Feast, Mangroves, and a Scenic River Cruise Through Baroro River in Bacnotan, La Union

Bacnotan's River Cruise

A sailing trip through Baroro River on a floating native hut loaded with freshly-caught tilapias and other local delicacies was one of the highlights of my recent visit to La Union.

Mention “La Union” and people instantly picture roaring seas, black sand beaches, and swells fantastic for surfing. So when I saw a floating restaurant on our NORTHBOUND Itinerary, I got curious. Was it like Bohol’s famous River Cruise? I wouldn’t say so.

In Bohol, I never saw where the food came from. In Bacnotan’s River Farm, you can see where they get the famous ‘golden and black tilapia’ served in the nipa-style floating restaurants.

You’ll pass through the fish breeding area and see how they take care of these creatures. Pretty cool, right?

Cesar Ocampo, the owner and manager of the restaurant, cultures the fish using modern methods. Each catch tastes so good because he wouldn’t let the fish reach the bottom of the river. That’s why you won’t ever hear customers complain about “muddy tasting fish.”

Tilapia dishes at Riverfarm Bacnotan

River Farm’s tilapia is cooked in various ways (fried, grilled, and steamed). You see why it’s yummy three times?

My favorite is their grilled tilapia. But you can definitely try other versions. (I was curious how the tilapia would taste with coconut milk but I didn’t ask the owner because he was busy showing us around.)

Speaking of “showing around,” during the river cruise, we stopped by a plot of land by the river and went mango picking. Kuya Cesar owns the property so we were allowed to take as many mangoes as we wanted. Perfect dessert!

Baroro River Mango Picking at River Farm Owner's Mango Farm

Wide and long, Baroro River blesses the locals with fresh catch, fruit-bearing trees, and mangroves.

According to Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, mangroves play a crucial part in protecting human lives and properties. They do this by reducing or preventing soil erosion, which is critically important during storms and flooding.

Good to know that some residents of Barangay Baroro are on board. They make an effort to protect, cultivate, and rehabilitate some of the mangrove trees. You will see them as you sail by Baroro River.

Baroro Bridge in Bacnotan La UnionDuring the cruise, you can’t miss the Baroro Bridge, a significant structure that connects North Luzon to Metro Manila.

It’s easy to feel a connection with nature when you climb on top of the floating restaurant and soak up the surrounding greenery and calm river. A perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of San Juan beach and the big cities. I hope you can visit this place and make fond memories with your friends and families.

Baroro River Cruise in Bacnotan La Union


Getting There: River Farm is just a 15-minute drive from San Juan, and its proximity to the Baroro Bridge is hard to miss. Call or text the contact number below for detailed driving instructions.

River Farm
Address: Km 282 Baroro, Bacnotan, La Union, 2515
Phone: 0908 998 7132
Opening Hours: 8:30 AM – 9:00 PM daily
Rate: P9,000 for a buffet good for 20 people; A meal for one usually costs P190

Suggested Reads: 

River Farm, a Worthwhile Pitstop in the North

Manila Bulletin: Bacnotan Offers Floating Cabanas, River Cruise

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