As the name says, Enchanted River is believed by the natives to be protected by the fairies. With its unknown depth, thus the deep blue color of the water, unknown water source that flows towards the open sea, and the mysterious fishes that just pops out from nowhere; true enough, the river deserves to be called enchanted. I, myself, witnessed the mysterious sudden appearance of the big fishes. They appear at exactly 12 noon, in which the caretaker alerts the swimmers to get out from the water. Currently, further underwater exploration is still ongoing as to trace the river and underground cave structures and the source of its water.
Enchanted River is located in Hinatuan. The river is quite famous and is one of the most visited places in the Philippines.
How to get there:
- From Butuan, catch a bus or van trip bound for Hinatuan or Mangagoy.
- Disembark in Hinatuan terminal. Fare runs around 100php.
- From the terminal, ask the locals where you can get a ride going to the river.
- Usually, there are motorcycles right at the terminal that offers a ride to the river and back. Fare depends on your deal with the driver, but it usually runs around 300php back and forth.
- The river is around 12 kilometers away from the main highway, thus it would probably take around 30 minutes of motorcycle ride from the terminal
How I got there:
- Since we came from Bislig from our previous destination which was Tinuy-an Falls, we just chartered a motorcycle to get us from Bislig straight to the river. It was a long ride, around 1 hour and 30 minutes under the mid-noon sun.
What to expect:
- Entrance fee is around 30php per head.
- Table areas for rent are available.
- There are also stores selling food and souvenirs on the area.
- Life jackets for rent are also available.
- Expect large crowds especially during weekends and holidays.
- Avoid late August dates as it is Hinatuan’s annual fiesta, crowds will surely swarm the place.
- The area closes by 5:00PM
- Time your visit on off-peak season.
- Come early morning where there are fewer people.
- Do not forget your underwater cameras.
It was unfortunate when we arrived on the river. The time was not right. It was Hinatuan’s annual fiesta celebration the day before (August 28) and it was holiday the day we visited the river. As expected, there were many people visiting the river that it is impossible to get a spot to stay and place our bags. We just looked for a somehow hidden spot where we left our bags and other valuables as we briefly dipped into the river’s water. Guess this calls for another visit to the river soon.
Sad to see, but due to high volume of visitors, the river area lost its pristine image. Garbage and other sorts of trash can be spotted on the area. These are contributed by irresponsible and senseless visitors. So if you are going to visit the river, please be sensible enough. Preserve the image and cleanliness of this mystical river.
Clean-up and the river’s preservation is already one of the government’s priorities. Swimming near the mouth of the river’s cave is no more allowed.