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The Ati Tribe of Loay, Bohol

The highlight of the river cruise with lunch buffet operated by the Rio Verde Floating Restaurant at Loay, Bohol is an interaction activity with the Ati Tribe who relocated to the town from Panay Island. These Ati natives entertain the guests of the Rio Verde Floating Restaurant before the boat makes a U-turn back to its docking station near the Clarin Bridge in Loay. The boats make a 15-30 minute stop at the Ati Village near the boundary of Loay and Loboc towns. The gratuities earned from tourists who interact with them provide for the needs of the Ati natives. It made me sad observing how these natives have lost their true identity as they have embraced the culture of commercialism to adapt to the changing needs of the times. Nevertheless, they have retained some of their traditions albeit mainly for show in a superficial way.

Ati tribesmen pose for tourists in Loay, Bohol, Philippines
Ati tribesmen pose for tourists in Loay, Bohol, Philippines


Attractions at the Ati Tribe Village in Loay

Within the village where the Ati tribe lives are various activities that the natives showcase to visitors. These include some drum beating and music, a few kids dancing, some natives holding different kinds of lizards, swinging on a rope suspended to a tree by the riverbank, selling bows and arrows as souvenirs, and tourists trying on target shooting with a bow and arrow.

Drum Beating 

Some natives play tribal music on their drums made either of wood or barrels. Tourists can try their hand on the drums and see if they can follow the rhythm.


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Ati Kids 

Little Ati kids also pitch in their share to entertain tourists with their dancing. Tourists love these kids as they are so adorable and cute. Although I wonder if they were allowed to do this by virtue of a permit from the right government agency. One could consider what they are doing as still a form of child labor. It also seems many of the Ati entertainers are probably minors besides these small kids.





Lizards 

Here's another thing I'm kind of worried about. Bohol has been known to be among the country's leaders in terms of wildlife conservation. But at the Ati tribe village in Loay, we see teens holding different kinds of lizards on a leash and the mouth of some bound with rope or tape.

Ati girl holding up an Iguana in Loay, Bohol, Philippines
Ati girl holding up an Iguana in Loay, Bohol, Philippines




Target Shooting With Bow and Arrow 

With a makeshift bow and arrow, tourists can try their hand on archery shooting at a target about ten (10) meters away. Bows that are sold as souvenirs come with three arrows and a bamboo receptacle to hold them. These can be bought at PhP 100 or roughly USD 2.50.





Rope Swinging

Tarzan was no Ati. It seems though that these native tribe in the Philippines has took to his ways. They enjoy swinging on a rope that is suspended to a tree by the riverbank. I last saw this when I visited in July 2014 but noticed this was absent in our recent visit.



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