Hinatuan Enchanted River

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The Hinatuan Enchanted River is a deep spring river on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean at Barangay Talisay, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It is found between the boundaries of Barangays of Talisay and Cambatong. It earned the moniker “enchanted river” from the diplomat Modesto Farolan who described the river in his poem entitled “Rio Encantado”.

Hinatuan Enchanted River
Photo Credit: wikimedia.org

The river’s unusual colors and unexplored depths has inspired various local legends. One story tell of fairies that added the colors of sapphire and jade to the river to make its unique shade. Local fisher folk also report seeing fish in the river that cannot be caught through any means. According to locals, the river was called the Enchanted River because of the engkantos that dwell there.Their legends also say that the river is haunted by supernatural beings which act as its protectors.

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Hinatuan Enchanted River
Photo Credit: islandsofthephilippines.com

One of the most unique features of the enchanted river is its unfathomable depth. This is why many tourist swim in the shallow part of the enchanted river area with water’s shade range from aquamarine to blue. The dark blue color in the river simply means the water is very deep. The enchanted river has the most magical moment; at exactly 12 noon the caretaker rings the bell requesting everyone to get out from the water as is “feeding time”. The “hymn of Hinatuan” is played and a massive school of fish pops out from nowhere. The fishes gather near the mouth of the river as the caretaker feeds them some leftovers of shrimp, rice, and other food scraps.

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The fishes’ silvery scales look spectacular as they’re exposed to light gleaming with radiance as they swirl around trying to beat each other to the food. When feeding time is over the fishes disappear or at least become more inconspicuous.

Tourists visiting this enchanted river usually swim in specific areas as there are creepy stories where people drown and never floating back. It is believed that probably the spirits took them. The locals here believe that these same spirits are entirely responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and pristine color of the river. Despite these supernatural and unexplainable mysteries that surround the enchanted river, tourists are satisfied with the spectacular beauty upon seeing the place. It is indeed captivating and mesmerizing.

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The area has cottages, picnic tables, tent and chairs all available for picnic for all the tourists visiting. The stalls here offer a wide array of drinks and delicious food which are fresh including seafood. There are lifeguards who are always on duty and visible. Smoking is not allowed within the Enchanted River premises. The facility is usually closed at 5:00 p.m. No one is allowed to swim at night or go near the river. According to the legends, this is the time for the people not in this world to use it or some spirits are watching over the river. Indeed, it is enchanted.

Credit: wikipedia.org & islandsofthephilippines.com

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