When you hear the word “enchanted”, what would come to your mind first? Would you say it’s a total mystery, bewitched or spelled? Well, let’s find out.
During the last week of March, our team decided to materialize our much-awaited team building activity. This time, we opted to farther northeastern side of Mindanao, particularly in Surigao. This had been postponed several times due to transitioning- teammates being transferred to different team and change of team lead. Not that much change no? HAHA
We knew we were about to be in trouble the soonest but we didn’t mind at all. Our priority would be to enjoy!! By the way, it happened during Lenten Season so what we did was more of a deviation rather than doing what’s the norm. 🙂
Right after our 4-hour RDOT (oops, it’s having over time during rest day), we chanced to sneak around and went to Gaisano Mall Davao. It’s where you can haggle prices among Van drivers if you wanted to go to Surigao. Fortunately, we were able to convince one van which is supposed to travel to Butuan.
At around 4 am, our journey started from Davao all the way to Surigao. I never thought of a bumpy, ala- roller coaster ride along the way. There were constant swaying, our head were bangin’ from side to side. Looking through the windows, I thought it would be very much appreciated if we traveled daytime. I bet the view would really looked spectacular.
After almost 2 hours, we stopped along Monkayo and grabbed our morning snack. Mind you, it’s much needed for a long distance trip. On top of it was our countless extra stops every time we encountered Station if the Cross.
Almost 7 hours had passed and we were already in Bislig. We passed through I ❤ BISLIG signage at their famous baywalk park but never had a chance to stopped by. There’s much crowd anyway.
From there, it would be another almost an hour before reaching Hinatuan Enchanted River. This time, I made sure to sustain my energy so that I wouldn’t missed a thing. I had in my mind the written description of Ms. Jojo’s blog about the mystical river I happened to read few days prior.
She’s right, after all. There was already a big improvement in terms of transportation and road infrastructure. Few kilometers from the main highway was already concrete one. Not much of a bumpy, rather a smooth sailing ride.
Looking back, it would be very different without a concrete road and habal habal motors as means of transportation. But I bet, it would really bring out the advenTOURIST in you. HAHA
At around 10 am, we were already few meters away from the grand entrance. We were welcomed by queuing vehicles and hundreds of people coming from all over the Philippines or maybe from abroad. Geez, perks of visiting a tourist spot in the middle of Holy Week.
There were stores and even souvenir shops at the entrance. So if you didn’t prepare food, you could just take an order like what we did and you’ll be given a number for them to look. Not sure how they were gonna find us inside.
From the entrance, it was more likely 100-meter walk going inside the Hinatuan Enchanted River premises. If you’re a smoker, then watched out. Smoking was really prohibited inside the area.
Then viola!! ❤
Obviously, that photo was a cropped one. Hahah with a massive number of people, you’ll sure to have lots of photobombs: beauties, brusque, babies and beasts alike. 😀
On our way while looking for a place, I became so giddy by simply looking at the river. No wonder how fast the river had put me immediately on a spell. ❤ I was also hoping to get the best shots despite of the rowing crowd. I really hope I did. 😀
Since there were lots of people, we tend to look at the farthest area, near the boating station to lay our bags down and took time to rest. Finally, we found the perfect spot.
We even sneaked around and attempted to swim, but we heard Manong’s disapproval. Poor kids. 😦 Aside from that was the fact that it was challenging enough to look for a place where you can change clothes. Lucky for me, I was able to get prepped up by simply hiding into bushes in an elevated portion near the area.
It was just a perfect time of arrival. We’re way to early for the fish-feeding which happens every 12 noon to 1 pm. Thus, we savor the time and plunged a bit to there ever tempting, bluish river. Good God, there was a portion where non-swimmers like me could enjoy. HAHA
I could finally swim. 😀 😀 😀
I should say Hinatuan Enchanted River is well-managed. They had lifeguards on post for an immediate rescue but they could sometimes be strict. Don’t you ever dare to swim beyond the suggested area or you’ll be WARNED, at least.
They also had these ropes tied from end to end for the swimmers to hold. These ropes also served as water boundary depending on the shallowness of the river.
After a while, my colleagues started to go back for meals. Unfortunately, it looked like our ordered lunch arrived late so I went back to swim. This time, I was already alone. The current was getting stronger it could push me from deeper to shallow portion of the river. And I was really shock to know that the water was salty. 😀 😀 I really thought it was tasteless to think this is a river. And if you’re thinking something, I’d say nope, it happened accidentally, just like when you swim into the sea and you get to taste seawater! HAHAHA that’s all.
It was almost 12 then when the music started to cover the atmosphere. It was a signal that fish feeding was about to start. So right after I ate, me and the girls rush towards the river. Gush, the crown started to grow in numbers too soon. It looked like a stampede would occur due to equally-narrowed path where the crowd rushed in all at the same time.
When I managed to get through the people standing in front of me, I realized how significant this moment was for the visitors. Fish feeding was indeed a tourist attraction on top of Hinatuan’s natural beauty.
Surely, I took a video in between taking these photos. You never really wanted to miss this. I could even remember how the crowd pushed “show-offs individuals” away when they tried to swim while the rest were patiently waiting for the fish to be seen! Hah!
After few minutes of great observance, I was astounded how these operant-conditioned -like fishes made us tourists and visitors happy. We would even cheer every time the feeds would be thrown to the water and these fishes chased them like they were hungry creatures. I myself didn’t mind the heat or smell, as long as I could capture each moment. ❤
After then, I went back to the group. As expected, I had hard time moving forward because of the large crowd. People filled in every part of the corner.
Until next time, Hinatuan Enchanted River! ❤
BUDGET: Php 8000 van (from Davao-Hinatuan-Bislig); Php 100 lunch and Php 30 Entrance fee