Enchanted River: Reloaded

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In January 2017, the Hinatuan Tourism Office closed the Enchanted Ricer temporarily. It lasted for almost a month from January 9 to February 3, 2017. The normal service operation of the river resumed on February 4.

The local tourism office set in motion some changes to guide local and foreign tourists. The local government decided on the temporary closure to allow the river to go through regeneration from the heavy tourism activity. This tourist spot is usually crowded during summer and little attention is given to its carrying capacity, water quality, crowd management, as well as waste management.

This blog entry, therefore, endeavors to inform future tourists about some changes and "upgrades" so that they can better enjoy the Enchanted River. The following are some changes:

Entrance, registration, briefing, waiting, and parking areas

In previous practice, all vehicles are allowed on the road right outside the fenced and guarded compound enclosing the river. It is now located some 500 meters away before the original entrance. This is located on the right side of the road leading to the river. You will not be lost as there is a guard right before the entrance of the complex and will direct your the new entrance. One has to go through registration and a mandatory briefing on the proper use of facilities before one can go to and enjoy the river. The photos with the captions will explain this big change.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
This is the complex that houses the registration, waiting, dining and parking areas. The registration is located on the right of the green tent.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
A closer shot of the registration area. The green tent serves as a briefing area on how to use and enjoy the facilities.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
Parking is no longer allowed on the road outside the old river entrance. The parking area now is much bigger, albeit, very hot on a sunny day. Nonetheless, this is a better parking area -- wider and can accommodate more vehicles.

Food and Dining area

In the old practice, dining was still allowed in the huts-for-rent near the river. It is no longer allowed this time. This is primarily to manage solid waste and avoid the pollution of the river. More importantly, it was found out that the area where the old huts used to be has a hollow underground. This means that the ground above it can only hold so much weight. This is to avoid caving in or collapsing of the area. So fewer people staying on the ground will put less weight than when all visitors would stay in one area at the time. Hence the relocation of the dining and parking areas away was deemed to be a good solution.

There are no longer individual huts for hire, but the management built a large hall made of wood and nipa that can accommodate more or less 200 people at a time. You do not have to bring food and not worry about getting hungry. There are food stalls selling cooked food and drinks located in the tents below the dining area.

There are disposable plates and utensils for sale, but if you are just from Surigao or you can, bring utensils, instead. Using too many disposable plates and utensils can also pose a garbage problem in Hinatuan.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
This is the bird's eye view of the new complex. The tents on the foreground are the stalls where cooked food are being sold. 

Enchanted River: Reloaded
This is the new dining area right above the food stalls. You can also rent tables and chairs. 

Free shuttle service

A free shuttle service brings tourists to the old entrance. Anyone can ride the jeeps that ply from the main gate to the old river gate. It is encouraged, though, that those physically able tourists can just walk to the river because the shuttle service's priorities are the children, elderly, persons with disabilities and pregnant women.

Enchanted River: Reloaded

No swimming allowed in the deep pool

Swimming is no longer allowed in the deep blue pool. This is to prevent an accident as well as to protect the fishes thriving in the pool from human disturbance. One cannot even go down the stairs beside it anymore. One can enjoy the place by just having a selfie or a group photo or just capture its beauty in photos.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
No swimmers are allowed in this area.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
The concrete stairs going down the river is already cordoned off. One can only enjoy the deep pool by having a selfie photo as swimming and going down the area is no longer allowed.

Designated swimming area

Since the deep blue pool is no longer for swimming, the management designated the downstream area as the place where one can swim in the same cool and crystal clear water flowing from the deep pool. The management has extended the embankment with rip-rapping to widen the swimming area. It is shallower, wider, longer, and even safer even for kids.

Enchanted River: Reloaded

Safety measures and precautions

You can only swim if you are wearing a safety vest. The vests can be rented near the gates on an hourly basis. There are also designated swimming areas for adults and children. The end part of the stream is designated for kids.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
Safety gears like vests and ropes and safety net are in place to serve protection and guide for swimmers.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
Ropes that serve as a guide to the swimmers are in place. The middle part is the deepest part. Lifeguards are also manning the area.

Enchanted River: Reloaded
The net at the end of the designated swimming area was also installed. During low tide, the current can be very strong that makes it difficult to swim.

So next time you are planning to go to Hinatuan's Enchanted River, take note of these.

Be safe. Help keep the Enchanted River clean. Enjoy!

Enchanted River: Reloaded

Read my related story on Enchanted River.

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The Pinoy Explorer

Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.

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