In the nearby municipality of Naga, the heart of commerce and businesses in Camarines Sur, is the serene and small municipality of Camaligan. Despite being the smallest municipality in Camarines Sur, Camaligan is its densest, comprising almost twice the density of Naga City.
Other than being recognized as the Bicol region’s oldest known pre-colonial site, the people in Camaligan has derived their socio-cultural identity as river people mainly because of the existence of the river in their municipality. The Bicol River has been a significant resource for irrigation and fertilization for their agricultural lands and fishing industry.
Being a 5th class municipality, with 94% of their financial fund relying on the National Government and only 4% from their local fund, the Local Government of Camaligan, headed by Mayor Marilou Marquez-Hirose, Municipal Councilor Diano Ibardaloza, Jr., Former Councilor Marissa Trinidad, Engr. Fernando SC Eduardo, Ruel De Loyola and Atty. Lea Valeriano-Cea with the Sining, Kultura at Turismo (SIKAT) or the Camaligan Tourism Office, planned the Camaligan River Cruise project.
Their plans slowly turned into reality as they finally constructed the wharf that will serve as the entrance in the river cruise last June 2014. In the years following this, other attractions were slowly added to this project to maximize the potential of the river, making it into a major tourist destination. Its continuous improvements attracted a lot of visitors to come and enjoy walking along their esplanade, see the sunset, and watch the river cruise sail across.
On February 11, 2019, the Camaligan River Cruise was officially launched. Traversing the river on the cruise gave off a sense of travelling back from the past. You can enjoy a quiet Bicol River without the bustle and hustle of the metro. The river is also the perfect exhibit of the town’s rich biodiversity.
The cruisers can enjoy watching birds flock together during sunsets. Surely, photographers and sky chasers will relish this picturesque moment. At night, one can enjoy the twinkling stars and lights of the esplanade, as can be closely compared to the Nights of Lights in the city of St. Augustine. The Sira (fish) made of the festive colors of Camaligan is also highlighted along the river.
The Camaligan River Cruise assures a unique dining experience as guests are served sumptuous meal on a smooth sailing floating restaurant with a spectacular view of a clean river, verdant landscape, and relaxing music of the guitar and violin playing love songs.
Morning and afternoon rides, where you can enjoy cocktails and buffet while cruising along the historic Camaligan River, are now being offered in the river cruise. There are two schedules every day for the river cruise, 10am and 5pm. The travel lasts for four hours back and forth.
With the emergence of this new tourism attraction, LGU Camaligan continuously plans to add other activities along the river so tourists may enjoy more activities in town.
As Atty. Leah Cea shared, “A few years from now, I can picture Camaligan as a major destination, not just in Camarines Sur, but in the entire Bicol Region or in the Philippines possibly!”
And it is no wonder that the Camaligan River Cruise will hit and stay in the spotlight.
So if you’re looking for a quick surreal get-away to reconnect with nature, Camaligan, Camarines Sur is surely the place to be!