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Captivated by Hinatuan’s Enchanted River


Hinatuan Enchanted River
Bluer than blue

After our much anticipated visit of Tinuy-an falls, we had one more place to visit in Surigao del Sur. It’s Enchanted River located in the quaint town of Hinatuan. I’ve read so much about Enchanted River and got so much excited with the photos I’ve seen. Could the water really be that blue? That I had to confirm by seeing it with my own eyes.
We got up early on Friday and started our day with a complimentary breakfast from Casa de Babano. Corned beef, omelet roll, rice, and coffee – not bad for a cheap overnight fee. At around 7:30am we were already in Bachelor Express’ bus terminal. We boarded a bus for Butuan. If I am not mistaken, I’ve also seen jeepneys bound for Hinatuan the day before. We waited for about 30 minutes before the bus finally left. The fare for the 1-hour trip to Hinatuan proper is 55 pesos.


Hinatuan Enchanted River
Get ready to be enchanted!

Maybe it’s because of my excitement to see the place that I did not notice that an hour had already passed. We got off at the town’s integrated transport terminal and negotiated with a habal-habal driver. We were quoted 300 pesos for a roundtrip ride, including gas and waiting time. Not bad, I thought. Off we went on our way going to the much talked about river. From the junction along the provincial road, Enchanted river is 12 kilometers away. You can actually ride a habal-habal from here at a cheaper rate, but the risk is that you will have to wait for quite a while because habal-habal drivers do not usually wait for passengers in this area. 


Hinatuan Enchanted River
Mess hall

Just like the one going to Tinuy-an Falls, the road  that leads to Enchanted River is unpaved, rocky and dusty. Add to that the changing terrain that made it one of my worst habal-habal rides ever. In about 20 minutes, we were already at the entrance of Enchanted River. We paid the entrance fee of 30 pesos per person. Cottages, tables and chairs can also be rented for a fee. Rental of these is ideal for those who will share a meal during snack or lunch time. We arrived at half past 9 in the morning and there were only few people in the place. 


Hinatuan Enchanted River
Enjoy the ice cold water

After taking a few pictures in the welcome sign, we headed towards the main attraction—the royal blue water of the enchanted river. I must say I got “disenchanted” the moment I saw the river. It was not blue just as seen in the pictures. My friend theorized that maybe it’s because of the overuse and misuse of the people that the enchanted river has lost its enchanting color. But we were actually headed for a surprise a couple of hours later.


Hinatuan Enchanted River
Buoys and rope for safety

Anyway, we continued our tour of the river. Took some photos here and there. There were actually a lot of nice views besides the blue water. The color of the water as well as the depth vary in each section. The presence of plants made the place look lovelier. There is a bridge on one side of the river that leads to another paradise—but that I will discuss in my next post.  We actually had experienced that “another paradise” for almost three hours, and the enchanted surprise I was talking about a while back came when we got back from “paradise.” The surprise? The water turned royal blue! Enchanting indeed! It left me breathless for a moment. Apparently, the water changes its color at different times of day, and I must say it is at its bluest at noon. It was also low tide during that particular hour.

Hinatuan Enchanted River
Bridge leading to another paradise

I took a few shots of the water before my friend and I decided to test the waters. He went for a dip first while I took pictures of him. When it was my turn to swim, I’ve decided to get into the water the more exciting way: jumping from a height of about 8 feet. The feeling of being submerged in the ice cold water got even more exhilarating when I got to see what’s below. The view underwater was breathtaking – there was sort of a cliff on the portion near the cave where the water flows from, so deep I couldn’t see the bottom. Aside from the unique color of the water, the river was dubbed enchanted because the locals believed that there were some sort of spirits that live in the area, especially in the great depths of the river. The water was dark blue, but the shallow floor was white (because of limestone) so the view was still clear. I saw some schools of small fish. The water tasted a little sweet, too (imagine the mixture of all the stuff out there, yikes! haha)


Hinatuan Enchanted River
View at the bottom

The current in the river was actually strong that they put ropes and buoys on the far side for swimmers to hold on to. On the other hand, further downstream the water was just knee high during low tide so the place is safe for kids to swim in.
At around 1:30 pm, we’ve decided to leave. By this time, there were already several hundreds of people in the place. It was literally chaotic! Enchanted River has indeed gained much popularity.
This is one place that I highly recommend. Though a bit crowded during summer, visiting Enchanted River is really worth the time, effort, and money you spend. Though there’s not much to do in the river itself, simply gazing at the enthralling view of the river is enough. Be sure to tag lots of friends and loved ones along for that perfect bonding experience!


Hinatuan Enchanted River
The author getting into the water (photo by C. Literatus)

HOW TO GET TO ENCHANTED RIVER:
If you are coming from Davao City, ride a bus bound for Bislig City, Surigao del Sur at the Ecoland Terminal. Travel time is 5-6 hours. Upon reaching Bislig City, ride a bus bound for Butuan (55 pesos, 1 hour travel time). You have two options upon arriving in Hinatuan. First, you can alight at the transport terminal in the town proper and hire a habal-habal from there (300 pesos for two passengers, roundtrip). Second option is to alight at the junction along the provincial road and catch a habal-habal from there (50 pesos per person per way). The first option is more recommended since not a lot of habal-habal drivers stand by the junction. Travel time is 20-30 minutes.

ENTRANCE FEE:
30 pesos per person


Hinatuan Enchanted River
Flocked by a lot of people during summer
Hinatuan Enchanted River
Shallow part

Hinatuan Enchanted River
View from the end of one bridge
Hinatuan Enchanted River
This way to paradise
Hinatuan Enchanted River
Plants all around
Hinatuan Enchanted River
Splash of colors
 

13 comments:

  1. I saw this and it made me feel like time had stopped in this spot. Enchanted it is.

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    1. Hypnotizing, isn't it? Thanks for dropping by :)

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  2. Maganda nga dito. May island hopping din sa enchanted river, may cave and vanishing island din doon. You missed one of the tourist spot in SURIGAO DEL SUR THE BRITANIA ISLAND.. :)

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    1. Hi! Di kami nakapunta sa vanishing island dahil kulang sa oras. Actually kasama sa original itinerary ko yung Britania kaso nung narealize namin ng kasama ko na kulang kami sa time,Britania ung tinanggal namin.But I would love to visit that place pag nakabalik ako ng Surigao :)

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  3. Hi im planning to go visit this place soon any hotels that arent too pricy? Thanks much love your blog!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Elan! Are you planning to visit this place along with nearby Tinuy-an Falls? If you are, I highly suggest you spend the night in Bislig City. I find Hinatuan too remote and you would have a hard time looking for a good place to dine. Casa de Babano in Mangagoy, Bislig is where I stayed. They have rooms for as low as 200 pesos I think, and group aircon rooms are 600 pesos up, good for at least two people. For a good compilation of accommodations in Bislig and Hinatuan, i'll refer you to Sir Angel's list right here: http://www.lakwatsero.com/destinations/travel-guide-bislig-and-hinatuan/

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    2. Thank you so much!!! I appreciate it! Looking forward to your other trips! God bless :))

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  4. Hi, we will go to see the enchanted river and the falls this coming July... However, I worry that we will not be able to find a hotel since we will probably arrive in Bislig at around 4am... Is the city a rural-ish place?

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  5. Hi, we will go to see the enchanted river and the falls this coming July... However, I worry that we will not be able to find a hotel since we will probably arrive in Bislig at around 4am... Is the city a rural-ish place?

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    Replies
    1. Hello Kaye! Though Bislig is a city, it still feels rural. Shops close as early as 6pm. On the other hand, most hotels and inns operate 24/7 and public tricycles are almost always available so getting to Bislig in the wee hours is not really a problem. I hope you'll have a great vacation!

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  6. Meron din ba nag ooffer ng tour package dito? Thanks

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  7. Kasanting!!! Taga okarin ka?

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