Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur – Part 2

Swimming time! Or in my friend’s case, diving time!

Since I’m not a good swimmer, I had to rent a life vest. The office had life vests for rent at P15 per hour. You’d then have to leave an ID as a collateral or guarantee or whatever.

As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, it was a little crowded so you’d have to pass through throngs of people on the way down to the water.

Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.
Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.

I didn’t want to show off my swimming skills or the lack of it so I went around and started at the shallower part where most kids were hanging out. I was an instant standout being a tall adult among them. Kidding.

I thought that since I was wearing a life vest, I could just kick my way to the middle of the Enchanted River. But geez, the current was too strong it was funny for me to even try going against it.

For some reason despite the current, I wanted to go to the other side of the river so I held onto the rope where the buoys were tied and I managed to cross. There was not much current on the other side so I stayed there and every once in a while, I would try my luck going against the current again much to my frustration.

There were natural ledges where people, including me, would stand on while in the water. This causes the limestone to disintegrate and the lime particles would ooze down to the bottom. The rain would also take these lime particles (anapog in Cebuano) down to the water. Since the Enchanted River prides itself with its underwater scenery, these white lime particles pose a threat to the future of the beauty of the Enchanted River. I’m not sure what can be done here but something must be done.

Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos.
Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.

Ate Cathy, Judielin, Kiboy and I were gathered in one spot on the side of the water to avoid getting swept away by the current.

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Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.

Jao, meanwhile, was enjoying his time underwater. That was what he came here for. 11159921_10206321560535858_2573955659513740291_o Jao brought some bread to feed the fish (this is not allowed). The fishes would indeed gather around us. While Jao’s nephew Kiboy was feeding the fishes, a huge fish took a bite of his finger. Jao was able to capture it on video (included above) and it was thrilling (I’m not sure if this is the right word) to watch. The fish’s teeth made some long wounds on Kiboy’s fingers it might have been traumatic.

A few minutes later, the lifeguards noticed us feeding the fishes so they told us not to continue. If only they told us a little earlier, Kiboy wouldn’t have been bitten. Yeah, blame the lifeguards! Harhar!

*I would like to emphasize that fish feeding is not allowed. We weren’t aware and we immediately stopped as soon as we were told. We apologize if this has caused any damage. It will not happen again. 

Despite the incident, the relentless rain, and the cold, the guys still had fun.

I had a secret embarrassing moment of my own while trying to go back to shore. I went back to that rope to get myself back to shore but once I was in the shallow part of the water, I let go of the rope thinking I could just stand. I forgot about how strong the current was. It was pushing me to that part where the mud was flowing from the top because of the rain and was mixing in with water. The mud was a little smelly so I struggled to stay away from it. It was all happening near the lifeguards’ station so the lifeguards were staring at me. I thought asking for help would be more embarrassing. Finally, after a few minutes, I got a hold of the rope again and got myself up. Phew!

I went back to our cottage to wait for lunch. Jao had to go back to that store at the entrance where we ordered food to get the number which they failed to give us after we made the order. We asked them to serve food at 11am but food didn’t arrive until 12pm, while everyone was gathered around the Enchanted River to see the feeding of the fishes.

A few minutes after 12, the bell rang which signaled the start of the feeding. They had music playing in the background which to me sounded like some apparition was happening.

Before a staff member threw food at them, the fishes were already gathered near the surface of the water, so they must have already gotten used to being fed at noon. Once food was thrown, the fishes were scrambling to get them. The people, especially those on top, were also scrambling to see the spectacle.

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Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.

After the feeding of the fishes, we went back to our cottage to have our own feeding of ourselves. We had shrimp and tinolang isda for lunch, along with some leftovers from breakfast and the puto that Jao’s sister Ate Eves made before we left Davao.

After lunch, we learned while talking to a local that there was a landslide that occurred a few months ago, which is why what is left of the hill beside the cottages is now being secured by a net. I think this is another source of concern for the future of the Enchanted River.

The rain stopped in the afternoon, although the weather was still gloomy. Jao went back to the water, this time with his fins. I followed him and I was now able to cross the middle of the river. I was also able to see the bottom thanks to Jao’s snorkeling mask and the clarity of the water. Hooray for me!

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Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.

Jao set up his GoPro on a part of the riverbed where he was able to capture photos and a video showcasing the nice view underwater.

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Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos.

After my brief difficulty with the snorkeling mask, I was able to help him capture shots of himself enjoying underwater.

Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos. Taken by me. :-p
Photo courtesy of Jao Cuyos. Taken by me. :-p

For those who are curious how he can do that, he knows how to equalize whatever pressure is necessary underwater. He took a free diving lesson. I’m a little envious so I might take that lesson too. But I need to improve these swimming skills first.

We left around 2:30pm to make our way to Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig.

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