Paradise Lost - Hinatuan's Enchanted River

by 5:14 PM 2 comments
Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

 They paved paradise to put up a public pool. That's how I see it. It is sad...

"The Blue Abyss" I name it because of its endless chasm of crystal clear water - its blueness is the testimony of its depth. An out of this world blue lagoon nestled within a mountainside and protectively cloaked by a forest. Its azure blue hue comes from the Pacific sea pouring in from a deep underwater crevice. To local folks, it is said to be enchanted as it is known to be home by nameless sea spirits in folklores. It's full of rich marine fishes swimming in the deep blue, no one is said to have ever caught one. Once you take a dip in the cool, crystal clear waters, you don't ever want to come out. The underwater cave has never been explored because of the strong current many foreign divers attempted to conquer it's depth but all failed. I guess that's what makes this place truly enchanting.

This is the vivid image in my head of the place. Photo by Jojie Alcantara.
Way back then before I recognize my wandering skill it has been a long time dream to visit this river. There's just something in this river that's arousing that wanderlust in me. Staring at that picture seems to transport you to a vivid dream and almost impossible to believe that such a beautiful place could exist here on Earth. I knew way back then that this river is going to make it big in the tourism department. In the years that pass by it sure did and for some reason it has lost its magic when I finally gaze on it with my two eyes. 

We started our adventure trip to this place early in the morning to hopefully cover more grounds because of our limited time and we expect that it's a long trip to Hinatuan from Bislig *where we retire for the night after Tinuy-an Falls* Bislig to Hinatuan by bus is expected to take 2 hours and the habal-habal ride to go deep into the mountainside is an another travel time to consider. It was a smooth trip that cut short of waiting time because when we arrived in the bus terminal in Hinatuan a habal-habal seems conveniently waiting for us hehee... Yes we were blessed all throughout the trip. For only P160 we got a deal with the driver - P320 for a round trip though it's best to pay one way if you're alone because once you're there you'll never have a hard time finding a ride back because it's overly popular now.

It's a long dusty, bumpy 12km habal-habal trip that takes you in a roller coaster thrill ride because of the curves, ascents & descents in that long winding road of estimated 20 minutes travel time. Just before we arrive in the place we pass through a creepy forest tunnel of vegetation and be amaze to see a public market after hahaa! Yes it feels like that when we got there because its teeming with people from all part of the country.

Even with all the bustling ambiance of the place it did not affect my excitement at all to gaze the blue river of my dream with my own two eyes.

I must say that I was impressed with the signage design. Perfect for the place!
Entrance Fee - P10 (adult) & P2 (children)
Rubber table with 4 chairs and umbrella - P50
Green roof with two benches - P50
Booth type cottage - P100
Tent type cottage - P100
 Multipurpose Building - P400
Extra chair - P5

When I go down to see the river myself I was - huh? somethings not right. This was supposed to be blue than the usual green. Many things have been going on my head at that time on reasons why it's now green. I was having a monologue in my head ... "maybe it's no longer as clean as before with all of the people going in & out of place but that's impossible bcoz it's a flowing water or maybe the picture I've seen are edited..." I was disappointed seeing that this is all there is to it. Expectation hurts! I don't even feel like swimming in 
that moment.

WTF! it's green not BLUE!!
The bridge that connect to the other side of the river.
Abundant of fishes that can't be caught.

The boats that carries people for some short island hopping.

Slowly turns blue as noon approaches.

Turns out it's during noon time that the water magically transform into a deep blue hue when the river's current gone strong and the water level subsided a little to reveal a white sand and white rock in the riverbed. It's hard to come up with a reason how it changes color, the only reason I could think of is that as the current becomes stronger more salt water from the underground cave is mixed to the river so that's probably why the color change to a blue hue.

It reaches a deep blue hue after noon 1pm onwards.

The mystical atmosphere of the river has been lost due to the opening of it to the world. Part of its irreplaceable beauty is its serenity and isolation from the outside world. Now they took some trees, pave the path and more constructions going on to make the place convenient to tourists. The place slowly transforms to a different place in human hands and it will be completely unrecognizable from it's former self when the construction and tourism will reach its peak.

 The experience wouldn't be complete without me posing me for a shoot.

If the river could speak for itself the I guess it would - "You've already enjoyed my waters and benefited from my resources then why are you trying to change me for your own convenience when I'm already beautiful as I am now."

This is its former beauty that is forever lost with the intervention of humans. Photo taken by Jojie Alcantara.

Getting here!

via BUTUAN AIRPORT (best route)
BUTUAN CITY --- Langihan Bus Terminal ( take the Hinatuan bus ) P2oo for 4 hrs with earliest bus to depart at 4am --- reach HINATUAN --- take a bumpy habal-habal ride to Enchanted River for P150 for more or less 20 mins. 

OTHER ACTIVITIES IN ENCHANTED RIVER BESIDES SWIMMING ( I suggest to give the place 1 day if you plan a side trip here)
  •  witness an one hour fish feeding during noon time. Fishes overload!
  • take the island hopping tour to Sibadan Fishcage, Margarett Island Golden Sand, Tinago Islets, Vanishing island etc for only P160 per hour per boat good for 5 pax (will soon cover in other blog post)

 Leave you with this to have an idea of what's in store of the island hopping tour.

Uh well I bet you will enjoy the island hopping here better --- Hinatuan's Island Hopping

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.


  1. Very beautiful, The green water turns blue in the afternoon, that's cool.. Love to go there one day..

  2. Yes you should try that river Tina. It's a must try! Thanks for dropping by Tina.


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