An enchanting experience, October 10, 2015
An enchanting experience, October 10, 2015

Earth is full of mysteries, it is for you to discover them.

In around an hour of motor ride from the town proper of Hinatuan, one can reach Barangay Cambatong, where one of the most famous rivers in the country is located. According to some folklore, there are elementals (others would prefer fairies or nature spirits) living within the river and its surroundings. A number of stories say that these creatures are responsible for protecting and cleaning the river, as it is both their playground and their home. The color of its water is so clear and surreal that anyone who sees it will definitely say that it is mystical or enchanted, hence, its name.

While swimming in its crystal clear water, you can see various fishes of varying colors and sizes. At noon, the caretaker of the ecopark invites all the visitors to gather along the river as they feed the fishes. Maybe, this is one of the reasons why the fishes are very accustomed to the presence of people.

As with other rivers, the Enchanted River has varying depths which the visitors should really consider when choosing where to swim, in order for them to avoid being drowned, especially when they are planning to bring children with them. Presently, this problem has been managed by the tourism office by constructing shallow pool-like structures at some areas of the river and by making life vests available for the visitors to rent.

During our visit, I was really excited to see and witness the enchanting beauty that many people are claiming this river has. Although it was indeed beautiful, my experience during our stay was not that great given the presence of a very high volume of visitors. It was not a holiday nor a weekend when we visited the river ecopark that was why we were actually surprised of such number of visitors. Also, as mentioned by a friend who has been there before, the color of the river was much clearer when she first visited it a few years ago. It could be due to the number of visitors going to the area on a regular basis since the river ecopark is now much accessible.

I think that the tourism office has really did a great job of conserving the cleanliness of the river, as one could really observe at the area. However, the overall quality of the river is not dependent alone on the management of the solid wastes, but on other factors as well. The management should really look into limiting the number of visitors at the ecopark or having a day-off and let the fairies do their magic.

Overall, we enjoyed our entire stay at the river ecopark. It was brief but definitely something worth remembering.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, left nothing but memories.

Additional notes:

  • Be sure to be at the river park before noon so you will have a chance to witness the feeding of the fishes. It is only done once per day, as per experts’ advice, so once you miss it, you have to wait for another day to see it. They do not allow also special requests.
  • Wearing life vest is not required, however, it is still better to wear one. Always remember, the safer, the better.
  • Wear goggles so you can have a clearer view of the large and colorful fishes that can be found at the river.
  • Smoking is not allowed inside and even outside the vicinity of the enchanted river.
  • The enchanted river is open from 6am to 5pm daily.
  • Always be reminded of a simple rule: garbage in, garbage out. Pls help in conserving and protecting our environment.
  • If you have any inquiries, you may contact their hotline number at 09099553077.
  • As for food, there are a number of stalls available few meters away the entrance of the river ecopark. You can either buy a cooked food or ask them to cook fresh seafoods. Once they are done cooking your food, they will deliver it to your cottage inside the river ecopark.

Acknowledgements:

I would like to send my sincerest gratitude to Ms. Carenne Amador-Jabay for providing me with the travel guide and as well as the estimated budget; also to her family for allowing us to stay at their home. 

Travel Guide    
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
Bancasi Airport (Butuan City) to bus terminal Multicab (Route 4/R4) 20 minutes
Butuan City to Hinatuan Bus (Mangagoy bound) 5 hours
Hinatuan (highway crossing) to Enchanted River Motorcyle or Van/Multicab 1 hour

 

Estimated Budget (in Philippine Peso)  
Transportation (one-way)  
Bancasi Airport (Butuan City) to bus terminal 20
Butuan City to Hinatuan* 200
Hinatuan (highway crossing) to Enchanted River** 150-250
   
Entrance Fee  
Adult 30
Children 5
   
Food (Good for group of 5) 600
   
Cottage 300
   
Vest (per hour)**** 15
*Another option is to board a bus bound for Davao but alight at San Francisco. From San Francisco, transfer to another bus or van that is bound for Mangagoy and tell the conductor to drop you off at the crossing going to Enchanted River. The cost is Php 230 (Php 100 for a bus ride from Butuan to San Francisco, then Php 130 for a van rideto Hinatuan).   
**You may hire a van or multicab for one whole day that will take you to Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River and Britania Islands. This is safer than motorcyles and cheaper especially if you are traveling in a big group. The cost of van is Php 4,500 to Php 5,000. You may negotiate directly with vans/multicabs that are in the terminal or through the inn that you will be staying (though they may be a bit more expensive).  
***you may negotiate directly with vans/multicabs that are in the terminal or through the inn that you will be staying (though they may be a bit more expensive)  
****They have a “No ID, No rent” policy. One ID is already good for the whole group.

Some photos at Hinatuan Echanted River:

IMG_0721
the food stalls near Hinatuan River
IMG_0722
some ready to eat food that you can order from the stalls
stores just outside the river ecopark
stores just outside the river ecopark
the big signage outside the river ecopark
the big signage outside the river ecopark
the big signpost inside the river ecopark
the big signpost inside the river ecopark
family and friends staying along the shallow portion of the river
family and friends staying along the shallow portion of the river
floating and enjoying the water
floating and enjoying the water
the life guard hut
the life guard hut

IMG_0729

the stairs leading to the upper portions of the river ecoparl
the stairs leading to the upper portions of the river ecoparl
cottages available for vistors
cottages available for vistors
cottages and tables
cottages and tables

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