Friday, March 13, 2015

The Magnificence of Hinatuan Enchanted River

Hinatuan Enchanted River - Schadow1 Expeditions
February 28, 2015

One of the cleanest natural body of water in the Philippines and also the deepest. Shimmering with natural crystal blue water. This body of water is a actually a spring emanating from an underground source and depending on the tide, it either flows toward the Philippine Sea or sea water coming in to the pool. A mildly saline water making its color, depth, and fishes that makes this wonder fit for being an Enchanted River.

The Enchanted River is located at the eastern side of Mindanao facing the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The water source of this naturally magnificently colored pool is an underground cold spring where it meets with the salt water of the Philippine sea during high tide as its water flow is reversed to inland. The result is a mildly saline water just right for a swim with colorful saltwater fishes roaming underneath.. The tide reversal is also one of the major factors if its change of color.

Blue to Green and Back
Its bluish clear color is due to its depth with the water molecules absorbing most of the red and yellow wavelengths of the sun's spectrum leaving behind blue as the dominant color. And its bluish tint is at its maximum during high tide when the flow is reversed making the dominant water source as coming from the saltwater from the Philippine Sea.

During low tide, the dominant water source for the lagoon/river is coming from the freshwater underground source or more-so, even become almost stagnant leaving behind water pollutants from swimmers and the fishes (green algae) that thrives underneath giving it a more greenish color.

The river is about 648 meters long from its underground source to the opening by the Philippine Sea; and the entrance to the opening of the underground cave is a 35-meter deep lagoon.

Under Hinatuan Enchanted River - Schadow1 Expeditions
Underwater magnificence of Hinatuan River

Its depth is estimated to be over 35 meters toward the mouth of its underwater cave and from within the narrow passage, it is a crawl towards the largest cave chamber at about 52 meters depth. The chamber, called Mayor's Chamber is about 37m x 31m in size and 8m in height. Beyond the large chamber is a longer and narrow passage crawl down to 87 meters depth. Yet the narrow crawl is still longer and has not yet been explored.

Hinatuan Enchanted River - Schadow1 Expeditions
The eye of Hinatuan River at 35 meters depth.

How to get to Hinatuan Enchanted River

You can get to Hinatuan coming from Butuan City (coordinates 8.95888N 125.53585E) via vans going to Barangay Mangagoy of Bislig City for Php 240 and drop-off at Hinatuan Terminal. Travel time is about 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Hinatuan Enchanted River - Schadow1 Expeditions

The Hinatuan River (coordinates 8.45888N 126.35471E) is about  15.3 kilometers or 30 minutes away from Hinatuan Transport terminal (coordinates 8.36643N 126.33877E). Most of the road to the River is still unpaved and the main means of transportation from the terminal are motorcycles called locally as Habal-Habal that requires up to 3 passengers for Php 100 each. However you can hire them for Php 300 contract back and forth the terminal.

Vans for hire from the terminal are also available for large group and you can just ask around. First trip to the Hinatuan River is 5:30 AM. The earlier you get to the river the better as it can get cramped up faster as 9AM arrives.

As for ourselves, we have hired the service of Kuya Gaga Perolino for Php1200 for the whole day to transport us around Hinatuan and Bislig to get to Hinatuan River, Tinuy-an Falls and Hinayagan Cave then to the bus station in Bislig so we can continue our mapping expedition to Surigao Del Norte coming from Surigao Del Sur the next day.  You may contact him at +63 (939) 4996428.

Hinatuan Terminal - Habal-Habal - Schadow1 Expeditions
Habal-Habal, main means of transport to Hinatuan River

The Enchanted River has small picnic cottages for rent for Php 100 and entrance fee is Php 30. You can rent a life jacket for Php 15.

We arrived at Hinatuan Terminal at around 2:20AM and so we have to wait for 3 hours to get our first ride to Enchanted River. We used this chance to get to sleep coming from an airplane ride from Manila to Butuan City.

The road to Hinatuan river is alternately paved where most of its is still unpaved making the habal-habal ride bumpy.

As we reached the river, we were in awe to see the river for the first time with its magnificent natural blue color. And the sights underneath it is as breathtaking when seeing it above it.

Under Hinatuan Enchanted River - Schadow1 Expeditions

The trip to Hinatuan Enchanted River is part of our 7-day mapping expedition to the eastern seaboard of the Philippines; covering 13 provinces from Mindanao's Caraga Region to Eastern Visayas and Bicol which acquired over 500 waypoint data and covered over 2,700 kilometers of roads, trails and ferry routes. The data has been donated to OpenStreetMap Philippines and a GPS routable map of the Philippines is being compiled by Schadow1 Expeditions regularly to which it can be used for navigation assistance for tourism and humanitarian purposes.

Google Maps (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)

How to use for your Navigation System (link)

2015 East Philippine Seaboard Mapping Expedition Articles

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