Iniity

Travel Diaries| Enchanted River of Hinatuan

Formally known as the Hinatuan River, the Enchanted River is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Surigao del Sur and the rest of Mindanao. This beautiful river is said to be wrapped in mystery and supernatural events so that it gained renown as being enchanted. There are several unexplained mysteries and features that this stunning river has to offer to keep you guessing.

Enchanted River


Enchanted River

Endless Tales of “Enkantos” and Supernatural Beings

The Enchanted River got its name from the many mysteries that surround its stunning beauty. The locals have plenty of legends associated with the river, many of which involve tales of enkantos and various supernatural beings. Some tales speak of people getting lost in the river or strong swimmers drowning in its depths, never to return again.

Some fishermen tell about encounters with fish species they have never seen before yet could not be caught no matter what method or net they use. There are also tales of traps laid in the waters only to be found tangled above the ground the following day.

There are also plenty of “sightings” of strange creatures and beautiful maidens, said to be enkantos living in its depths and in the surrounding balete trees. There are no modern documentations and evidence to prove these stories. You can feel free to think what you want to think. It could be that there is no evidence because you can’t capture an enkanto on film, can you? Maybe because these are mere tales spun by people with overactive imaginations? Or, perhaps, these tales are made by those trying to promote the “mystery” of the river to gain more tourists. Who knows?

Enchanted River


Spring Source

The presence of a spring has never been proven at the beginning of the Enchanted River, making it seem like this river just bursts into a life of its own. Of course, underground springs are the logical source of water in this river but the exact source has yet to be found.

The current is also quite strong so that those who do not know how to swim are discouraged from jumping into the water without a life vest. Several life guards watch over the swimmers but it is still best to exercise caution.


Salty Water

Also, the water is quite salty along the river. Remember, rivers are often categorized as fresh water bodies; thus, a salty river like the Hinatuan River is often viewed as a freak of nature. So, why is it salty? Again, there is no definite answer. However, it is a known fact that the river flows to the Pacific Ocean. Its close proximity to the ocean could mean that the underground springs feeding the river could receive salt water when the tides are high.

How did the saltwater reach the spring? Well, it could be because of possible caverns or fissures underground. To this day, however, no concrete proof has yet been put forth, adding to the mystery of this beautiful river. The river is also short so that it would be logical to deduce that what the skeptics are saying about the saltwater source might really be true.


Unknown Depth

For such a very short river, Hinatuan offers a remarkable feature: deep blue waters typical of the deeper parts of the sea. This sliver of dark azure water signifies the outlandish depth that this river surely has, something that has never been measured in actuality. Meaning, no one really knows the exact depth of the Enchanted River because no one has ever reached the bottom and lived to tell the tale (or so they say).

Now, considering that this is a popular river, you could probably ask how they were never able to measure its exact depth. Well, a lot of people actually tried, complete with diving gear and modern gadgets – to no avail. There are caves underneath the river. Several expeditions by a team of expert divers were never a huge success. Some underground areas may be mapped but no further passage can be found to allow them to go beyond certain portions of the cave or passage. Even those who found passages in previous dives got a surprise in the form of blocked passageways during their next dive.


The “Trained” Fishes and the 12 o’clock Bell

Swimming or taking a dip in the river is prohibited for 1 hour, with a bell struck at 12 o’clock as signal for the people to go out of the water. At this hour, the staffs at the resort throw food into the waters to feed the large fishes that seem to come out of nowhere. What’s the mystery in that? You see, while the people are having fun throughout the day, only a handful of small fishes can be seen in the waters. Yet at the stroke of noon when the bell is rang, large fish suddenly come up and grab at the food, feeding and foraging for that 1 hour. Then, just as silently as they came, they are nowhere to be seen after the designated feeding time.

Logic tells us that fish, especially several schools of various species, could never be trained to wait for a bell to strike before them swim in a particular area. You could, perhaps, train the fish in your aquarium (though that is highly unlikely!). This is another one of those seemingly creepy mysteries that surround the Enchanted River.


Enchanted River



A Curfew

Overnight stays along the river, especially those involving night swimming, are strongly discouraged – even to the point of being prohibited. This is for your own safety. Please do not try to be clever by sneaking past the guards. You may not believe tales about enkantos but there is no guarantee for your safety in the river or along its banks at night.


A Truly Enchanting River

Skeptics often claim that there are scientific evidence to prove that the mysteries of the Enchanted River have logical explanations. Well, to this date, we are still waiting for whoever that genius might be who could prove that science, not enkantos, has the power over this mysterious river. Whether that could happen in the near future, I have no idea. Let’s just wait and see what happens next.

What I truly know is that the Hinatuan River is truly an enchanting body of water, its beauty beyond compare – with or without its mind-boggling mysteries. Let us just hope that tourism and modern developments will not further mar the beauty of this magnificent Enchanted River.


Enchanted River

NOTES: Entrance fee is 30 pesos per person, life jacket rent is 15 pesos per hour, and cottage rent costs P100.00.The best time to visit the river is around 12:00 NOON to 1:00 PM and  from 4:00 to 5:00 PM - feeding time were different varieties of fishes are coming –out from nowhere. Locals are selling fresh sea foods in stalls few meters from the entrance; you can buy and ask them to cook for you.

Inihaw


HOW TO GET THERE

By Air Major airlines have direct daily flights from Cebu and Manila going to Surigao City (Surigao del Norte), Butuan City (Agusan del Norte), and Davao City.


By Sea |Inter-island vessels like the Super-ferry and Sulpicio Lines serves the Manila-Butuan or Cebu Butuan routes on regular schedules with Nasipit Port as transit point. Aircon vans are available at the port area  or take a jeepney to the city terminal for the regular bus trips passing the town of Hinatuan.


From Butuan City. Ride in a bus (non-aircon) bound to Mangagoy of Bislig City- 5- hour travel. Tell the driver to drop you in eskina(crossing) going to Enchanted river. Don’t worry you can see the large tarpaulin of the river along the highway. From eskina, hire a habal-habal/motorcycle going to the location of the spot. Travel time is more or less 45 minutes.  
  • For group tour (minimum of 5-6 pax) better to hire an air-conditioned van from Butuan City as the cost is quite close or much cheaper, less time consuming/tiring. You may contact 09295278589 look for Kuya Jo. During this Surigao del Sur trip we've got the deal (including Tinuy-an Falls) for  P6000 only.
From Surigao City. Ride in a bus/van bound to Butuan City- 3-hour travel. At Butuan City Bus Terminal, ride in a bus bound to Mangagoy (Bislig City). Then follow instructions above.

From Davao City. There are non air-conditioned buses in Davao Ecoland Terminal directly bound to Mangagoy in Bislig City. Travel time is more or less 6 hours.  From Mangagoy ride in a bus bound to San Francisco/Butuan City – tell the driver to drop you in eskina/crossing Enchanted River- that’s more or less an hour travel. Another option is you can ride in an aircon bus going to Butuan City, get-off at crossing San Francisco and ride in a bus or jeepney going to Mangagoy.

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32 comments:

  1. I love this post! It's a summary of all things that I need to know with this beautiful place. I want to go here but I need time, and companions, who will go with me with this tiring yet worth it journey to see the enchanted river. =)

    http://thisislovelee.blogspot.com/

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  2. This is interesting. I am planning to visit some beautiful places in the Philippines before this year ends but unfortunate, Enchanted River is not on my list this time. ^_^ I look forward to be in this spot on my next tour schedule - hopefully.

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  3. Myyyyyyyyyyyy....how blue! I can drink that! lols. So pretty...and the grilled fish had me at hello! :) Thanks for sharing this enchanted river trip!

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  4. Wow!! I want to swim on those blue water. It must be really nice to be there.

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  5. I grew up in Mindanao but have never been to this beautiful and mysterious body of water. If I have the chance to go back to Mindanao, I'd visit the Enchanted River.

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  6. The grilled fish is the winner for me although I love the blue water!

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  7. the enchanted river is indeed very enchanting, wish i can jump in there right now too, and i won't dare measure the depth of the river, because i would love to taste that yummy grilled fish!!!! ah, you make me miss Philippines.

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  8. Ahh, look at those blue waters! So inviting! I feel refreshed just looking at those photos. That "sinugba" made me drool, too!

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  9. I love the blue water and it looks so refreshing during the day.

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  10. What a beautiful and enchanting place to go for a swim! Love that "trained" fishes' story too

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  11. Enchanted is really a wonderful tourist destination! Excited ako to visit the place again :)

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  12. i guess,the mystery that surrounds the river makes it all the more enchanting and that attracts a lot of tourist. however, sans the mystery and judging by the beautiful photos you have here -the river deserves to be visited.
    must be the rich minerals in the stones might have caused the saltiness?

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  13. WOW!!! That is indeed an enchanted place, look at that gorgeous blue water, all i want to do is to swim in that place. Definitely going to my next place visit while in the PHils.

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  14. Sir, Jeff , you have supplied us all we have to know about this enchanting river. Definitely a must-see place.

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  15. Wow! That body of water looks so surreal! That blue? Amazing! Thanks for sharing this travel destination, sir!

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  16. This is the one place in Mindanao that I've been meaning to go for the longest time. Just waiting for the right time and company.

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  17. Very enchanting indeed and so much more!!! I've never heard of this travel destination before but I am glad you wrote something comprehensive about the place!

    Mindanao has vast array of untouched destinations that we ought to discover. Thanks for the beautiful share!

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  18. wow, beautiful place to see...and the water, perfectly lovely, enchanting indeed, living its name! :) you're so lucky and blessed to see these places.

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  19. this creeps the hell out of me. especially the story about those who attempted to check out how deep it is. really enchanted eh?

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  20. Your description of the river makes me want to visit it soon! :) its deep blue color is truly enchanting!

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  21. hi guys!!! do you think its okay to hit this place up in march?

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    1. whole year round- Enchanted river is perfect destination Danny

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  22. I just visited this place with a van full of family. It was amazing. I wish we stayed longer.

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  23. I saw your website is promoting beautiful places in the Philippines.

    I am starting a site for OFW to see the Philippines, Based in Toronto Canada.

    How can i utilize your picture? write up? any video?

    will be willing to point a link to your website.

    tom

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tom,

      Thanks for dropping here! You can reach me via email @ jeffreyrilles@travelingmorion.com/travelingmorion@gmail.com

      Thanks

      /travelingmorion

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  24. I am making an itinerary for Hinatuan and I am thankful on your van contact info, I will have my brother contact him.

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  25. we've visited the place last may 18,2014 with family...malayo man ang byahe super sulit s ganda ng lugar (from Tacurong City) .....enchanted nga!majestic!!!no words to discribe the place un un....napaluha ako noong una kng masilayan ito kakakilabot s ganda..daming tao ngunit mapakatahimik ng palibot,,,nakakarelax..puno ng tanong sumagi s isip ko noon..sino nk discover ng place,kelan it n discover...as we xplore na..tanong ko nmn kng san galing ang tubig,,ang mga isda..totoo nga d end still unknown........and its enchanted river nga eh..hehehe.........guys its a must try to visit,,all yrs round po pwede and di man nmin napuntahan ang iba pang karatig lugar nito at iba pang tourist distination..baon ko nmn ang mga gagandang alala....panalangin na sana pag balik nmn dito ganito p rin ito k ganda at maipagmamalaki s buong mundo..alam po ntin ang dulot nitong kabuhay s mga taga roon......sana po di nlng kwento ang mapasa ko s aking mga apo.....treasure the gift of nature...pra sa atin po ito at s atin po ang balik ng kalikasan.....

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  26. We were the first ones to arrive @ 7am when we went here so the water is not as vibrant as in your pictures but I have seen the fishes. since I am not a swimmer, we were mostly in the shallow portion and it's not bad. the water is clear and cold. the kids love it here and so do I. :)

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  27. Hi sir. I am a Hinatuanon (local of Hinatuan) .. I am not new to these tales but I TOTALLY LOVE HOW YOU CONVEYED IT LIKE YOUR ONE OF THE hinatuanons. This post had me relived those times when after the then internationally popular island got infamous (I forgot the Island's name but I'll ask my grandma), enchanted river pops out of nowhere and got viral across the country. We always wanted to see the river back when it was not yet commercialized but strictly prohibited by the elders because of its tales. I also agree that there were no successful attempts in measuring the river's depth (I know because one of the team who tried lodged across our house). After the casts of SPIRITS - Maja Salvador and Joseph Bitangcol did their shooting in Enchanted river, it was only then that the elders loosen their reins and allowed us (youths in general) to visit enchanted river.

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  28. www.filipinocavedivers.com has a full scientific report from the biophysical survey made last year of the area...

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