Exploring the beaches and other tourist attractions in Hinobaan is incomplete without visiting Ubong Cave. So, let us find out why tourists keep returning to this famous natural wonder of Hinobaan.
How to get there
Hinoba-an is the last municipality on the southern side of Negros Occidental. If you are coming from Bacolod City, it will take you 4-5 hours by public transport and 3-4 hours by private car to reach the place. It is best to arrange an overnight stay on one of the beaches to maximize the long drive. During our trip to Hinoba-an, we stayed at Brazaville Beach Resort.
There are many water activities you can do while staying on the beach. They have lovely surroundings worthy of an Instagram photo.
Please read about our beach experience in Brazaville here: BRAZAVILLE BEACH RESORT: ONE OF THE HIDDEN GEMS OF HINOBA-AN
To get to Obong Cave, you must take a 15-minute tricycle ride. A tricycle, to non-Filipinos, is a three-wheeled motorcycle that can ride other passengers aside from the driver. Apart from the public commute, you have another 15-minute hike to reach Obong Beach Paradise, the reception area, and the starting point for the cave exploration.
Another cave is accessible only through a motorized banca. So if you are adventurous, you may rent a banca and enter Obong Cave from the sea.
What to see in Obong Cave
There are three caves they collectively call Obong Caves. With a tour guide, we explored the first two caves by entering a very narrow hole; you won’t realize 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 was 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 exciting 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 to 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 eat insects that are dangerous to humans.
The most exciting 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 appeared like the actual figure of the animals. We finally went outside the cave through a wide entrance, almost 50 feet high, facing the sea.
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. You may inquire from Obong Beach Paradise if they can accommodate you for an overnight stay. You may build a bonfire at night, watch the sunset and have dinner by the beach. At dusk, bats fly 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 arrange your accommodation in advance so you can arrange your itinerary accordingly. Most of the beaches have a Facebook page where you can access to book your transaction.
Where to eat
Upon booking your accommodation, you may ask the resort counter if they serve meals. You should immediately know where to eat upon arrival in Hinobaan because you will be hungry by then. Three hours without putting something in our stomach is hard for others.
During the war in 1942, one of the caves in Obong 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. The latter was, at the time, based in Australia.
Villamor Airbase in Pasay City was named after him to honor his heroism.
1. Bring a flashlight and camera;
2. Wear comfortable attire as you need to walk a lot;
3. Do not touch the limestones inside the Obong Cave. The acid in your hand could harm the growth of the rock;
4. Take a lot of pictures;
5. Dispose of your trash properly.
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.