travel bloggers | via Noel Amata

Aboard a cozy bamboo raft cabana that was being pulled by a motorized outrigger boat, serenaded by local singer's soothing acoustic tunes and accompanied by fresh pili nuts, the sight of palms and mangroves, and the chirps of endemic birds, we cruised the river toward the sunset hours.

Aboard the bamboo raft cabana along with local singers
Fresh pili nuts
Fresh pili nuts

The cruise across the moss green waters of the narrow tributary usually takes about 30-45 minutes. It terminates at a floating restaurant situated where the river and the sea meet. A late afternoon cruise is ideal because on the return sail, when it is already dark, one may see spectacular flickering lights along the riverbanks—when swarms of fireflies takes the stage for a natural light show.

Buhatan River and the fringing mangroves

Our boat turned back before it got dark. We skipped the restaurant and the firefly watching because we had to wash up and go back to the city proper for the travel event's Welcome Dinner. The cruise was cut short, but it had provided a much needed respite, on nature's loving arms, during that hectic day.

The author at the cruise
It's More Fun in Cruising Buhatan | Photo by Noel Amata

To book a cruise and for other inquiries, you may reach BREASC through the following channels:

Mobile: +63 939 206 0998
Facebook: Buhatan River Cruises (BREASC's official page)


DJ Rivera is an I.T. professional, entrepreneur, travel blogger, writer and the online publisher of based in Rizal province, Philippines. Click here to know more.

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