Where: Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Who: Mr. & Mrs. Wanderlust
When: September 2014
What: Swim and dive the crystal clear but deep waters of Enchanted River.
For more detailed information about the trip, Click Read More or go directly to the page.
Nestled in the sleepy town of Hinatuan, a second class municipality of Surigao del Sur is a river that you thought would only exist in fairy tales. Only discovered in recent years, what was once an ordinary log pond at the height of the logging operations in Surigao del Sur in the 1950's is now one of the top tourist destinations in the province.
With its cool crystal clear water, the river is a must visit nature wonder. It has been drawing foreign and local tourists alike even before it was fully developed in late 2000's.
We have been seeing it in different travel blogs and even local news, the pictures really looked photo-shopped or edited, that you have to see it for yourself to believe. So when we
Too Long Didn't Read? (TL;DR) : It is hard to explain and think of adjectives to describe the beauty (and even the shades of colors) of enchanted river so we shall let the pictures do the talking, or better yet, you have to see it for yourselves.
From Manila, you can fly to either Butuan, Surigao City or Davao. Our personal choice was Bancasi Airport in Butuan but it always depends on your own travel itinerary / plans.
From Butuan, just outside its Bancasi Airport, there are vans waiting to go to Mangagoy (Bislig). Or you can head to Butuan Integrated City Terminal, look for van or bus going to Mangagoy, as it will pass to Hinatuan Town Proper (just tell the driver to drop you off Hinatuan). Fares for bus (as of Sept. 2014) is 215 PHP or around $6 per head.
If coming from Bislig City (Mangagoy), you can go to the town's terminal and there are buses and vans going to Hinatuan
At Ecoland Terminal ride a Bachelor bus bound for Mangagoy (Bislig). Then ask the driver to drop you off at Hinatuan Terminal; it is the last bus stop before arriving in Mangagoy, Bislig. Travel time is around 6-7 hours.
Now once you have arrived at Hinatuan town proper, there are these retrofitted motorcycles called "habal-habal" that can get you to Enchanted river via uncemented and rough road. Travel time is 30-45 minutes. It is advisable to charter the habal-habal to avoid further hassle and they will wait for you.
If money is not a factor, or you will travel in a bigger group (cheaper since cost can be divided among the group). You can always charter vans or multi-cabs for easy ride. But then again, foreigners and most travelers opt to try habal-habal for a more authentic experience of the province.
** as mentioned in our other post in Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig City, we recommend our habal-habal driver, Noel, he offers "pakyaw" or package tours on request. Contact is: 09126554098
Listed below are the contacts of accommodations in Hinatuan together with their contact numbers, if calling outside Philippines, use country code +63
Sibadan Fish Cage - 0909-9566508 / 0927-39362207 / 0916-9291305
C-Sand Bar Fish Cage - 0939-7888807 / 0915-4184550
Margarett Island Resort - 0906-3480197 / 0929-6651641
Sunview Beach - 0905-6262060Marky’s Hostel - Contact No.: 0928-4397785
> Enchanted river is connected to the open sea, visitors have the option for island hopping by renting a boat for 160 PHP or $4.
> Stay at a fish sanctuary and hostel called "C-Fish Cage N Sand Bars Resort" located in the middle of the sea. You can also catch fresh seafood and have them cook it for you.
> Swim and dive or even SCUBA dive in the Enchanted River.
> Have lunch at the cottages just a few meters away from Enchanted River.
> What you see is what you get, and when it is a holiday or a weekend, expect the river to be crowded, try to avoid that by either going on a weekday and early like 9am.
> Fish feeding happens every 12 noon and 4pm. And in these times, music is played and everyone is expected to get off the river.
> The color of the water is at its best when sun is up and is low tide.
Bus from Butuan to Hinatuan: PHP 200
Habal-habal - PHP 500 (or even higher if coming from different town)
Entrance Fee (Enchanted River) - PHP 30.00
Life Jacket Rentals - PHP 15 per hour
Picnic tables with umbrella - PHP 100
Cottages - PHP 500
Food: PHP 500 per day
Accommodation: PHP 400 - 1000 per day (depending on where you stay)
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