The Hinatuan Enchanted River, also called the Hinatuan Sacred River, is a deep spring river on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean at Barangay Talisay, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It is found between the boundaries of the Barangays of Talisay and Cambatong. It earned the moniker “enchanted river” from the diplomat Modesto Farolan who described the river in his poem entitled “Rio Encantado”.
The river’s unusual colors and unexplored depths have inspired various local legends. One story tells of fairies that added the colors of sapphire and jade to the river to make its unique shade. Local fisherfolk also report seeing fish in the river that cannot be caught through any means. According to locals, the river was called the Enchanted River because of the engkantos that dwell there. Their legends also say that the river is haunted by supernatural beings who act as its protectors.
In fact, no one is sure exactly where the saltwater emanates from, although the prevailing theory involves an underground cave system that spits the river out, free of any dirt or silt which would usually cloud such a stream. Whatever the explanation, the clean waters are a natural wonder unlike any other.
Since 2017, the local government of Hinatuan has prohibited tourists from swimming in the main pool due to preservation and maintenance. However, they have designated a swimming area for tourists near the center of the lagoon which is 10 meters away from the main pool. The daily fish feeding schedule was also changed from 12 noon to 3 in the afternoon.