Floating Down the Hilabangan on the Balsa River Cruise

April 10, 2019

The Balsa River Cruise is another weekend activity Negrenses can do these days. The Balsa River Cruise takes guests on a one-hour-and-a-half boat trip on the clean, green Hilabangan River in the Municipality of Ilog.

Ilog is 97 kilometers from the Capital City of Bacolod. On the way there, one passes through Bago, Pulupandan, Valladolid, San Enrique, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, and Himamaylan. This trip will take you over good roads to the South of Negros. Visitors to Negros Occidental will also find the scenery a soothing combination of rice fields, sugarcane fields, small woods, charming settlements, small bustling cities and seaside towns.

Ilog, or Ylog was the first capital of Negros Occidental and founded on May 16, 1584 by the Augustinian friars Fr. Geronimo Marin and Fr. Francisco Bustos. Once upon a time, it was referred to as the River Kingdom of Buglas.

The Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant is ready to sail!
A fun-filled day for a school reunion.

Schedule and rates:

The Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant sets sail every day. For weekdays, one trip at 12:00 noon is available. On weekends, there are two: the 10:00 a.m. and the 12:00 noon. The Balsa River Cruise gets ready with a minimum of 40 passengers. For customers who wish to occupy the restaurant, but are less than the required 40 pax, the cruise goes on as long as they pay the equivalent amount pertaining to 40 people.

The regular rate for adults is P500; for senior citizens, the 20% discount applies, and for children 3 feet and below, the rate is P350.

These singers are amazing!  

The singing duo makes beautiful music together and, if you close your eyes, you might think that you’re listening to a recording. Song requests are heartily accommodated, too, as long as the performers have the lyrics.  Please do not forget to tip the entertainers and the wait staff.

In the shade.  On the river.

Enjoy! You have no choice.

Relax and unwind as the boat sails down the river. This is the best time to just be still and feel the wind on your face, or chat with your friends, or renew familial ties, and have fun. Why is this the best time? Because there’s no way out and you’re stuck with each other’s company, so, you might as well enjoy this. Anovah!

But this trip is so easy to enjoy because the river is placid; the banks are lined with lush mangrove trees and plentiful nipa palm; birds have a most pleasant habitat here (don’t forget to take your binoculars if you are a birding enthusiast); and the food is so good.

Wise move!  While everyone’s crowding over there, she starts her meal with dessert

This is home cooking, Negrense-style, buffet style. The crabs and shrimps are sweet, the oysters fresh and clean, the rest of the viands are straight out of kitchens that know fiesta food, and the service is brisk and staff is well-trained. Coffee and juice are served.

Start the feast with an unripe langka ensalada
A melange of tomatoes, onions, and dilis
A trip to Ilog is never without trying its famed oysters
Home cooking is featured here with beefsteak
The bucayo is made with candied tender young coconut shreds 
Our kalan-unon adds native color to the buffet table

Sun, water, gentle waves, a relaxed speed, good home-made food, and the nature-filled sights along the way…what more can you ask for?

The mangrove-lined shore is home to many species of birds

Ilog is part of the migratory path for birds and is a sanctuary for many species such as the Philippine Scops Owl, the Philippine Hawk Eagle, the Blue-naped Parrot, the Pink-bellied imperial Pigeon, White-winged Cuckooshrike, the Tarictic Hornbill, and the Philippine Cuckoo.

Ilog is also known for its candy industry.

The Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant is at Sitio Malabong, Brgy. 2, Ilog, Negros Occidental, Philippines.

For reservations, its contact number is 09101886420.