Visiting Cantingas River
Blue waters and lush greens are common tropical sights, but it’s not often you’d expect to find them this deep inland. Rivers with the same shimmering blue as the ocean aren’t very common, and those who find themselves wading in one are extremely lucky! It’s a great thing that you don’t have to head away to some far-flung paradise to experience this. There’s one right in the central region of the Philippines, in Romblon’s Sibuyan Island.
Welcome to the Cantingas River Resort!
Clear as day
The impossibly clear waters of Cantingas River (the second cleanest in the world!) runs through a valley that has been carved by the eons. You can reach this famous spot via a tricycle, which can be hailed from anywhere in Sibuyan Island. In fact, it’s part of the tricycle tour the province offers (costs around Php 700), which also goes through other great tourist spots. The resort is around 3 kilometers from San Fernando and half a kilometer from the main road.
Entering the compound is a wonder. The river’s cleanliness is incredibly well-maintained, though sadly the amenities are a bit lacking. While there’s a wide road canopied by the arching boughs of trees, there is no decent bathroom to change in. The entrance fee is a measly Php 10 (USD 0.20) and you get what you pay for with the amount. There are a few chairs you can sit around in, and shade for when the sun gets too high. Before you reach the river itself, you will find some small stores selling food and drinks, though you have the option to bring your own. Most people do, actually.
The first time seeing this river is a moment of sheer delight. The waters are surrounded by the rich brown of the earth and almost drowned by the thick green mounds of the surrounding forest. There is a tree-house like structure off to one side, which serves as a 4-level diving platform into the cool waters.
Yes, diving! While the surroundings of the river are shallow enough for leisurely wading, the middle part drops suddenly to a whopping 20 feet. This is how the water reflects the blue of the sky!
An adventure for anyone
While the place is perfect for those slow afternoons, these aren’t all you can see at Cantingas River! There used to be a zipline in the area, which takes you across the river and the smooth boulders surrounding it. However, management closed it down as it was deemed unsafe. Plus, not many people actually wanted to pay the Php 250 price for it. So since soaring across a pristine piece of nature is no longer an option, you can always work those leg muscles and take a short hike to see the surrounding beauty.
After around 15 minutes, you can reach the hydroelectric power plant that is powered by the river. While you cannot enter the property, you can find small man-made falls. These are the places where the plant lets out the water that feeds it. The sheets of foamy white water are spectacular, and you can bathe in their cool cascades!
And if you find that the place is too charming to leave, you can always rent a cottage room from the Resort. Each one costs Php 300 (around USD 6) a night. Currently, there is no limit as to how long one can stay at the river, but I heard while there that they’re planning to impose a closing time. This is both for safety reasons and so that they can have time for maintenance of the area. This hasn’t been implemented yet, though.
Cantingas River Resort is one of those places where man-made constructs coexist in perfect harmony with the wonders of nature. Despite continuous renovations, the beautiful river still remains untainted. Romblon, in general, places a huge emphasis on keeping its natural wonders intact, and the pride of Sibuyan Island is one of its dazzling fruits. Why do you need to travel far and spend more to see the godly beauty of Nature, when it’s just a few provinces away?
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