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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls

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Enchanted River
Location: Talisay, Hinatuan, Surigao del sur

The crystal blue water of Enchanted River at sunrise, touted to be 30 meters deep.
The river turns aquamarine green when meet by the aggressive day light (especially at noon)

Yes!Finally, I was able to visit the other side of Surigao del sur! It's been (or more than)20 years since my last travel to Bislig, so our trip last October 16, 2011, Sunday (coincided with my mother's 64th birthday), felt like a refreshing experience of traveling to the northern part of my home province. A very special thanks to Ms. Maribeth Galindo, coordinator of the social science division of UIC,  for inviting me, and thanks also to the social science faculty for a wonderful accommodation. It was truly a fantastic weekend!

Preparing my first dive..hehe!
Swimming at the clear blue water 

We left Davao at 1:30 in the morning and arrived at Barangay Talisay at 5:30 am.

Enchanted River opens at 6:00 and the entrance fee is only P10.00 because it is operated by the local government. Visitors are allowed to bring foods and drinks but if you want to eat fresh sea foods, there are several fish vendors along the resort, you can also request them to grill the fish, price is very affordable. Inside the area, there are several cottages ready for rent.

Hinatuan is one of the two municipalities in Surigao del sur, aside from San Miguel, that situated in the most secluded part of the province, almost located in the middle of the rainforest of Surigao del sur. Aside from its location, the road leading to Enchanted River is very rough and not yet develop. But the weariness is worthy as soon as you reach the hidden treasure of Enchanted River.What a stunning blue lagoon!

Yes! It was truly fascinating, the place is endowed with rich natural resources, the river is shrouded with thick vegetation with a narrow passage connecting to the sea. The river forms a long deep water, somewhat a fjord flowing from below the ground, it is touted to be 30 meters deep and the first time I saw it, because it was morning and the blue water is very clear, I was afraid to take a plunge.

Early morning at Enchanted River
Calm environment of Hinatuan river while having our boat ride

We took a boat ride at 7:00 after breakfast (P160.00 per hour with a capacity of 5 persons per boat, so you have to divide the P160.00 each) around Hinatuan sea for two hours:

First stop: Sibadan Fish cage and Pawikan cage. Entrance fee P5.00
Second stop: Pangasinan White sand (yet to be developed) Entrance fee P5.00
Third stop: The Ponta Cave (you cannot go down to the cave unless you request a tour guide--available in the area). Entrance fee P5.00

Part of the boat ride destination, Pangasinan White Sand on the opposite side of the river

Hinatuan sea is not really ruthless as it never produced gigantic waves like in my hometown, infact the sea along Enchanted River looks like a lake. For people who are not used to travelling in a rough, bumpy and punishing road, going to Hinatuan might bring some discomfort as the road seems endless with so many signboard pointing to "enchanted river". But I am used to this kind of travel because in the past the road going to my hometown is similar to this, so the experience was not annoying anymore.

Due to the danger of swimming in a deep river, travellers like me who are not good in swimming, should wear a life vest which can be rented for one hour at P15.00. The experience of swimming in a long deep narrow river provides a different joy and relaxation.

After a few swim with a life vest, I immediately pulled out from the water because it felt like the current gradually became aggressive, slowly pulling us in different direction. Surprisingly, this river has a salty water because of its connection to the sea.

We took lunch at 11:30 then left Enchanted at 12:30 for Bislig.

Tinuy-an Falls
Location: Borboanan, Bislig City

The majestic water curtain of the Tinuy-an falls. This is the highest level of the multi- tiered water falls
The fourth level of Tinuy-an falls

Our next stop was at the Tinuy-an Falls!

We arrived there at 2:00 pm on the same day (October 16). Such a magnificent view of the mountain and my God, the clusters of falls were fantastic! What a stunning gift of nature! Entrance fee is P50.00 per head, there's additional fee for cottages. In our case we did not rent a cottage, we just gathered in one area (fronting the waterfalls) with big rocks under the trees when we took our mid-afternoon meal.

Tinuy-an falls form in clusters of water falls beautifully cascading from the mountain, its white curtain water have five levels, but the highest level, on the second layer, was the strongest of all where you cannot use your camera for picture taking at close range because the splashing of the water will make it hard to capture the subject.

Dubbed as the Niagara Falls of the Philippines, Tinuy-an so far is the best waterfalls in the country because of its majestic, natural formation at the foot of the hills, beautifully covered with rainforest and tropical trees.
At the top most part of the falls where you can enjoy the cascading water
Going to the upper part of the falls with a picture-perfect view of the relaxing environment 

It is located in the rainforest of Borboanan, Bislig City. The second layer of the waterfalls is the most exciting because of its strong current, you need to ride in a "balsa" to get closer to the falls and feel the relaxing experience of being "massage"  by the water!

This layer, according to geography, plunges 180 feet high from the top of the multi-tiered cascading waterfalls and 95 meters wide. 

The water falls look like drops of Snow

For people who want to visit these natural wonders of the earth, you may hire a van from Davao city all the way to Hinatuan. Travelling time is between five to six hours, you will pass Agusan del sur province first before going to Surigao del sur. Hinatuan to Borboanan, Bislig is only an hour drive. From Bislig, you may follow the route from Mangagoy to Cuevas near Trento, Agusan del sur, for a shorter trip going back to Davao.

Such a beautiful feeling of being "at home" once again because it was my home province, everything seems very familiar. The scenic view of the environment, the serenity of the surrounding, rainforest, the soothing scent of wild plants, everything reminded me of my home town and I just can't wait to return home this holiday season! 



  1. I have created travel blog and it is also about Enchanted River. Your article is good.

    1. Hi Jay! Thanks for your comment sorry for the late reply hehe! I'll blogwalk in your travel site too!

  2. Hi! very nice article. Clarification lang po, 300.00 per head ba yung entrance fee sa Tinuy-an Falls? Then, magkano ba yung van rental nyo from Davao to Hinatuan/Bislig? Salamat.

    1. Hi!

      I'm sorry for my late reply, I wasn't able to check my comments inbox..sorry for the error in my blog, the entrance fee at Tinuy-an Falls is only Php50.00, the Php300 I mentioned was actually for the rent of the big cottage hehe! The van rental from Davao City is around Php8,000 but the capacity of the van is 14 persons so you can divide the amount among yourselves.

  3. Hi. Thanks for your blog, very nice and inviting. I would just like to know if there are nearby hotels in enchanted river or tinuy-an?

    1. I'm not sure if there are hotels near Enchanted River because we did not stay overnight there, but there are lodging houses in the Hinatuan proper, you may ask the staff of Enchanted river for more accurate information. Are you travelling there soon?

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  5. Hi Kaissah,

    I did not see any hotels near Tinuy-ann falls, I think you need to go to Mangagoy or Bislig to look for tourist inns, it's just few minutes drive from Tinuy-ann.

  6. Hey, is there an air-conditioned room in the near place ? where we could stay ?

    1. Hello Loyeen?

      Are you referring to Enchanted river?I am not sure if there are available airconditioned rooms now near the area because it's very far from the Hinatuan proper but in Tinuy-an Falls there are airconditioned hotel rooms near the area at affordable prices.

  7. Hi do you have the contact # of the driver for the van? Thanks!:)

    1. hi!

      I'm sorry but I have no contact with the driver of the van we used during our trip because that was more than 2 years ago and I already resigned from the university. I am living now in manila :-)

  8. I know a van for rent . the capacity is 17 . rate starts at 3500 for out of town tour + renters fuel .. Toyota Hi-ace commuter . for more info feel free to contact me 09078955582.. Thank you :)