Just 5 kilometers away from the city proper of Roxas, you’ll be entering a realm of 8 species of true mangroves (some are already century-old), 34 species of birds, 13 species of fish, and 64 species of shellfishes all residing in a coast at Sitio Cablatan, Barangay Cagay.
It was spectacular! A perfect 4:30pm subtle heat, soft winds kissing my cheeks, a hot cup of originally blended Ginger Tea with pandan and lemon grass, local love songs being serenaded as we glide through the beautiful waters of Palina River greeted me on my first few hours in Roxas City.
Cabaña or Bamboo Raft
FYI there is a comfort room on board Aaaannnddd I love it! – Photo Credits to Claire
The Palina River Cruise is a more intimate ride as compared to the popular Loboc River Cruise in Bohol. Floating huts or “Cabañas” are these bamboo rafts (with little huts) that could accommodate up to 25 people. What’s interesting is that our floating hut is not attached to any motors nor powered by it. We simply rely on a pump boat to pull us through the calm river in the whole duration of the tour – by which I mean literally “pulling” using ropes.
Our Cabaña being pulled by the Pump Boat
It has been said that the Palina River (traversing from Baragay Cagay and Talon) has three thousand grouper cages that were installed and at its mouth is the original “diwal” growing area (a popular shellfish served in this city). What I was not able to check out is a sunken galleon ship that was said to be also near the river mouth (which would probably be declared as a national historical site).
Entering the Lover’s Cove
The river bank is gorgeously lined with mangroves (about 1 km in length not including the tributaries). One notable place being mentioned was the “Lover’s Cove” – referring to the different bird species that are resting in that area around 5:30pm. A local also pointed out that these birds are tired from searching for food in the morning, thus they arrive at the Lover’s Cove at that time to recuperate. Awesome stuff!
En Route to the community of fisherfolks
Palina Greenbelt Ecopark offers mangrove tours (and lecture), river tour, fishing, swimming, and also educational tours for students. It may be also great for family recreation, reunions, parties, and other creative themes that fit this eco-tourism site. Their affordable rates are also a plus: ranging from Php400 to 800 for the whole tour (excluding food). Visitors could also buy live Lapu-lapu from the cages and have them cooked by the locals who were trained in food preparation.
Inside these cages are Lapu-lapu and Bagang fishes. Don’t mind my hysterical laugh. – Photo Credits to Kara
Another thing that interests me in this 1-2 hour tour is the fact that you’ll be able to pass by several “Surambaw” – a type of lift net needed to catch prawns (separate post coming next). Not only that, across the river are islands and small communities of fishermen that tickled my curiosity about their lifestyle.
This ecopark is actually the fifth in Roxas. Others are Culajao Mangrove Ecopark, Cadimahan River Tour, Olotayan Island Tour, and Vermi Demosite.
Well, if you’re an avid fan of nature, or a person who loves social studies and science, or someone who just wants to cruise around and wait for the sun to set on a perfectly horizontal seascape, then hop on a Cabaña and experience the wonderful world of Palina!
How to get to Palina Greenbelt Ecopark:
- From city proper get a special trip tricycle to Brgy. Cagay Sitio Cablatan, Roxas City
- Estimated time of travel from city proper to Palina River ECO Park 12 minutes
- Tricycle rate Php40 from the Roxas City Proper – good for 2 people. If only one person, Php30 is ok.
- River tour P hp750 to Php 1,200 good for 10 to 50 pax
- The food is pre-arranged, reservation and arrangement of food prior to the tour is recommended, you can arrange seafoods like oyster, fish and crabs. Seafood experience usually starts at Php100