Travel Mindanao | Hinatuan Enchanted River Freediving

The Hinatuan Enchanted River
Without the crowds, Hinatuan Enchanted River truly lives up to its name

Bumabagyo tas pupunta kayo dun?!! (It’s storming and you guys are going there?)” a grumpy old man blurted while we’re warming ourselves with soup and coffee in a roadside eatery in Hinatuan. Yes the weather looked dreary and occasional rain showers threatened to dampen our excitement to visit the much talked about Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. We trusted our instincts and continued with our plans, Typhoon Zenaida can’t rain in our parade and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we made in this trip.

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Travel Mindanao | Downtime at Cathe Pacific Cantilan

At Cantilan Beach
The rest of the Travel Mindanao team relaxing at Cantilan Beach

It was an unforeseen disaster when Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ravaged the Philippines early November 2013. My Cebu Pacific Air cancelled flight to Surigao City is so petty a problem compared to what happened to the cities in the typhoon’s path. It was a storm the world was watching and the rest of the TravelMindanao team felt a portion of its wrath in Surigao City. Everything went to a sudden stop as we weathered the storm, Cebu Pacific Air easily rebooked my flight for Butuan on another date to catch up with the rest of the TravelMindanao team. Circumstances however led us to Cathe Pacific in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur prematurely for a much-needed downtime.

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6 Days Butuan-Bislig-Davao Summary Chronicles

 

Tinuy-an, the Philippines Widest Waterfalls
Tinuy-an, the Philippines Widest Waterfalls

It’s no surprise that Mindanao has plenty of unexplored wonders just waiting to be discovered and that includes the eastern side of Mindanao. It was about time I do an exploration trip in these parts. I, along with my fellow photographer enthusiast friends ventured in the regions of Agusan del Norte, Surgigao del Sur and Davao City with a lot more staying time in Bislig. Throughout, we visited the Balangay in Butuan, the Enchanted River at Hinatuan, the Philippine’s Widest Waterfalls Tinuy-an and the relaxing island of Hagonoy, and finally setting my foot for the first time in Davao. Here is the summary of that exciting trip.

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In Transit: From Bislig to an Afternoon in Davao

Davao's famous fruit, Durian
Davao's famous fruit, Durian

It’s one of those impromptu decisions again where we booked a flight to exit on a different destination from where we started. I was hoping we would have time to explore Davao in our 6-day itinerary but Bislig occupied us so much and we don’t want to hasten it up just to see as many sights as we can. So in our 5th day, it was time to leave Bislig and head to Davao. Interestingly, it will be my first time to set foot on this beloved city of the south. With much excitement, we caught the 9am Bachelor Bus from Bislig and rode south to Davao.

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Surigao del Sur: A Side Trip to Hinatuan Enchanted River and the Sibadan Fish Cages

Hinatuan's Enchanted River
Hinatuan's Enchanted River

The Enchanted River in Hinatuan was one of the places I was looking forward to in our Surigao del Sur trip. First seen on the famous Travel/Docu show “Born to be Wild”, I was immediately curios to see it for myself. Mid-day after taking lunch coming from Tinuy-an Falls, we proceeded to Hinatuan which is roughly an hour away from Bislig. Finding it gave a sort of mix feelings. Only to discover it’s not how I envisioned it seen from the famed TV show.

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Surigao del Sur: Tinuy-an Falls, Philippine’s Widest Waterfalls in Bislig

Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig
Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig

We made a good decision to delay our visit to Tinuy-an Falls the day before and opt for Hagonoy Island. Our driver, who I call Pacman, told us the falls grounds were crawling with visitors and the parking area extended a few hundred meters from the entrance. But when we got there early mid-morning, the crowd was manageable and we headed for the entrance with excitement flowing as strong as the lower cascades of the falls. We paid the P50 entrance fee and we’re in.

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Surigao del Sur: Serendipity Strikes in Hagonoy Island

Taking pictures while on water at Hagonoy Island
Taking pictures while on water at Hagonoy Island


It was unbelievable how soft the shore was. It’s not really white but it felt like I was walking on very soft foam. My feet gently sinking on the perfectly fine sands as I made my way around the west side perimeter of the Island. I can’t remember the last time I had a pleasurable walk on sand that I wish there were more on this little Island of Hagonoy. But I may be asking too much. We already have almost the whole island to ourselves this morning except for Aling Ambing and her helpers.

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