By Neil Bongot
For more than a month now everybody’s favorite, the ‘Enchanted river’ in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur is closed to the public.
Well, not for good since the “darling” of the locals and tourists will be back first week of March-next week actually.
Earlier, the pride of Surigao del Sur and Caraga region was the subject of complaints and criticism-and rightly so-from tourists and visitors because of overcrowding, mediocre set-up and arrangement and bad maintenance.
“There is clearly disrespect of nature in favor of commercialization you wonder how long this intrusion would last,” observes an academician, who declined to be named.
Others believe the proximity of food stalls is too close to the river itself, a matter of concerned related to the integrity and beauty of the area, between forest land protection and business intervention.
Come rainy season, mud overrun the place.
The Enchanted River is not simply a river, extra-ordinary it may seem, but it is much more.
Scientists claimed it is an underground river system extending deep and long. Myth has it that its length reaches as far as San Francisco Agusan del Sur and even Bukidnon.
To those who have visited it, it is enchanted and magical not only for its layers of deep blue shimmering against the sun but the parade of fish rising from the bottom to the surface at 12 noon.
To some it is more fascinating and real than any Disney movie.
With the expected innovation and responsible environment consideration more than physical disturbance, it is hope that the local and national authorities will “move mountains” to retain the natural beauty and relevance of Hinatuan’s gift to the world.