Sunday, July 15, 2012

THE CARAGA ADVENTURES 1: Enchanted River

After a stressful and emotional week, what’s the best reward for the working girls?


For the free-spirited girls (that's me and Lizzy Whizzy!) with moles on their feet and the events planner Jorgie Porgie, an Amazing Race-like trip is a thing we’ve been looking for. Originally scheduled on May, this rest and recreation (a yearly office benefit for the staff), is long overdue.

Since we will be leaving by 4AM, we decided to camp out at the office and wait for dawn. Instead of sleeping, we talked and had our pedicure session. Colorful nails are a must for trips! J

By 11AM, we arrived at Brgy. Talisay, Municipality of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur  wherein the aptly named Enchanted River lies on its grandeur. Simply amazing nature wonder! Pictures didn’t lie about the dark blue brackish water and the depth of this river. 
At the entrance. The exact location of mystical river. 
Restricted area. 
These guys are also wondering how deep this river is. 

Note: Some people asked if the pictures of the river was photoshopped or enhanced. No darlings,  I don't know how to use photoshop). :D 
The winding road to mystery. 
AFRIM team invades Hinatuan! :D
Collage made by Liezl Bugtay 
I was so afraid to go to the center thinking there’s a black hole or very strong current that will just magically drew you in (vivid imagination can make you paranoid, you know! Hehe). It’s estimated 26 meters and it used to be the storage area for logs of PICOP (Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, a huge logging and paper mill company during 80s) before sending the logs to the ocean. In one of the underwater exploration of Dr. RJ Villanueva (a diver and photographer) even found out logs underneath 80 feet.

Locals believed this place is enchanted and guarded by spirits and the big marine fishes are taken care by them. Swimming after dark is prohibited on this mystical river. Folklore said there are two women (diwatas?) and a man in green from the lagoon area that comes out here every night. This blue (ranging from indigo to aquamarine and with moss and light green colors in between)  basin surrounded by trees, is a mix of fresh and salt water. Terrifying at first but when you take a dip, you will not want to come out.
Swimming with fishes!
But you have to come out by 12:00NN to 1:00pm because it’s the daily fish feeding time. 

If your group came late, you can request for special feeding time at 3:00pm to witness these amazing fishes. Locals say that despite the various marine fishes one sees, no one can be ever caught by hand or even fishing equipment like net or spear. Or even by dynamite fishing (I don’t know if it’s true or an embellishment of the story but it’s nice to know that this folklore helps to keep this fishes from greed.J). This added to the mystery of the place.

Aside from swimming here, one can also take island hopping by renting a boat at the end of the lagoon and visit the surrounding islets. You can choose for different tour packages such as the following: 

You can also buy and let them cook these huge crabs and shells. We rested at Pangasinan Shore Pacific and tasted this bounty. To hell with cholesterol. :D
Crabs and shells! nomnom
Of course, the trip to this amazing place would not be complete without my jumpshot happiness! haha!
Wawaweeeeiii! 
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The following rates apply at Enchanted Hinatuan River: 
Entrance Fee        -        P30.00/ head
Cottage rental      -       P150.00
Life vest rental   -        P15.00/ hour
Island tour           -       P160.00/ hour with 4-5 persons per boat capacity
Toll Fee                 -      P20.00 for 2 barangays (applicable only to private vehicles)

LET US SUPPORT ECO-TOURISM!!


For reservations, packages and updated rates, you can check the Enchanted River Management Office at Mobile number: +63920 - 259 - 5554 
For the Municipal tourism officer : +63919 - 460 – 0855


PS. I will post our complete itinerary also and you might want to follow our adventure. You can also email me if you have inquiries. Or if you want a stress-free trip, you can also contact my friend's  Vardo Friendly Tours for tour package.  J

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