Quantcast
Latest Stories

INQUIRER MINDANAO

Nature spins magic in Enchanted River

By

THE HINATUAN River in Surigao del Sur. RHETT P. DOLON/CONTRIBUTOR

Looking at pictures of the Enchanted River in countless Internet sites, one may scream “Photoshopped!” But such is the essence of the most famous tourist spot in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur: It’s too magical to be natural.

Barangay Cambatong, where the river is found, is steeped in oral tradition. And the lore of how the water body got its mystical tint is not hard to believe. For who else could have created this bewitching palette of colors but the ethereal beings endowed with the powers of magic and enchantment?

Legend has it that one firefly-lit night, fairies floated above the river while elves watched from cliffs and banks. With their wands, the fairies stirred the water, toyed with sapphire and jade, and made the tones fade and meld to achieve a shade of bluish green that now paints the riverbed.

Twelve kilometers from the highway junction, the Enchanted River shapes the boundary of Barangays Talisay and Cambatong in Hinatuan. Though some portions of the well-maintained dirt road are undulating, these don’t make the ride bumpy and dusty as some tourists wrote in their blogs.

ENCHANTED River cave map. RHETT P. DOLON/CONTRIBUTOR

What lends credence to the river’s name? Fishermen swear to seeing various fish but couldn’t catch any no matter how they tried—not by hand, spear or net. Fishwives lay their fish traps at dusk only to find them hanging on a branch the day after. A foreigner plunges into the visible riverbed and finds it unfathomable. A father and son see two long-haired, alabaster-skinned women bathing under a plump moon then vanishing in a swirl of fireflies. Boatmen gape at sunken boulders of twisted images that are there one day and gone the next.

 

Neptune’s party

Also, there’s a cave farther away, just before the river flows out to the Hinatuan Bay facing the Pacific Ocean. Accessible by foot during low tide, the cave showcases limestone naturally carved as furniture sets and positioned as though Neptune were hosting a party for underwater denizens.

An added attraction when visiting the Enchanted River happens at noon when the bell is rung and bathers are requested to get out of the water for about an hour. As the Hinatuan Hymn begins to play, groups of fish come out from nowhere like on cue and feed on food scraps the caretaker and tourists throw into the river. This feeding frenzy makes spinning scales and tails catch light, turning the natural pool into a liquid canvas of the magical and the fabulous.

It was the Father of Tourism himself, Modesto Farolan, who gave it its name through a poem titled “Rio Encantado” (The same had been set to music by Francisco Rio). Then a prewar manager of the Madrigal-owned Port Lamon Lumber Co., which exported round timber, Farolan wrote it for Geminia, a local lass that was his inamorata.

The poem is a romantic evocation of the Enchanted River as an unspoiled, untouched and undiscovered trysting cocoon for lovers. It talks of a “crystalline stream flowing from hidden spring,” “rocky brims ’mongst vines,” “orchids and ferns,” “canopy of rich green mirrored in water-tinted blue,” and “gold lined with gems.”

Changing scenes

Farolan’s Enchanted River has changed over time. While the turquoise bed remains unchanging beneath a cool water sparkling like quicksilver, the environs have given way to some structures others may find incongruous with the thematic concept of nature. Where cliffs used to be, the local government has built concrete staircases to make it easy for tourists to bathe and swim.

A few meters away from the bank that overlooks the river are some cottages that tourists can rent for P100. A wooden footbridge on stilts leads to a terminal of outrigger boats that ferry tourists to the nearby Vanishing Island and beach resort for P150 an hour.

For nonswimmers, there are kiddie and adult pools. Stalls offer various seafood at reasonable prices outside the cordoned area, just across the main gate.

Lifeguards are employed for safety precautions and life jackets are rented out at P100 each for a whole day’s use. Entrance fee is P20.

Be forewarned: Parking is difficult.

The Enchanted River is like a Monét painting. And what makes it more bewitching is the element of dread attached to stunning visuals. But for the brave-hearted, it’s plunging into the abyss that makes the river a surreal experience. And one wouldn’t know the feeling until he gives it a try.

——————

E-mail the author at romeloribe@yahoo.com


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Enchanted River , Hinatuan , Surigao del Sur , Tourism


  • UrHONOR

    DYAN pinanganak si DARNA at si KAPITAN KIDLAT.

  • Platypus09

    No matter how much you try to keep it’s beauty and elegance but if these people are allowed to swim and pollute the area continuously and everyday, it will go down hill in a matter of time.

    Save our rivers as much as we can from destruction, deterioration and pollution.

  • WeAry_Bat

    I heard of this before but the version I heard was this was quite inaccessible and still virginal.

    Looking at the picture, I am reminded of the slow degradation of Boracay where small pieces of garbage litter the sands and beach waters.

  • plat2012

    enchanted no more.  based on the picture, it is not a good place to go.  For mother nature’s sake, get those people off the river. maawa naman kayong mga government officials! ginawan niyo pa ng hagdan.

  • jpastor

    Echanted River with human waste (urines and sh*ts)?
    For sure the fishes and other river water residents are swearing at people.

    Why can’t the gov’t built swimming & bath pools and rent it out for 100peso/day each instead. Mamaya meron dyan flesh-eating bacteria may magmamakaawa na naman.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  3. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  4. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  9. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • No tsunami to hit PH after 6.9 quake jolts Solomon Islands–Phivolcs
  • Search resumes for bodies in Everest avalanche
  • 6.6-quake hits off PNG’s Bougainville – USGS
  • Bus passengers foil bombing in Sultan Kudarat
  • Traffic from provinces to Manila light on Black Saturday
  • Sports

  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement