LOBOC PROFILE “Loboc, a piece of heaven”
Loboc is one of the oldest towns in Bohol established in the year1602. It has an area of 5,765 hectares, a population of 17,000, with 28 barangays. Distance from City, Tagbilaran is 24 kms. or 35 min travel time.
To date, Municipality of Loboc is still classified as 4th class municipality, but, based on the recent income, the town is already qualified as a 2nd class municipality, only that it is still on the process of reclassification.
LOBOC is home to various natural wonders and tourist attraction. Most prominent is the LOBOC RIVER CRUISE, where guest can enjoy the clearest and cleanest river in this part of the world. For thrill seekers who wish to enjoy some adrenalin rush, there is the LOBOC ECO-TOURISM ADVENTURE PARK (LEAP) in Gotozon, were one will enjoy riding the breathtaking zipline and cable car adventure. There is also the TARSIER CONSERVATION AREA where you can commune with the smallest primate. One can refresh with mother nature at the MANMADE FOREST, and go back to history with the majesty of the LOBOC CHURCH which was constructed 400 years ago, which is also one of the treasures of Loboc. For now, what remain is the ruins of the church due to the earthquake in October 2013 and the flood in December, 2014. Despite these twin calamities that came to Loboc, the Lobocanons were able to stand and spring back to life. They had their ruined church preserved and had already built a new one just beside the old church.
Loboc is not only rich in natural beauty but more so in culture and arts. It is the home of the world famous LOBOC CHILDREN’S CHOIR which has gained popularity in the country and as well as in all corners of the globe, from North America, Europe and Asia. They have reaped major championships in various global competitions. The town is also home of the famous LOBOC YOUTH AMBASSADOR’S BAND who has also performed in the country and abroad. Home to the Loboc School of Music that produces hundreds of students who have enjoyed scholarships in universities and colleges in Tagbilaran and have graduated hundreds of scholars already.
It is also home of the best product, awardee of best beverage, LOBOC SALABAT’s (Ginger Powder) and (Ginger Candy) which will really give much health benefits
The latest attraction is the “SUPTOUR’S” or Stand-up Paddling. This will surely give one even more unforgettable memories in staying in Loboc. The experience of cruising along the river thru stand-up paddling for an hour or even a day isn’t even enough. You will long for more.
During the pre-hispanic time, the Loboc River played a vital role in the lives of the people. During the Hispanic rule, the Jesuits constructed the first seminary in the Visayas which was in Loboc. This is due to the presence of the river which was navigable, has the abundance of fresh potable water, and is situated in-land. It is a safe distance from the marauding pirates attacking the coastal communities. It’s being situated in-land was easier to defend than in coastal locations. Because of the river that provided access, Loboc became one of the early sits of the Spanish colonizers and a settlement of a vibrant community who brought them education, arts and culture, particularly music. Thus, Loboc is also a center of religious activity in the province which celebrates several fiestas. It celebrates 3 major fiestas in honor of St. Peter the Apostle every June 29, the Miraculous Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe every May 24 and St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music every Nov 21 of each year. The river dictated the growth of settlement in the town, the market, town center, church, municipal hall are all situated along, and very near the river. Population centers also concentrated along the banks due to access. Past administrators didn’t realize the immense potential of the existence of the river until Mayor Leon A Calipusan maximized its potentials and is sustained by Mayor Helen C. Alaba. As with most Local Government Units, the town is heavily dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment until Mayor Leon Calipusan was able to harness other revenue sources.
In 2004, the local budget is only Php 23,082,883.48 with 76% from IRA, while only 24% was generated from local revenues. During the first few months of the administration of Mayor Calipusan, the revenue generating measures were overhauled and made a sales pitch among the constituencies for support. There was focus on economic enterprises that can provide the basic services of the people and at the same time generate revenues.
The government under Mayor Leon Calipusan started with the best of plans under the circumstance, the plan is captured under the banner line LIT HOPE. It has to start with something people can associate and dream with. Thus, LIT HOPE was born which did mean LIGHT A HOPE or A HOPE IS LIGHTED. The banner line actually stands for LIVELIHOOD, INFRASTRUCTURE, TOURISM, HEALTH AND SANITATION, ORGANIZATION STRENGTHENING, PEACE AND ORDER, AND EDUCATION. This was the condition before the Community-Based Resource Management Program funding or CBRMP funding. During that time, the influx of tourist was beginning to grow. Hence, there was a necessity to augment and build infrastructure to compliment the need. The municipality accessed the world bank funding thru CBRMP, thru Loboc Tourism Complex equivalent of Php 14M.
Operations plan was formulated to facilitate an efficient and effective delivery of services to Loboc tourists.
Tourist arrival was 34,867 in 2004, 155,447 in 2005, 373,283 in 2007, and dropped to 118,750 in 2014 because of the natural calamities that affected the whole town last October 15, 2013 7.2 magnitude earthquake and December 29, 2014 biggest flood in the town. Yet, in 2015 it reached to 257,042 tourists. Positive results are illustrated below.
Employment creation and income generation among the municipalities, Loboc has the highest hiring rate in the Province. Livelihood for Sug-ong and Gotozon communities, jobs for women reflexologists, food prepares of native desserts from the comity, and the food handlers at floating restaurants, jobs for members of boat captains, crew and steward association and on-board entertainers, jobs for craftsmen and weavers, income from souvenir shops and their staff.
Several local entrepreneurs have invested in pension and lodging house business to cater to the growing tourists who prefer to stay and savor the ambiance of Loboc.
LGU private sector collaboration, to name a few, a grant from Ambassador Carlos Chan that constructed the Loboc Children’s Theater, with the project cost of 8.5M pesos. Another is the Loboc River Lighting Project from the same donor that amounted to 13.5M pesos. The First Consolidated Bank donated 4M pesos to convert the unfinished Loboc Jumbo Bridge into a promenade. PACAP, LGU and private sector collaborated thru the creation of Loboc Youth Ambassador’s Band and establishment of School of Music. Recently, new school which is the Loboc Learning Center for Excellence was completed, given by private sector worth almost Php 10M and land acquisition as LGU counterpart. This private person also donated a new fire truck and many other donations, especially during earthquake and flood. It also affected the tourism operation, since Night Cruising was temporarily rehabilitated, considering the river bank lighting was damaged, but hopefully will resume operations next year. Another project is also planned to hopefully be launched next year, the firefly watching downstream.The tourism docking port wasalso damaged during the earthquake, yet, just recently the newly reconstructed Tourism Docking Port which was funded by TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority)project worth Php 20M was inaugurated in December 2015.
Facilities developed for tourism benefited the residents such as concrete pavement leading to, in and around the tourism complexwhich is also used by the residents. There is also free access of internet connection; thereby allowing the residents to connect with members of the family abroad and helping students do research. Re-evaluation of culture and traditions, the young are already appreciative of the Lobocanon culture more particularly its music, songs and dances. Interested children from grade 3 to 4th year highschool are trained in notes reading and playing of instruments and had been provided with musical instruments, all for FREE. To date, there are more than 600 students coming from the 28 barangays of Loboc who are benefiting from the Loboc School of Music which is a project of the Loboc Youth Education Association, Inc. headed by Mr. Argee Melisimo. A free boarding house in Tagbilaran is also being provided to some 70 college students who are members of the Loboc Youth Ambassador’s Band.
Tourism encourages civic involvement and pride, the physical development of the town and efficient services of the LGU staffs to the community restored the pride of people and created their identity. It has lifted the people’s spirit and ignited them to do more.