US basketball

[Where I’ve Been] The Enchanted River of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
[Where I’ve Been] The Enchanted River of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
A look at the river's mesmerizing blue waters and some facts about this beautiful body of water in Surigao del Sur

In Where I’ve Been, Rappler features an unforgettable destination perfectly captured in one shot – one beautiful moment forever preserved, one beautiful story told in a photograph.

Today, we have a number of photographs of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River from Kristina Evita Mercado and writer Louie Lapat.   

Do you have a great picture and an epic story to share? Send it to and get in touch with us.

Traveler Kristina Evita Mercado shares her experience at Hinatuan: 

This was taken in May 1, 2014 in Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur. Since my friends saw my photos, they have been wanting to visit the place. The Enchanted River lives up to its name.  

Photo by Kristina Evita Mercado

This photo taken near the mouth of the river shows a different side of the deep blue majestic river. This part is where non-swimmers take a dip. Children and parents frequent this area because the water is not that deep. I highly recommend going there on weekdays, rather than weekends or holidays, when it is less crowded. 

More tips: There’s an entrance fee to the river. Life vest is also available for rent at the area. As you walk towards the mouth of the river, locals would greet you and offer island hopping service around Hinatuan Bay with a fee of P250/hour/boat. Each boat can carry up to 5 people.    

They would bring you to Sibandan fish cage, where you can eat your lunch. We got there past 1pm so we were just left with fresh tuna. It is advisable to arrive early so you can select the seafood you would like to eat. 

Also expore: The guides would also bring you to the vanishing island.  Before heading back to Enchanted River, our guide took us spelunking around a cave near Sibadan. After a day in the Enchanted River, you may also want to check out Bislig’s Tinuy-an Falls and San Agustin’s Britania group of Islands. 

Travel writer Louie Lapat shares a few facts about Hinatuan:

Here’s his tip for how to get there:

There are many options how to get to the town of Hinatuan, depending on where you’re coming from. From Manila, you can catch a flight to Butuan City. From here, ride the bus heading to Davao City and alight at the town of San Francisco in Agusan del Sur. You can ride a van or bus to Bislig City, where it passes by the town of Hinatuan. Get to the famed Enchanted River through a habal-habal motorcycle.  

If you’re coming from Davao City, take the bus to Bislig City (note: the bus signage going to Bislig is Mangagoy, the city’s busiest barangay). From Bislig, take the bus or van to Hinatuan, which is two hours away.

1. The Enchanted River is located in Barangay Cambatong, some 14 kilometers away from downtown Hinatuan. The town of Hinatuan is two hours away from the City of Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Unlike before, the road from the highway leading to Hinatuan is now done in concrete, making the river easily accessible.  

2. The depth of the Enchanted River is still a mystery to many. Estimates range from 50-80 feet. The water source of the river is also unknown.

Photo by Louie Lapat

3. At 12 noon, swimming tourists are often required to stop swimming to give way to the feeding of fishes living in the river. The playing of the “Hymn of Hinatuan”  accompanies this act, and soon after, the fishes come out. 

4. Though there are cottages that were set up by the local government, the compund is closed to tourist every 5 pm.

5. The river is also rich in folklore and tales. Stories of mermaids and faires guarding the river are still popular nowadays.

Photo by Louie Lapat

Photo by Louie Lapat

Photo by Louie Lapat

– with reports from Kristina Evita Mercado and Louie Lapat/ 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.