Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why My Mom Picked Enchanted River Over Britania Islands

                             Every summer I come home to Butuan to visit my family. Before my arrival my family had planned on making a day trip anywhere near our hometown. We'd heard so many good things about the tourist destinations in the nearby province of Surigao del Sur so we agreed that we'd be going there. I can't believe that it took us years to finally go there when it's just in our own backyard. There are three popular destinations in the province, Tinuy-an falls in Bislig, Britania Islands in San Agustin and Enchanted River in Hinatuan.
                        My sister and her husband wanted to go to Britania since it's being compared to Boracay while my mom insisted on going to Enchanted River. But why? I thought most people would choose a beach as a summer getaway over a river . So we asked our mom why she really wanted to go to Enchanted River. Whenever my mother decides on going to a certain tourist spot, it's not really because she is interested of what the place has to offer, in fact most of the time she is clueless of what's in a place. She'd actually base her decisions on "hearsay". If anyone she knows , like her fellow teachers (especially the younger ones) talked about a place they'd been to she'd like to visit it as well. She explained ( to corroborate her choice) that her fellow teachers had been to the Enchanted River and had witnessed something amazing.According to them, around noontime nobody's allowed to swim in the river. As the clock strikes 11am ,a song will be played and fish of all shapes and sizes come out of nowhere and converge in the center of the river. The staff would then feed them. "So the fish can hear the music and get prompted to swim to the center of the river?", we asked. Hhmmm. So we gave in and we went to a river for the summer.
The ROUGH road to the river
                           We left Butuan City at 6:30 am. After three hours on our own vehicle we arrived in Hinatuan. I warn those who plan to go to the Enchanted river taking their own car that the road from the highway to the river is ROUGH ! and don't dare drive your vehicle there if it just rained as you're most likely to get stuck.We parked our car few meters from the entrance to the river and just gave donation. Entrance fee to the Enchanted river is P30. Too bad we arrived late because there were no more cottages available so we just paid for picnic tables with giant umbrellas for shelter. If you stayed for hours it would so uncomfortable as it gets so hot around noon time.

                           At first glance I understood why the river is called as such. The water was so inviting. It was crystal clear. There's also a part of the river that is often photographed which is like a natural pool that has a really nice blue color. It is reported to be so deep. The water's cold and we enjoyed swimming until somebody blew his whistle baby.......... We were reminded of what we really came for. The whistle was to signal everyone to get out of the water. People rushed to the viewing deck as if Dyesebel just surfaced from the deepest part of the river. I went to our picnic table to remind my mom about the spectacle and of course she wasn't there anymore. We could hear the song blaring in the background as fish of different varieties swam to the center to feed on whatever the staff was throwing into the water. I don't know if the people were mesmerized or disappointed. So was it the music that prompted the fish to come out or the food thrown into the water?Which really came first, the food or the music? Was it a tourist trap? Who cares, even without it I still find the river aptly named and you should visit it too.

The current is strong

How to Get to the Enchanted River :

From Butuan City take the bus going to Mangagoy and get off at Hinatuan (3-hour ride). From the Hinatuan town center one can hire a habal-habal (motorcycle). Enchanted River is 12km from the highway.

Fees :

Entrance fee -  P30
Life vests for Adults and kids are available for rent P15/hour
Picnic table - P100
Cottages- sorry we didn't bother to ask because they were all occupied.
Parking- we just gave donation