The Hinatuan River, also known as the Enchanted River, is a salt water river found in the province of Surigao Del Sur in Mindanao, Philippines. We first saw this place in one of the local tv shows in Manila and from then on it has been our dream to visit this intriguing but at the same time captivating river. This is the main reason why we wanted to go to Mindanao in the first place. We wanted to know the mystery surrounding the river and it’s inhabitants. After many months of scouring for cheap flights, we finally made it in Hinatuan.
Prior to booking our tickets, we didn’t know that there was an upcoming holiday. We try to avoid the crowd in all our trips but this time was an exception. It was a long weekend, hence tourists were everywhere! We even bumped into Dimples Romana and her family. She is really pretty and very humble, no body guards or anything.
The habal-habal ride from Bislig where Tinuy-an falls is located to Hinatuan will take approximately 1 hour.
The entrance fee is P30 per head and the picnic tables are for rent for P100. Since it was a holiday, no tables or huts were available so we just left our things on the benches near the river. The river is really deep so life jackets are a must f you are not a good swimmer. The life jackets are for rent for P15 per hour.
I felt the butterflies in my stomach flutter as we walked towards the river and wow how stunning it was. I couldn’t believe we were finally there!
We haven’t eaten anything yet for breakfast and it was almost lunch time when we got there. Our stomachs were rumbling so we bought lunch in the food stalls along the entrance. We got rice and adobong pugita for 3 which costed us P150. The amazing thing was the lady vendor allowed us to pay for our meal when are about to leave since she did not have any change for a P500 bill yet. I adore how they can be so trustful even towards strangers/visitors. And the food? Yeap. It was oh so delicious. ☺
We were so excited to go in the water, we didn’t mind the crowd at all. W just enjoyed the moment. ☺
I’m not a very strong swimmer so I just stayed in my comfort zone, the 4ft swimming area were most of the kids were. Mind you they were much better swimmers than I am. 🙂 I really love kids and I think that’s one of the many reasons why I’m a kid magnet! Maybe the kids think I am in ther age because of my small size haha! That’s when I met these 2 lovely girls who were very curious of everything about manila. They kept hugging me like we have been friends for so long. 🙂 They were very cute and polite! Hope to see you two in the near future 🙂
I have been to many rivers in the past but this is my first time to encounter a salty river. Too salty it hurts if you swim with your eyes opened so bring goggles with you. The scenery down there was just so overwhelming and scary at the same time because of its unknown depths!
No one has actually reached the bottom of this river. One cave diver even perished while exploring the under water cave. Some say he suffered a cardiac arrest, others say he was pulled further into the cave because of the strong current and many believe that he was punished by the river’s spiritual inhabitants.
At 12NN the bell rang which ment that it’s feeding time! Everyone were asked to get out of the river and stay on the side. The fish started surfacing from nowhere. Somehow they knew that it was time to eat when the staff rang the bell. With a relaxing background music, the staff threw bread crumbs in the water and hundreds and hundreds of fish came rushing to the surface to feed. I will never forget that moment. The fish even bumped into our camera when the staff threw the food near our watching area. 🙂 The fish feeding lasted for about 30 minutes.
Local legend says that no one has ever caught a fish in this river. Even when fishermen leave their nets overnight, they will mysteriously find their nets on top of the trees the next day.
Hinatuan also offer island hopping tours which costs P150 per hour. It includes visiting a beach, a cave, a mountain peak and a fish cage where you can swim with countless numbers of fish. We opted not to avail it because we were already tired and we were ready to visit our next destination which is the Britannia Islands. 🙂
Click the video above to watch our Surigao/Davao adventure vlog!