Loboc is an interior town located 24 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. It is situated on a little valley and dissected by a jade green wide river. The river is being harnessed by a hydroelectric plant of the National Power Corporation to generate electricity for six municipalities including Tagbilaran City.
Loboc is considered as a 5th class municipality with a land area of 5,765.70 hectares composed of 28 barangays: Agape, Alegria, Bagumbayan, Bahian, Bonbon Lower, Bonbon Upper, Buenavista, Bugho, Cabadiangan, Calunasan Norte, Calunasan Sur, Camaya-an, Cambance, Candabong, Candasag, Canlasid, Gon-ob, Gotozon, Jimili-an, Oy, Poblacion Ondol, Poblacion Sawang, Quinoguitan, Taytay, Tigbao, Ugpong, Valladolid,Villaflor.
The highest elevation of the town is at Barangay Cambance which has an elevation of 428 meters. Most of the barangays are within the elevation of 300-350 meters. Barangay Canlasid has the lowest elevation of 15 meters. Land formation ranges from level to very steep slopes, majority of which is within the 8-18% slope range or undulating to rolling terrain.
Loboc entered the international limelight when the town’s school-based choir, the Loboc Children’s Choir garnered 1st prize or the gold medal in the 6th International Folksongs Festival “Europe and its Songs” (Youth Category) in Barcelona, Spain. It was also awarded the Festival Cup or the Grand Prize for garnering the highest point average of 97.5, besting other 12 choirs from all parts of the world. They were able to do concerts in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland aside from concerts in the Philippines.
Another cultural attraction, which is gaining the attention of foreign visitors, is the annual cultural community pageant called the BOLIBOM-KINGKING Festival. It is a much-attended affair where the different villages or barangays of Loboc compete in a dance drama rendition of the cultural history of the town.
The cultural and musical heritage of Lobocanons dates back to the time of the 2nd Jesuit mission. It has evolved and developed and has become an inherent part of the lives of the people. With the accomplishments of the Loboc Children’s Choir in the international scene and the various musical groups in the town at present, Loboc has become known as the music capital of the province.
Unfortunately much musical scores or records and even instruments of old cannot be found in the church or in the museum collection. They were believed to have been damaged by the great floods that occurred in the past. However, some Loboc cantorales can be found at the Intramuros Administration artifact collection. A comprehensive write-up to these cantorales and a discussion of Loboc’s Hispanic musical tradition was made by Ma. Alexandra Iñigo Chua. Her work is entitled: “The Loboc Cantorales: A Link to a Continuing Hispanic Musical Tradition”.
Loboc is now a tourist destination not only because of the choir and the various cultural groups but also because of the massive 300-year old Church of St. Peter the Apostle and the only 3-storey convent in the Philippines which now houses a museum. The feast day of the church is celebrated every 29th of June and another feast day is held on May 24 for its second patron, the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Another attraction is the octagonal stone belfry near the river.
The Loboc towns history is very rich. It was established in 1602 by Fr. Juan de Torres who led the second Jesuit mission in Bohol. The construction of the church, the convent and the bell tower followed years later. The church underwent various changes and reconstruction; went from the hands of the Jesuits to the Recollects, and slowly evolved to what it is now.
The local government of Loboc, in partnership with the Tourism Industry, has successfully developed the Loboc River and the Busay Falls into tourist destinations. The local folks are now geared towards offering tourists with a river cruise complete with fine dining facilities and live musical entertainment. The influx of tourists, local and foreign, has steadily grown over the years.
The river of Loboc is said to overflow its banks every 8 to 9 years as based on historical facts. It overflowed on November 26, 1876 – the first flood that inflicted so much destruction to properties and human lives. It flooded in 1847, on November 21, 1955 and November 19-20, 1964.
An additional attraction along the Loboc River is its rainforest which is thick with different varieties of flora and fauna including tall coconut palm trees and other fruit trees. The rainforest extends to the mountains and joins the Loboc-Bilar mahogany man-made forest that one passes on the way to Carmen town where the Chocolate Hills can be viewed.
The rainforest of Loboc is home to the smallest primate in the world, the Tarsier. It is a nocturnal creature that measures 4 to 5 inches and has the ability to rotate its head 180° in each direction. The little animal can be viewed and touched at small sanctuaries situated along the Loboc interior road near the church for a fee. To view them in their natural habitat, go and visit the Corella Tarsier Sanctuary at Corella town.
The Loboc town became the temporary capital of Bohol way back in World War II but was moved to Carmen town when the mopping operation of the Japanese took place. During the Japanese occupation the chief means of livelihood of the people were farming, sinamay weaving, soap making, tuba gathering and wine making.
At present, farming and agriculture is the most important industry. As land and water transportation improved, copra making, basketry and furniture making began to flourish.
The local folks are also into the making of nipa shingles, silhig ibjok and selling of crushed stones. Other products are chicharon kabaw, mangoes, nilubihang awing, suman, bulubod, bingka, salabat, ginger candy, gingerade, and squash toffee.
Loboc is now hailed as the greatest producer of wood and rattan chairs together with other native products. It is now getting recognition not only locally but also abroad with exports contributing much to the economic growth of the town.
There are two establishments in Loboc offering room accommodations, meals and tours plus other services. One such place is the Nuts Huts Retreat situated near the Loboc River with the rainforest as its background. It offers hiking, mountain biking and other exploration activities.
Another establishment, which is still relatively new, is the Hilltop Cottage which is literally situated on top of a hill. The place offers room accommodations, dining facilities and a swimming pool. The property lies along the interior road which one passes on the way to the Loboc-Bilar mahogany man-made forest.
Loboc town is very accessible for the interior road passes thru it. To reach the town, one can avail of bus rides from the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran. Just ride the bus bound for Talibon. To get to Nuts Huts Retreat, disembark at the church and avail of a banca ride that will take you directly to Nuts Huts landing area. One can also disembark way up on the road of Loboc until a sign appears pointing to Nuts Huts and then hike towards the place. The later is more economical. Don’t forget to inform the driver of your drop off point. Vans are also available and can take you directly to the place where you want to go but would cost a thousand bucks more.