Family, Travel

Our Balsa River Cruise in Ilog Experience

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It’s summer once again and the waters are still. What a lovely time to spend outdoors and experience nature with the kids. And our family had just that and more at the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog, southern Negros Occidental.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood

The Balsa River Cruise in Ilog

We love the summer because you can go out and do outdoor activities without worrying that it might rain. So last Saturday, we ventured out on a two-hour drive in order to take part in the Balsa River Cruse in Ilog.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Upon our arrival at the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog.

The Municipality of Ilog is located about 90 kms, going south from Bacolod City. It used to be called Ylog during the Spanish rule and was the capital of the province of Negros Occidental. The word “Ilog” is a Tagalog word that literally means “river”. It was called such because it is surrounded by the
Hilabangan River, which is the longest river in the province.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood

One young and enterprising couple decided to make use of the scenic and peaceful river for the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog. Good call by the Jordan couple. This has now become a nice attraction in the sleepy town because it is drawing crowds by the bus-ful.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
The waiting shed.

The cruise is an 8-kilometer long and 1.5-hour easy ride on the picturesque Hilabangan River. It is fenced by greens on both sides with no houses in sight. There are bird sightings, too.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Watch out for these birds during the cruise.

Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant

So it is not just a ride around the river. Actually, a ticket to the Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant comes with a buffet lunch of native Filipino dishes. And our Papa was more than happy to dig in.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Unlimited seafood buffet.

The ticket price of P450 includes the cruise and the eat all you can buffet lunch. It’s a pretty good deal. The full dining capacity of the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog is 58. But it can accommodate up to 70 people including staff.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Happy husband with his seafood.

The food on board is prepared by the Perico Restaurant based in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, which is also owned by the couple.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Appetizers.

I think I counted 10 dishes, which includes unli-seafood, native delicacies for dessert, a round of softdrinks and unlimited juice. There’s brewed coffee, too. A dispenser of purified water is also on board.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Fruits and native desserts.

Amenities

We have tried the Dapitan River Cruise and the Loboc River Cruise in Bohol. But by far, this is the best experience that we have had, in terms of the water vehicle, comfort, and food.

The Balsa River Cruise in Ilog is new. It was custom-built by makers from Bohol. And it was made quite spacious and colorful. There are dining tables on either side with the buffet table in the middle, but you have enough space to move around.

There’s space for an acoustic duo to provide live entertainment, a toilet, and also a lavatory. If you look up, they have painted the ceiling with a fake sky that looks good in pictures.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
Live entertainment. This acoustic duo is pretty good. Plus their sound system is of good quality, so the sounds are not annoying. haha

Balsa River Cruise Rates

The Balsa River Cruise in Ilog is still on promo rates for their introductory offering. This is cheaper than the other river cruises I have tried that were priced at P550 per head years ago, but the food is just so-so.

  • Individual rate – PhP450 per head (around US$8.50)
  • Regular rates apply to children 3 feet and above
  • Children below 3feet – PhP350
  • Toddlers and babies – FREE

Making Happy Memories

Our little family had a terrific time at the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog. We all enjoyed the experience and was worth the long drive.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood

And the grown ups thoroughly enjoyed the food. haha The kids had a limited palate so they did not really eat much.

Schedule and Special Trips

Depending on weather conditions, the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog operates twice daily. Available schedule is 10:30am and 12:00nn. But they can also accommodate special trips, as per prior agreed time and rates.

For inquiries and reservations, call (0910) 188-6420. Or you may send a message to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Balsa-River-Cruise-1680992685315298/

Fun Company

What makes your time at the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog more enjoyable is if you have a fun company on board. We were fortunate to have traveled with a bunch of seniors who are celebrating their school’s reunion and oh what a joy it was.

The performers catered to the guests’ song requests and the seniors danced around with much gusto after our lunch. By the way, you can also sing with the musicians’ live accompaniment.

Check out the fun video below of the Balsa River Cruise in Ilog:

Water Safety of Balsa River Cruise in Ilog

The Balsa River Cruise has a wide bottom so it is stable and secure. It is basically a raft but with a roof, ceiling, and railing. It cannot be easily blown away by a gentle breeze. And of course, they will only travel during fair weather days.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
A riverside scene.

Should there be an emergency, life jackets may be found under the seats. The management has provided for that.

The Family that Travels Together

Our little family just came home from a 4-day trip to Boracay. It is quite a long journey from Bacolod City and we only had a single day of rest at home, but we made it to Ilog.

Balsa River Cruise in Ilog - Balsa River Cruise Native Floating Restaurant - family travel - summer - Bacolod mommy blogger - Balsa River Cruise rates - eat all you can buffet - unli-seafood
The kids on their second cruise. Their first time was in Dapitan.

It was our first time to travel to Boracay and Ilog together and we made more happy memories as a family there.

My husband and I try to include the kids in our travels. They learn so much with seeing new places, tasting new dishes, meeting new people, and the like. That is one of the main reasons why we are homeschooling — the world is their classroom.


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