Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hinatuan Blue Hole / Enchanted River

Our third and final destination in Surigao sightseeing tour is the Hinatuan Enchanted River. From Hinayagan Cave, we traveled northeast to the coastal town of Hinatuan. We turned right from the highway junction to the barangay registration office. We paid Php 30 each, with official receipt that we have to present on the river entrance. 

Then we traveled 12 km more to Brgy. Talisay, first with wide cemented road which was followed by paved soil road. We've seen heavy equipments preparing the road to be cemented, so we hope it will improve the travel time and comfort of the visiting tourists. Riding from a habal habal, I was not able to take photos along the way.

The river looks really enchanting, with its clear blue color in different shades. From dark blue in the middle deep portion, to cyan blue, to almost colorless color in the shallow portions. Its depth is not yet measured as there are tight spaces on this underwater cave. Experts estimate that it is at least 50 feet deep.

Being a blue hole, or a sink hole near the sea less than a kilometer away, its water source is a combination of sea and natural springs. Seawater found a way to flow underground through long fissures and tunnels, then mixes with spring fresh water, to produce a less salty and clear water. 

That's me with stretched hands enjoying the blue hole. Life vest can be rented at P 15/hour, so you can just lazily float without any effort. I just lie in the water surface, look at the sky and the trees, while the current takes me to the right side. 

Created from karst bedrock during the ice age when sea levels are very low, I think this is the only inland blue hole in the country. We have another blue hole in the middle of the sea in Romblon province, but its accessible only for divers.

There is a dark underwater cave on the left side, off limits to swimmers, the source of the weak water current. Below is the portion of the river that flows out to the sea.

It was really fun to swim in its clear, a bit salty, warm blue water. The big fishes don't bite and seem used to swimming with people. There are small crabs on the rocky edges that hide when you approach them. Best time to go there is early morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid the crowd.

This concludes our habal habal day tour in Surigao del Sur. It was a long day from Tinuy-an Falls, lunch in Ocean View, then Hinayagan Cave, before the Hinatuan Blue Hole. We paid our driver-guide Jikjik Torion (0949-8151877) with P 1,400 as agreed, plus tip. 

Surigao del Sur has a lot to offer in terms of natural tourist attractions!

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  1. Beautiful! I hope commercializing this place will have a small impact on the river as you've mentioned the road we're cemented going the river. I hope the authority of Surigao del Sur will impose a strict implementation of LNT principles and rules.

    Great article!

    1. Hi, Trekker. Looks like the local government had taken steps to minimize the environmental impact, despite the influx of tourists. They don't allow visitors to bring food or drinks near the river, and the shops are situated far from the river entrance.