Home Tips & Trends The Hinatuan River is Where to Find Asia’s Most Enchanting Natural Wonders
Home Tips & Trends The Hinatuan River is Where to Find Asia’s Most Enchanting Natural Wonders

The Hinatuan River is Where to Find Asia’s Most Enchanting Natural Wonders


I am a sucker for fantasy stories, the magic and lore that births from worlds unknown entice and almost immediately draws me in. Perhaps that’s at the core of why I love to uncover the stories of yesteryear.

This brings me to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, where hidden in a lush jungle is a saltwater passageway, one that connects from the springs of the jungle to the Pacific Ocean. This short body of river is called the Hinatuan Enchanced River.

View this post on Instagram

Lokasi: Sungai Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, Filipina . Meskipun panjangnya tak lebih dari 50 meter saja, Sungai Hinatuan yang berlokasi di dekat Surigao del Sur, Pulau Mindanao, Filipina adalah salah satu sungai paling cantik dan jernih di Asia. Letak sungai ini tersembunyi di tengah hutan. . Menurut Amazing Places On Earth, sungai ini disebut oleh penduduk lokal dengan nama 'The Enchanted River' atau sungai yang mempesona karena airnya yang begitu jernih dan dalam hingga dari atas tampak biru cerah. Karena itulah para wisatawan suka menyelam untuk menikmati keindahannya. Sungai yang aliran airnya berakhir di Samudera Pasifik ini merupakan atraksi wisata favorit para turis di Filipina. Saat musim liburan pengunjung ramai berdatangan ke tempat itu. . Sungai yang arus airnya relatif tenang ini memiliki kondisi alam yang cukup unik, sebab airnya yang berwarna biru cerah tersebut ternyata mengandung kadar garam yang cukup tinggi. Sejak lama penduduk setempat menganggap sungai ini ajaib. Pasalnya sumber air asin jernih di sungai ini memang tak diketahui. Sungai tersebut terkesan seolah muncul dan mengalir begitu saja dari dalam tanah. Menurut Atlas Obscura, teori yang dikemukakan para peneliti adalah adanya sistem gua bawah tanah yang merembes dan 'memuntahkan' air jernih, seperti halnya geyser. Entah bagaimana air yang dikeluarkan sudah tersaring sempurna, hingga bebas dari kotoran atau lumpur yang biasanya menandai air sungai. . Foto oleh: @ninjarod . #adventureideas #adventure #photooftheday #backpacker #travelgram #explore #aroundtheworld #hiking #photography #landscape #scenery #travel #trip #tour #placetogo #instagood #instalike #beautiful #world #scene #letsgetlost #holidays #vacation #destination #comeon #hinatuanriver #philippines #travelphotography #jaw_dropping_shots #instatravel

A post shared by Adventure Ideas (@adventureideas) on

Steeped in legend and a rich folklore, the waters are a striking sapphire blue hue, with palm trees lining the left and right banks of the river. It’s so serene and beautiful that the locals believe fairies and mystical creatures call the river home, stirring the river with sapphire and jade wands which explains the blue hue.

Various other tales speak of supernatural beings that dwell at the bottom of the river, serving as protectors of this fantastical river. Every noontime, a caretaker takes a small boat out into the river and gently throws squid and cooked rice into the waters. It is said the act is to feed the fish and appease the river spirits that live within.

The Enchanted River got its name from a poem by local Modesto Farolan, “Rio Encantado”, or “Enchanted River”. The poem describes the river as the backdrop for a lovers’ tryst, a hidden idyllic oasis that is as beautiful as the fantasy stories told.

View this post on Instagram

. Into the woods… Would you like be there? 📍Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Philippines 🇵🇭 ▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫ Photos 📷📸 by @tara_dito Selected by @musttravelph ▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫▫ FOLLOW ME:  @frankfrosario SIGUEME:  @frankfrosario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #frankfrosario #natureearthplaces #travelers #vacation #travelgram #earthpix #travelling #earthfocus #bestnatureshots #paradise #photooftheday  #master_shots #allnatureshots #paraiso #philippines #bosques#beautifuldestinations  #turism #woods #forest #landscape_captures #landscaper #paradise #travelnow #mountains #island #river #rio #hinatuanenchantedriver #musttravelph @frankfrosario @natureearthplaces @sunshowup @animalgalleryone

A post shared by Sunset | Nature | Travel (@frankfrosario) on

Mystical creatures aside, no one actually knows where the saltwater river originates from, but a prevailing theory speaks of an underground cave system where the water emanates from. That doesn’t however explain how the water that flows out is not cloudy, and free from any dirt or silt. Such clear crystalline waters are nearly unheard of.

Standing at the edge of the pool, you’ll spot, just barely, a cave that hides a deep abyss. The first expedition into the cave system started back in 1999 by explorer Alex Santos, and even today there are still unmapped areas of the sprawling caves beneath.

Well, regardless of the origins of the Hinatuan River, when the sunlight caresses the surface of the river and the crystalline blue sparkles, it’s truly an enchanting river.

As one can expect with such a naturally beautiful place, Hinatuan River has become a favourite tourist spot. And with mass tourism, it has resulted in a degradation of the natural environment, prompting the Philippine government in 2017 to close off to swimmers the main pool of Hinatuan River, for preservation and maintenance.

Even if swimming in the deep end is no longer allowed, you can still visit the Hinatuan River, and by golly is its beauty mesmerising.

The Surigao del Sur area, where the enchanted river is located, has a couple of other hidden gems as well.

One of which is the Tinuy-an Falls, which in my opinion, is almost as magical and stunning as the Hinatuan River.

A multi-tiered, cascading natural waterfall, the Tinuy-an Falls offers a host of activities from swimming in the base pool to a bamboo raft in the upper tiers that take you as close to the waterfalls as you can get.

View this post on Instagram

Thalassophile 🌊

A post shared by Ram Shinzuki (@ramxresty) on

The Britania Islands may actually be in fact, Surigao del Sur’s best hidden gem. A collection of beautiful, relatively untouched islands, this is where you get to live out your island-hopping dreams.

Surrounded by crystal blue waters, and white sandy beaches, some have gone as far as compare the Britania Islands just a shade below the famed Boracay, which should tell you a little something about the untapped natural beauty that abounds in this part of Surigao del Sur.

While the Surigao del Sur region of the Philippines may not be as renowned as the mainland Manila or the beautiful islands of Boracay and Siargao, I posit that it is precisely this lack of awareness and attention that adds to area’s charm and allure.

There’s truly much to be explored here, a treasure trove of hidden gems that are as enchanting as they come.

Top photo by Dale de Vera on Unsplash


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to stay updated on our latest stories? Subscribe our newsletter and receive our freshest post, delivered right to your inbox