When the Beach is too Mainstream: Majestic Rivers You Can Visit Instead of the Beach

Being an archipelago, the Philippines is rich with world-class islands and beaches. However, those aren’t the only options to enjoying its waters.

Beaches and islands get all the attention when the sun is out and the summer heat rolls in. But this time, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the country’s majestic rivers. For those who want to skip the beach or try a different kind of water view, here’s a list of where to go:

Enchanted River in Hinatuan

Located in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, the Enchanted River features crystal blue waters that are not often seen in rivers. The whole river has various shades of blue, with the center being a darker blue hue. It flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

Legend has it that the river is home to engkantos, which act as guardians of the water and its surroundings. Another story explains that fairies are responsible to the river’s colors, adding the sapphire and jade colors to give the water its unique shades.

The river’s depth is still unknown, but the latest exploration puts it at 82 meters deep. Visitors can swim for most of the day, except at noon when the fishes are fed. Swimming is only allowed until 5pm, as locals believe that it’s the time for the spirits to use the waters for their own.

Bumbungan (Pagsanjan) River, Laguna

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Situated about 100 kilometers southeast of Manila, the Bumbungan River, or Pagsanjan River as it’s most commonly called, is a major tourist attraction in the Pagsanjan Gorge National Park.

The river is known for its rapids and waterfalls, and provides an exhilarating and enchanting experience for visitors. You get to enjoy the best of both worlds: upstream, you get to enjoy the roar of the falls. Downstream, it’s a picturesque waterway lined with trees and rocks where locals showcase their knowledge of navigating the rough waters by shooting the rapids.

Of course, there’s the mighty Pagsanjan Falls, or Magdapio Falls.

Loboc River, Bohol

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This beautiful river, also known as Loay River, is a top destination for people visiting Bohol. The river snakes through Bohol province, with its source located in Carmen town, almost right smack in the middle of the province.

The top activity here is a river cruise on a floating restaurant, where you get to enjoy local dishes as you take in the majestic waters, trees, and views.

Villa Escudero, Laguna

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Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort is an 800-hectare estate in San Pablo town where Filipino history and culture come to life. The place is popular for the Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant where visitors get to enjoy traditional Filipino food, kamayan style, while getting their feet soaked in shallow, running water.

More than that, you can also enjoy a leisurely paddle on a native bamboo raft on the plantation’s river.

Panguil River, Laguna

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Panguil (sometimes Pangil) River, also known as Bambang Hari River, is a river system running through Pangil, Laguna. It was developed into an eco-park thanks to funding from the World Bank.

The river features pristine waters, fed by the Ambon-Ambon falls from upstream; it flows out into Laguna de Bay. There are riverside cottages for rent, a 20-meter long hanging bridge from where to take photographs, and a sprawling stretch of rock-lined waters perfect for cooling off.

Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan

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This UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature is arguably the most popular river in the country today. The subterranean river flows takes you into certain parts of the St. Paul Underground River cave, which stretches for more than 24 kilometers.

Visitors can explore the river and the cave up to 4.3km in from the sea. The river winds through the cave and underground chambers before directly flowing into the West Philippine Sea.

This summer, skip the beach and the crowds and explore local by checking out the mighty rivers on this list and near your place.

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