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Hinatuan Enchanted River

A fantastic river in this Philippine jungle seems to pop from the ground with its beautiful turquoise waters


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This unusual saltwater river is surrounded by legends and stories. The Hinatuan Enchanted River is located on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, flowing into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean at Barangay Talisay, Hinatuan. It was called "enchanted" by a diplomat who described the river in a poem.

A local legend says that fairies added the colours of sapphire and jade to the river which made it clear and blue. Local fishermen also said that the river is home to fish that cannot be caught. Locals consider the river sacred because of the engkantos that dwell there and supernatural beings that protect its waters.

The Hinatuan Enchanted River is around 24m (80 feet) deep, and quite short. There is an underground cave system which spits the river out. The cave was explored by Alex Santos in 1999 and continued through 2014. It led to the discovery of a hidden cave opening at 30 meters in depth.

Hinatuan Bay also is a habitat of various species of turtles. Since 2017, the local government banned swimming in the main pool. However, there are some designated swimming areas for tourists near the centre of the lagoon. Daily fish feeding occurs at 3 p.m.

The place is great any time of the year except for the rainy season from May to November. Thus, the best time to explore the Enchanted River is summer from December to April, especially in the months of March and April, but be ready to see a lot of people in the area.

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