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BUTUAN, Philippines – The popular Enchanted River of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur has finally reopened.
The local tourist attraction was temporarily closed to the public for nearly two weeks, following the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the province in early December, and the impacts of Tropical Storm Kabayan.
It reopened on December 30.
The Enchanted River closed twice in December, accounting for 20 days in total.
The first closure was for over a week, from December 4 to 11. It reopened on December 12, but had to be closed to the public again from December 18 to 29 to give way to clearing operations due to Tropical Storm Kabayan.
The Hinatuan municipal government said the closure also allowed authorities to conduct a safety assessment of the area prior to reopening the site.
Hinatuan tourism officer Gemma Millan said the temporary closure of the tourist site cost about P1.5 million to P2 million in lost revenues for the local economy.
“This is a significant blow to the local economy, especially since we consider December as one of our peak seasons,” said Millan.
Entrance fees at Enchanted River are P100 for non-residents and P30 pesos for locals.
The Enchanted River, one of the most popular destinations in Caraga, is a key inclusion in Surigao del Sur tour packages. It is often featured alongside other renowned attractions such as Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City and the Britania Group of Islands in San Agustin.
In December 2022, the local tourism office recorded a total of 19,018 tourist arrivals. – Rappler.com
Ivy Marie Mangadlao is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.