The words enchanted and river do not sound like they should go together, however the Hinatuan Enchanted River, a deep spring river on the second largest island of Philippines- Mindanao, will change your mind. Welcome to this week’s destination.
This beautiful river flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean at Hinatuan; a municipality in the Surigao del Sur province. Specifically, the river is found at the boundaries between the barangays of Talisay and Cambatong in Hinatuan. In 1999- Filipino reporter Alex Santos made the first exploration of the famed cave of Hinatuan Enchanted River.
The locals say the river’s unique colour occurred due to fairies stirring the river with sapphire and jade wands, leaving the color behind. While other locals tell the tales that supernatural beings dwell in the depths of the river and serve as protectors, causing such a colour to appear.
While putting on your swimsuit and jumping into the river seems like it would be a magical experience, swimming in the main river has been prohibited since 2017; as the government seeks to preserve and maintain this sight of beauty. However, you have the opportunity to swim 10 meters downstream in a much shallower area – life jackets are required to be worn.
If you are present at the Hinatuan Enchanted River during the afternoon you will witness the caretaker feeding the silver fish located below. The feeding begins as the caretaker rings a bell and plays the “Hymn of Hinatuan”. This tradition causes silver-scaled fish to emerge from the depths and congregate at the mouth of the river ready to be fed (during feeding, all are required to leave the river).
How to get to Hinatuan Enchanted River:
The closest airport is the Butuan City Domestic Airport, from here you can take a van into the Hinatuan town. Once in town, tricycles are available to take you through the jungle, heading towards the river.
Things to consider before your visit:
• Arrive early as the Hinatuan Enchanted River becomes crowded quickly, please note that there is an entry fee. We were u
• Fish are fed each afternoon, therefore if you would like to witness this, arrive in good time.
• People are not allowed to swim in the main river, therefore do not go with the expectation of doing so. You can swim in shallower parts.
• Life vests must be worn to enter the water – this ensures the safety of all. Therefore make sure your swimwear will fit comfortably underneath. Life vests are available to rent upon arrival.
• We recommend bringing your own food, however, you can find food and souvenirs sold by private vendors during your visit – there are picnic tables able to rent for you to eat at.
• Mosquito repellant is needed as there a thousands of mosquitoes!
• The spring closes at 5 PM, so be prepared to leave at this time and perhaps leave earlier to avoid crowds.
What is the cost?
Entrance fee : Php 30 per person (£0.50p GBP)
Life Jacket rental: Php 15 per hour (£0.22p GBP)
Picnic Table with Umbrella rental: Php 100 (£1.53 GBP)
Ensure you carry cash with you, especially coins or small notes.
We can all agree that these costs are extremely low for such a priceless experience. What do you think about this weeks location? Do you have your swimsuit ready?
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