Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur PH

I have never thought we'd get this far. Mindanao! Now I know that the only way to get to somewhere is simply booking the ticket to make it happen. I have been eyeing Hinatuan River since I saw Drew Arellano's video from Youtube. For more than two months I checked flight fares so we can avail a very good reason to fly. The flight from Manila to Butuan has quite a difference, for obvious reason, it is located further from the Visayas Region coming from Manila. 

Those long hours on the road just fade away when we saw this bliss!

I spent 4 days in Tagaytay for my father's birthday and then we headed to NAIA Terminal 3 for our afternoon flight. Flight was smooth. When we alight the plane, we headed directly to the Tourist Information Desk. We saw a lot of men in yellow shirt with green chaleco trying to get passengers to wherever within the island. 

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I read blogs before we took this trip. The original plan was to take the bus. I know how much we regretted taking the van. So we talked to Ate in the Tourism Desk, she suggested to take the van since it is just outside the terminal, while the bus is also an option, we still have to ride a tricycle for another 10mins or so. We then decided to ride in the van. One thing I realized is not to expect too much from a public transportation. The barker let us in for a couple of minutes, but we waited for another 30minutes before the car left the terminal. I am thankful though that we got the furthest seat in the Starex (Yes mas sosyal dito, they use Starex instead of FX) van. We wanted to seat at the row next to the driver's but the woman with her child asked us to move at the back, to which we obliged. 


It was the longest ride I had and nothing near to a road trip. The driver was careless. The topload was bulged, feels like its crushing down on us any minute. I have no idea what the load was but it sure was heavy!  


As I have observed nowadays, Filipinos have been practicing this sardinas scheme in our public transportation, from the Metro trains, vans, and down to tricycles. The four of us were stuck at the back end of the car. Jay had to take the next seat in front of us because it is enough for one man. My brother suffered from not able rest his feet in there. The ride was painful since their route intends to drop by on every terminal we are passing through. They would take in passengers as long as someone can still fit inside the van. Imagine 4 people behind the driver's row. Three people facing the normal direction but the other seated on the folded chair is facing east. It was a first and we didn't enjoy it. So If I were to advise you, take the bus instead. 

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The obligatory tourist underwater shots.

It took us more than 6 hours to get to Hinatuan town. We were too happy to get off the van.  We stopped at a mini gasoline station where we met Kuya Ruel Cortes. He is not affiliated with Hinatuan Tourism but he is an independent tourist guide. 
You may contact him @ +639463648848 

Kuya Ruel’s services takes you to Hinatuan River with his Habal-habal depending on how many you are in a group. The package we availed was Hinatuan and Bislig's Tinuy-an falls which costs 1,200Php per Habal-habal. We are 5 in the group so we needed 2 Habal-habals

Unfortunately, he who swims better gets an epic shot.

If you want to know if there are other means to reach this paraside, yes there is. A van, but will cost you way more. If I remember it right, from what I read it will cost 21,000Php for 4days renting a van. I am sorry I can no longer find the link where I read it.

Kuya Ruel has a Facebook if you intend to see the Hinatuam Realm, his page is at https://www.facebook.com/Zebra82

Okay, so we proceed with the story. Kuya Ruel took us to Marky's Hostel, the nearest one to Hinatuan's Enchanted River according to my research finds which is only 30 minutes. Hostel Address: Brgy Maharlika, 8310 Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
The hostel is managed by a married couple who has a son working in London. This humble abode has 5 rooms for rent with air-conditioning units. Our room is worth 1000Php for 1 night and can accommodate 6 people. The room has 2 bunk beds and a medium one for 2 people.  

Yes, we enjoyed the food. Grilled fish and the other one with soup.

We headed out after checking in. Kuya Ruel told us that there's a karinderia where we can eat near the bakery. We were surprised to see that it was barbeque-style. There were grilled pork and chicken plus some viands left for lunch. The liempo was amazing.

We talked to Kuya Ruel after dinner. We decided to go early at 5:30 AM in the morning. Even if we are too tired that evening we managed to wake up early the next day. I guess the strong force of frenzy was more powerful than our consumed embodiment. It was the best decision made, getting early for the next day. 


Kuya Ruel and company were already there and ready to go. It was the first time for the 5 of us to ride on a habal-habal and we had a great experience. It's basically a motorcycle installed with a wooden roof as a protection from the heat of the sun. I've seen the other kind of habal-habal which looks more dangerous because the driver has got to have a level up skill balancing the 2 weighing platforms along its sides. Must be fun but I prefer this one with just the roof. 

Kuya Ruel gives out important information as well as trivia while travelling. He has a very helpful and reliable service. We were thankful that he took care of us. And, he can basically take you anywhere with his Habal-habal depending on your extremity resistance :P 


As expected, it took 30mins and we had the river all by ourselves. The sun has not shone. We chose a cottage near the entrance and laid all our baggage. We already brought all our things since we will be heading to the next hostel to spend the night. Em and I went as far to the other end to see what is in there. The water is so clear and the deep part is blue. Who wouldn't be mesmerized with this creation? I can't seem to find the right information on how deep the river is, there was 25m, 50m and lastly 80m as per the locals.

We had a lot of fun in here. We bought fresh fish about 200 meters away from the huts. Had them grilled and delivered to us for lunch.  We swam for more than 4 hours until we realized people started coming over. At 12noon, they started fish feeding activity when you can feed the fish on your own but you will have to pay a certain amount which I find overpriced. We bathed using the fresh water from the water pump and headed to our next destination of the day.

Did I get an epic shot as well? I love it! IMHO.

By the way, a doctor was found dead trying to brave the deep waters of the river while diving a few days before we arrived. May he rest in peace. Now, there is a visible signage at the cave entrance not to go there for your safety's sake.  

I'm not sure if this is the official Enchanted River facebook page but this is where some of my research came from, especially on where to stay. Click on the link Hinatuan River. View at your own risk.

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Comments :


Katherine de la Cruz said...

Oh, wow! The Enchanted River is a dream destination! It's so... enchanting! Hehehe. Nice piece! Cool photos, too, Katherine. :)

Cheers to the next adventure!

Celine of www.celineism.com

Katherine de la Cruz said...

Cheers Celine! Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy this entry.

Katherine de la Cruz said...

what a great adventure! I will go there one day <3


Katherine de la Cruz said...

It was, Dice! Its a must to visit! remember to go there early so you can have the place all by yourself!