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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Philippines

Bohol river life on the Abatan community tour

Board a local banca boat to visit the five ancient communities who live along the Abatan river in Bohol…

By Lourdes Sultan
Manager of Travel Village Tours, Alfred&’s partner in the Philippines

Board a local banca boat to visit the five ancient communities who live along the Abatan river in Bohol. The name Abatan actually comes from the Visayan word ‘abat’, which means to meet, converge or come together. This really speaks to the river’s five communities, the Cortes, Maribojoc, Antequera, Balilihan and Catigbian, who live in harmony and each have their own culture, livelihoods and traditions. You’ll get a glimpse into their lives on this tour.

Before we had roads on Bohol, locals would get around by sailing its three main rivers, one of which is the Abatan. As you drift along the water, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful river life, with thick mangrove forests home to creatures like fruit bats and the large flying fox. At night, there are even eight species of fireflies that light up the forest. Along the way, you’ll stop to visit the villages, where you’ll learn about their traditional fishing methods and see how they catch shellfish and mud crabs.

During the tour, you’ll also get to see the local nipa weaving, which is used to make roofing in the villages. Further upstream is another community whose livelihood is bamboo furniture making and basket weaving. You’ll even get a chance to try traditional weaving with help from the skilled women in the village. The real highlight though is the cultural performance, where locals from the different communities tell their story through dance, depicting their daily routines and traditions.


  • Community
  • Culture
  • Trips to take

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Alfred & Lourdes Sultan

Lourdes Sultan is from Bohol and has spent most of her life working in the island’s tourism industry. She started her career arranging excursions and guest activities at the Pioneer Resorts in Panglao and in 1992, launched Travel Village Tours with her husband. The company is now one of the top tour operators in Bohol.
Lourdes Sultan, Pamilacan and Bohol tour guide

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Suzanne, who's travelled extensively in The Philippines. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember – the free diver who can take you swimming with turtles, the guides who can take you to secret lagoons and hidden beaches, and the locals who can school you in the art of nipa weaving.

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