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The Enchanted River located in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, The Philippines

Enchanted. According to Mr. Webster, this means to put someone or something under a spell. This word will become literal, and not just a mere adjective, once you take a glimpse of the Enchanted River located in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, Philippines.


The river can be viewed from a steep slope from the road. Its riverbed is of limestone. The water is cool and brackish. Although, it is a wide misconception that countless divers have attempted to dive the bottom of the river and failed, this is not true. The river has been measured to be 24 meters in depth.

The river got it name not only from its picturesque quality, but also because of the mysteries and myths surrounding it. It is widely believed that in one firefly-lit night, fairies floated above the river and elves were watching from the cliffs and banks. With sapphires and jades, the fairies stirred the water with their wands and mixed the beautifully colored gems to paint the plain water bluish green.
I was only 12 years old when I first saw this river. And the beauty of it made me believe in fairies and mermaids. I tell you, it is amazing how you could only imagine why the waters changed its colors from the sides towards the center. It looked like a hidden lagoon. And it certainly looked like a picture from your dreams.

I personally heard some of the stories behind the magic of the river. My grandmother told me that fishermen swear that they have seen various fish but couldn’t catch any no matter how they tried—not by hand, spear or net. One day, a certain fisherman had successfully caught a fish from the river. Because of the ethereal beauty of the fish, they decided to display the fish in an aquarium. The next day, the fisherman started to feel ill. And as the days progressed, he got weaker and frailer. Doctors have checked on him and medical laboratories were performed yet they could not find anything wrong with him. The man’s wife got desperate and decided to return the caught fish back to the river. And like magic, the fisherman gained his health back.

On my last visit, there has been quite changes in the surroundings of the river. The steep cliff leading to the river is now built with a concrete stairs. The vacant opening is now full of cottages and seating areas for guests. Some shallow part of the riverbed has been installed with concrete fittings that would mimic a swimming pool for children. Although they are built for the comfort of visitors, I personally think that these developments have somehow diminished the bewitching appeal of the river. Yet the color of the water is remained untouched, undisturbed and is still very enchanting.
This river is a perfect place whenever I get the need and urge to get away from the city. It is my escape from reality. It is where I get to believe in magic once again.

How to Get There:

From Luzon and Visayas – Ride a plane to Davao or Butuan. Butuan is the nearest hub to Enchanted River.
From Davao City – Ride a bus going to Bislig City/Mangagoy. From there, ride a bus going to San Francisco and ask the driver to drop you at the Hinatuan Stop. Then ride a motorcycle (for 1-2 pax) or multicab (bigger groups) going to the river.

From Butuan City – Ride a bus going to Bislig City/ Mangagoy. Ask the driver to drop you at the Hinatuan Stop. Then ride a motorcycle (for 1-2 pax) or multicab (bigger groups) going to the river.

/// Written by Laserhenna Balagat, The Philippines

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