Hiding in the rocky mountains of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur, lies a river that is something you've never seen before. A river so enchanted, very little is known about this mysterious river and it's unexplored cave. Yet, it's beauty and crystal clear waters make people from all over the world visit this place. And, that's what I did!
A lot of people wonder where the water from this river comes from due to its clarity. Is it salty or fresh water, is it a spring or what, but all I can say is it was the clearest water I've ever swum in!
From Bislig, I woke up as early as 5am to catch the Habal-Habal of Kuya Alan that would take me from Hinatuan at a very good price. He told me that he would accompany me the whole time so he could take care of my bags and I could enjoy my swim. It's nice to have someone whom you trust and can leave your belongings with since many tourists visit the Enchanted river.
The trip took us almost 3 hours from Bislig and from the highway it's another 12 kms to the Enchanted River. I cannot explain just how excited I was to see this river! Another dream finally becoming reality!
A few kilometers from the Enchanted River, the scene started to change. It almost like nature is telling me that you are approaching a place full of mysticism. The trees covering the road do create a different atmosphere.
And finally, I arrived at the Enchanted River!
There is an entrance fee of Php 30.00 and if you don't know how to swim, you can rent a vest for Php 100.00 . If you are in a group, you can also rent these cottages at a very affordable price.
I wasn't the only one overwhelmed at the place. When I arrived, there were so many tourist already. I was just glad that I got a chance to have a picture taking at this signage. Now I wanted to see that river! The Enchanted River is open early and it closes at 5:00 pm.
First glimpse, WOW! I couldn't believed what I was seeing. I was just overawed - speechless - overwhelmed!
I just couldn't wait to take a plunge and explore this water down under. It is believed to be over 90 feet deep and at the bottom, there is a cave which until now is unexplored.
There are also different swimming areas, they have small lagoons if you go further right. But, if you are not so sure, rent a vest since there is a mild current in the area. And since it is a mixture of salt and fresh water, it is difficult to float.
I walked further out to the main lagoon to check what was out there. Apparently there are nearby islands where you can do some island hopping from this river out to the sea.
But wherever you looked the Enchanted River is a beautiful place indeed! No doubt about that!
Now, that I walked around, time to hit the water. Though there were so many people, most of them were in the shallow part. Thank goodness, I know how to swim so I stayed in the deep part of the river. A rope divides the shallow and deep part of the river.
I still couldn't believe how clear and blue the water was. People might think it's photoshopped, but there is no need to do that. This is the true beauty of nature at it's finest!
The Enchanted River is beautiful from above, but wait till you see what is down there. An enchanting landscape only found at Enchanted River.
Swimming along with you are the huge fish swimming along the river. They go very close to you sometimes if you are still but they don't bite.
Though not professional, deep diving is also one of my favorite things to do when in the sea or in a clear water like this one. And when I saw the photos, I couldn't believe what came out!
Below this river, lies an underwater cave that until now is unexplored. There were few divers who attempted to explore this cave but currents and the situation underwater hindered the divers from pushing on with the exploration. The water is not as salty so it doesn't not burn your eyes even without the goggles or masks.
After swimming for hours, I heard a voice from the megaphone asking the people to get out of the river. I asked Kuya Alan what for, and he said it was time for the fish feeding which I had no idea about but I was already seeing a lot of people cramming at the edge. So I guess, this is one of the highlights here at Enchanted River.
So from all around the river, people swam back to the river bank and waited for the fish feeding at 12:00 noon. Tourist were in awe and fascinated with all the fish came out from this clear waters. The feeding only took around 5 minutes and after that, swimmers could go back to the water and continue swimming.
Fish feeding started and suddenly all the huge fishes came out from nowhere and started their feast. I was shocked to see so many fish, now where did they come from?
The Enchanted River definitely is a place that we could be proud of as Filipinos. This is the most beautiful river I've seen and you will see when you visit . Though the trip was long, it's all worth it in the end once you see this river. It is very rare to find something like this and I hope our government will do everything to protect this hidden gem in Hinatuan.
I would also like to thank Allan - My habal-habal driver from Bislig who drove me from Bislig to Hinatuan and down to the Hinatuan Bus Terminal en route to Butuan. You will find him when you go to Bislig Bus Terminal. They normally lounge around the terminal and everybody there knows him.
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