Discovering the Enchanted River

This post is sooo long overdue (think almost a year!), but better late than never, right?

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It is not a hugely popular tourist destination in the Philippines (yet!) but if you look up Hinatuan Enchanted River on Google, you’ll see images of a beautiful lagoon-river with clear waters in different shades of blue, surrounded by lush greenery, which looks very enchanting indeed!

The Enchanted River flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is not that huge, but its deep blue waters will definitely call out to you and make you want to jump right in! (No worries if you can’t swim, they have floaters and vests you can rent.)

How to get there:

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My first habal-habal experience. This ride fits 3!

The day before, we made arrangements for a habal-habal driver to pick us up from our lodging house and take us to Tinuy-an Falls and to the Enchanted River. We paid him Php1,300 for the whole day.

He suggested we go to Tinuy-an early morning to beat the crowds, and then go to the Enchanted River afterwards in time to see the fish feeding at 12nn.

At fish feeding time, you’ll hear music played over the loudspeakers that signals everyone to get out of the water and flock to the side or near the steps. As soon as fish food touches the water, you’ll see dozens of big fish come out of nowhere and fight for grub. I admit I was a bit disappointed because I expected to see hundreds of the colorful kind, but instead saw numerous huge fish that one would normally catch for food (which kinda made me hungry since it was already lunch time for us, too).

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I’m not sure if you see the fish at the bottom of this picture

How much does it cost:

Entrance fee is Php160 per person and cottage rental costs Php100. As expected, the place is packed at lunch time since most people think to go there for the fish feeding and stay  the rest of the day.

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Entrance to the Enchanted River area and the cottages

You can bring your own food or buy at the wet market right before entering the river compound. There you could buy fresh fish and seafood, which you can have cooked according to your preference. After payment, they will give you a number and deliver your order right to your cottage!

As we’ve had our fill of swimming in the river (and lunch!), we decided to go island hopping. The boat station is just by the mouth of the river, and the island hopping tour costs Php160 per hour. Our boatman first took us to the Sibadan Fish Cage.

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The hungry manta ray

I think this is a mandatory stop for the tour but that’s okay. Here, you can see a lot more species of fish, a few manta rays and even baby sharks! You can feed them, and if you’re a little brave you can go down to the fish pens and swim with all of them!

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More fishies

Our next stop is the Pangasinan Pacific Shore. It was practically empty when we got there. The island has pretty good fine, white sand and also has an interesting wooden dock/walkway.

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This walkway will greet you at Pangasinan Shore. Image not mine, all credits to Jonas aka Facebuko. http://jonas.ph/blog/2014/01/05/happiness-and-haggardness-in-hinatuan-hop/#

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There was a bit debris because of the rains. But still clean enough to swim in. You can see a mangrove patch too.

Last stop was the Margarett Island Peak Resort. It also had a nice beach with relatively fine, white sand. There’s also a rock formation which is just a short distance away from the shore. I think it would be nice to lounge and hang out here longer if you have more time.

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Low tide, and a bit gloomy but overall relaxing day

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Serene ride back to the river

Overall, it was a great restful day spent here. If we had more time, would be nice to spend the early mornings swimming in the river and visiting more sights for the island hopping tour like the Sarzosa Ponta Cave.

I’ll write about our other adventures in another post for this Surigao trip, and will give you more details of our itinerary!

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