Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Best Nature Trek and Spelunking Adventure at Obong Caves / Hinobaan, Negros Occidental


For a city dweller like me, life can be stressful.  Going on a long road trip is a good way to escape from our busy schedules. Traveling south of Negros Occidental, particularly in Hinoba-an is probably a good ide.ea to relax and just enjoy the scenery of green trees and mountain ranges along the road.

Exploring the beaches and other tourist attractions in Hinobaan is incomplete without visiting Ubong Caves. So, let us find out why tourists keep coming back to this famous natural wonder of Hinobaan. 

How to get there.

Hinoba-an is the last municipality in the southern side of Negros Occidental.  If you are coming from Bacolod City, it would take you 4-5 hours by public transport and 3-4 hours by private car to reach the place. 

It is best to arrange for an overnight stay in one of the beaches there to maximize the long drive you took.  During our trip in Hinoba-an, we stayed at Brazaville Beach Resort.  

There are many water activities you can do while staying on the beach plus they have nice surroundings worthy of an Instagram photo.

Please read our beach experience in Brazaville here:  BRAZAVILLE BEACH RESORT: ONE OF THE HIDDEN GEMS OF HINOBAAN

To get to Ubong Caves, you have to take a 15-minute  tricycle ride.  Tricycle to non-Filipinos is a three-wheeled motorcycle that can ride other passengers, other than the driver.  

Aside from the public commute, you have another 15-minute hike to reach to Obong Beach Paradise, which is the reception area and the starting point for the cave exploration.

Another cave is accessible only through a motorized banca.  So if you are the adventurous type, you may rent a banca and enter the cave from the sea.

What to see.

There are three caves they collectively called Ubong Caves.  With a tour guide, we explored the first two caves by entering a very narrow hole, you won't realize that it was a cave opening. 

At first, I was hesitant about going through a dark alley,  not knowing what lies inside.  I continued knowing that I am in the company of my family.  We were briefed not to leave our assigned group.  

We were also advised to make sounds,  maybe to ward off some spirits from joining the group or other insects and animals, especially snakes from attacking us.

Sadly, the cave's wall was in a state of destruction  There were many writings on the walls and limestones were dead.  But, others are still surviving, forming rocks reaching up to the ceiling. 

Some formed interesting shapes and figures.  Thankfully, as the tour guide told us,  the ecosystem in this area is still alive because of the presence of growing stalactite and stalagmites inside the cave.

Moreover, we saw thousands of bats clinging on the ceiling.  They made sounds when lights were trained in a colony.  

Bats are helpful in the ecosystem because they spread seeds that will grow as trees in the future and they eat insects that are dangerous to humans.

The most interesting part of the tour was when we went to a corner where large rocks formed like the shape of a wild pig and a whale.  It was stunning because it appears like the real figure of the animals.

We finally went outside the cave through a very wide entrance, almost 50 feet high facing the sea.


This amazing rock formation is the most photographed of all.


This stalactites is so massive, it reaches to the cave's floor.


What to do.

Aside from caving, you may also swim or go snorkeling because the waters are pristine and crystal clear.  

I saw different species of fish swimming near the shoreline. You can dive during high tide inside the third cave.  

For overnight visitors, you may inquire from Obong Beach Paradise if they can accommodate you.  

At night,  you may build a bonfire, watch the sunset and have dinner by the beach.  At dusk, you can watch bat flying out of the cave to hunt for food.

Where to stay.

Aside from Obong Beach Paradise, you may opt to stay in one of the beach houses lining the coastal area.  

I advise that you should arrange for your accommodation in advance so that your itinerary can be accordingly scheduled. 

Most of the beaches have a Facebook page where you can access to book your transaction.


Obong Paradise serves as the reception area of spelunkers.

Where to eat.

Upon booking your accommodation, you may also inquire from the resort counter if they are serving meals.  

You should immediately know where to eat upon your arrival in Hinobaan because you are hungry by then.  

Three hours without putting something in our stomach is hard for others.

Trivia

During the war in 1942, one of the caves in Ubong was used by the late Major Jesus Villamor as a hideout to track down the movement of Japanese invaders in Negros Occidental. 

He served as the contact person in Negros Occidental of General Douglas McArthur, who was at the time based in Australia.  

Villamor Airbase in Pasay City was named after him to honor his heroism.

Travel tips

  1. Bring a flashlight and camera.
  2. Wear comfortable attire as you need to walk a lot.
  3. Do not touch the limestones.  The acid in your hand could harm the growth of the rock.
  4. Take a lot of pictures.
  5. Dispose of your trash properly.
Final Thoughts

Obong Caves are considered nature's gifts.   Hinobaan is lucky to have these caves which took so many years to form.  

We always have to preserve what nature has given us.  


49 comments:

  1. It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

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  2. Oh man this looks FUN but scary. Heights and closed in spaces really scare me, but at the same time I would love to try this out despite my fears.

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    1. I faced my fears and glad I came out alive. ha..ha..ha..

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  3. This post is bringing out the inner-geographer in me. Sounds like a really great site to see.

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  4. It looks a bit scary, but a great experience. Thanks for sharing. Good pics too

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  5. I don't think I would ever go exploring a cave again especially ones with bats in it. I'd just look at your posts from now on. The place does look lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Ms. Kathy. Really nice place to see and appreciate the remaining nature wonders in the Philippines

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  6. These are beautiful pictures, especially the cave entrance. My kids and I are getting ready to start a blog about cave exploring soon. There are over 4,000 caves just in our state in America!

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    1. It is nice to know that. I am beginning to like spelunking as a hobby. You know, having to realize that those rock formations take a hundred years to form.

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  7. Sounds like it was a good trip. Can't wait to travel again. I may have to consider Negros.

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    1. Thank you. Negros has so many sights and places to see.

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  8. This was so interesting I have never to Hinoba-an been and wouldn't think to go spelunking but it sounded like fun... although I don't know about all the bats.

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    1. Bats usually are nocturnal creatures and would love to stay in dark places and the caves is the ideal place for bats to be in.

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  9. I didn't know that Negros Occidental has such a lovely magnificent spots like this! It looks like a paradise!

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    1. Yes, Negros Occidental is home to so many interesting sights and attractions tourists would surely love to go.

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  10. Why am I only learning about Hinobaan today? There are still so many wonderful places in the Philippines that has to be explored. I love your photo from the inside of the cave looking out at the beach. That's a breathtaking view!

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  11. Wow the Ublong caves look amazing! I'll be sure to put this on my travel list for the next time I visit the Philppines.

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  12. Wow, an amazing photo, the visit need more care for limestone.... The camp looks good.(World in Eyes)

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  13. I just love your pictures! This sounds so exciting!

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  14. What a fun adventure. Ubong Caves seems like a doable adventure for any age!

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  15. Wow! This sounds like an amazing adventure. I love anything to do with travel and this would be right up my alley.

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  16. I did visit the Ubong Caves through your post and beautiful picturres. I can't wait to travel again.

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  17. Exploring caves has always been in our family's bucket list! I'd love to go here.

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  18. I've never been to any cave! I'd love to go, its definitely on my list

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  19. Would love to go here when it's already good to travel. I was born and raised in the Philippines and I'm so ashamed to say I've never been to Negros before. Definitely going to be on my bucket list!

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  20. I love exploring caves. There's just something about them that takes me back to my younger years and reading The Famous Five. It sounds like you had a good trip :)

    Louise x

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    1. Yes, We enjoyed the exploration very much. I am beginning to like spelunking.

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  21. The only time I get to explore is when I'm playing tomb raider but I'll soon start exploring in real life.

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  22. Few beautiful clicks are here. Love the cave capture.Cant wait to travel back again.

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  23. I am very scared of caves but after reading your post I will likely consider visiting some around

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  24. Wow, this looks like a great experience. What a beautiful and unique place to check out!

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  25. Beautiful clicks!! I would like to travel this place. You would have had lot of fun

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  26. So stunning to explore the caves. I've visited a few in my life, but this one would be a different experience.

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  27. I've never heard of Ubong Caves but I love caving, this is such an amazing sport....Soon I hope, soonnnnn...

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    1. I am also beginning to like cave exploration.

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  28. This sounds like an amazing place to visit and reconnect with our ancient spirit. I love caves even though they can be scary places to visit.

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  29. This looks fun! I hope to go there with my family. I'm sure lot of beautiful scenery will be taken.

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  30. This is the first time I am hearing about this cave. It looks likes too much interesting. The photos are making me curious about the place

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  31. Looks fun to travel to. The pictures is very interesting, I hope to bring my family here.

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  32. Great post and beautiful photographs I must say. Waiting for Lockdown to send so that I can go out and travel.

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  33. I have not heard about this place before! Wow! Looks beautiful!

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  34. Spelunking and caves are two things that's not on my list but I know my son would love to try this.

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    1. You shojld try this out. We even have small kids joined us as you can see in the picture.

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  35. This is beautiful, I would go for the exploration right now if I could. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with me.

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  36. I so want to visit Philippines. Not sure when it will be possible in current scenario :(

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    1. You are so welcome here and experience Filipino hospitality at its best.

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