Hinobaan Tourist Spots: Best Things to do that You Shouldn’t Miss

After my so-called “perfect time” in Punta Bulata resort in Cauayan, I went straight to another town named as Hinobaan. Largely guilty of skipping this place for years now, which is often overlooked by many. With no greater understanding of why I didn’t bother visiting when in fact there is a beauty to see of Hinobaan when passing through the highway on the way to Sipalay City. With regrets of not knowing the reason behind, I figured now is the time to delve into this municipality regardless of having no idea what’s exactly there is to experience.

Here's the map for you to know where Hinoba-an is.

Staying overnight in a local named Jin who I got acquainted online via the Facebook group Hello Negros where both she and I became a moderator. Sneaking most of the time from that group, her posts flashing through the feed consisting mostly of nature she explores in Hinobaan.

 

Arriving late at night, Jin showed one of the oldest carenderia (mini restaurant) near her village. A huge chunk of pork mix in a hot soup plus its tasty chorizo barbecue fueled my tummy. After which, we walked all the way to their place, since this town doesn’t have a lot of tricycles or public transport at night, we decided to walk. I managed to step into a broken, sandy and wet road for two kilometers with my 15-kilo backpack and an estimated 7 kilos gear bag in front of me. Believe me, I had not complained, the view at night and the serenity while walking to her place motivated me, there was something inside telling me the pure energy is here. And true to my word, the next day started my beautiful journey.

Interacting with local fishermen in Obong Cave, Hinobaan

Island Hopping in Obong Caves

It’s a bit of a walk to the area from the main village, around 15 minutes trekking in a lush environment. Although Obong caves are one of the famous spots that most resorts and travel agencies offer their tour service for this area. I bet not to missed this also. It is most of the time packed of locals and tourists on weekends and peaceful during weekdays. Luckily, my time exploring the place happens on a Monday where I had an unexpected encounter with a group of fisherman. Island hopping usually covered by the resorts with a fee of Php 1,500.00 for the Obong Cave both going to the wet and dry pool. If you are fortunate like me, the fishermen we met offered a Php 100.00 for a quick tour. Keeping them to wait for longer than what is expected as I got mesmerized from the spot, did some snorkeling and a bit demanding for quick stop snapping some shots in every corner, I voluntarily paid them for Php 250.00. The color of the sea water is unexpected, adding to the clear water is the shiny weather that day making it magnificent to look at. Snorkeling is a must as well, there are various sites where you can jump in, unfortunately, my action cam died after so many videos I took so I’ve no evidence to share about the coral reef and it’s sea creatures. Apart from the island hopping, there are few cottages available and a toilet area, relaxing for a day will not be a problem. One of the downsides is no access to restaurants or even small store nearby so plan your visit when you come. There is a small store on the base before starting to trek but they are not selling meals and not even bottled water are available. By happy chance, the fishermen offered us the one they catch on that day, grilled it and shared to us.

 

Sidenote: One of the resorts that offer this activity is Nabulao Beach Resort I didn’t stay here but was able to inquire at their reception.

Pook Beach

The long stretch sandy and the sugary beach are where humble resorts and the Bantay Dagat Tower are located. It is popularly called Pook Beach. In the afternoon, local loves hanging in the place doing whatever they want, some play ball games and others just fueling salt water to their body. A beach where majority waited for the sunset. As a person who loves chasing the sunset, the color and the ambiance of Pook beach capture my heart, this right here, will give you pure bliss.

Asia Beach and Hinobaan’s Fish Port for Snorkeling 

The Asia beach is famous for a family gathering during weekends. Known for the low level of clear water on a sandy beach that makes this place a weekend getaway for the local. Unfortunately, a visit to Asia beach didn’t pursue, the tricycle and the local who I met the night before, who joins me this day had both decided that the fish port is the place I’m looking for.

 

True indeed, these two know already my taste of adventure after an only quick chat. They drove me to the port, which is still part of Asia village but not near the Asia beach. In fact, it’s a busy area where obviously full of fishing boats docking in. One can hardly identify on a first glance if there’s really a nice sanctuary within the place.

 

The new local friend tagged along with his cousins who live near the port for a snorkeling time. He picked a non-motorized tiny boat and paddling the way to the sanctuary. Surprisingly, the coral areas they mentioned is just 100-200 meters away from the mainland. One thing these people had learned is the importance of the coral reef. I noticed when we stopped at the starting point of snorkeling. The cousins of my local friend shouted at him to be very careful and not to step in the coral reefs, this by far one of the secluded places I’ve been to who knows the importance of the underwater creatures. Blown by what I’ve heard from them, I asked and filmed them while sharing where they got such info.

 

The coral reef and the sea creatures are no doubt stunning! Although some are dead but most coral reefs are alive and I could not imagine how they took care of the area when in fact it’s really near the fishing port where some fisherman are using motorized engines for their boats.  Amazed by the beauty underwater I never thought how big the size of the place is. After more than 2 hours of being in the sea, the kids asked if they could eat something at the Bolila island and will come back after. It was then I realized that we are heading to that place, I also didn’t think that I’ve been in the water for too long and have been far away from the fish port.

Explore Bolila Island

With an elevation of 7 meters, this peaceful island is surrounded by the marine sanctuaries, thus, we came to this island through paddling our boat, also snorkeling, and swimming. With very few families living as it’s totally near the mainland, it’s no doubt one must explore this place. I’ve also been mesmerized by the color of the water, regardless of how gloomy the weather by the time we set foot on the island the beautiful sea color still exists.  Apart from the marine sanctuary, the bountiful mangroves bordered in and a few shipwrecks which became our photo background.

Food and Coffee Time at the Center of the Town

I do love native coffee and if you have been following me, you definitely read some of my post for my love of coffee. Hinobaan is no exception for me in looking for a native coffee. Not all places in the town serve native coffee, this is mostly available at the center where Pook beach is also located.

 

Iced coffee is largely available for Php 40.00-Php 45.00 and native hot coffee for Php 10.00-Php 15.00 per cup. Two of my favorite places having iced coffee are in Sunset Restaurant and F’s Cafe. And the native coffee of the famous lady whom I forgot the name (geezzz… blame it to my memory gap which is also my fault as I didn’t take note of her name) but the location is at the public market fronting the fruit section. Here’s a photo for you, to easily know the place, local will take you to this woman.

 

Speaking of restaurants, I had breakfast at Sunset Restaurant and also in Kim’s but they open late like 9 AM. There are various small carenderias for a local breakfast. If you opt for a different breakfast, the majority of the resorts serves breakfast base on your preference. Try their different kind of Bulalo

Interact with the local

 

Apart from meeting Jin on my first two nights in the town, I met new ones who guided me to Asia Fish Port and Bolila island. People are friendly and really approachable regardless of our language barrier. Fishermen, store owners, tricycle drivers and most everyone else I met are so approachable that I had no doubts about interacting with them. My time in the coffee shop, when they saw me the next day, they gave me more ideas on where else to see and what to do in town.

 

Ian, who is a teenager suddenly chatted with me when I stroll around the market looking for some food to eat. He has been so helpful and really kind in touring me the place for a day. It seems that everyone else knows him and reassuring that he is going to take care of my day.

 

It also happened that it was the harvest season of watermelon. I just stood at the highway where the farm is and the kids joyfully share their area so I could film the place and even interviewed them.

 

I went to PaulcaDash, a small resort where local also loves to hang out because of the tempting swimming pool. It is not only a place for the pool, but they have this beach where most of the fishermen stopped by looking for a squid in the sea that’s situated right in front of PaulcaDash. because it’s the place where massive squids can be found.

 

Lastly, I will forever thank the pedicab driver who is so kind and even never asked for more.

Other Spots to Check and Where To Stay

One of the places that I didn’t get the chance of visiting is the waterfalls. If you love waterfalls, Alabanan Falls might be a place you like to add to your list.

 

Where to Stay?

On my second day in town, Jin showed me some resorts though I didn’t really get the opportunity of taking photos or videos. What I did was only inquiring and had a glimpse of the places.

Through that experience, I can recommend these resorts for you. Click the link in each resort name directing you to their site.

Nabulao Beach and Dive Resort

Brazaville Beach Resort

There is one resort named Eden Beach Resort but I didn’t like the place and so with the receptionist. So better figure it out if you are interested.

 

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Author: Ferna Mae

Ferna is a spontaneous traveler from the Philippines who had a great experience traveling her own country first before she embarked to other countries. She thrives to be more independent in her own skin. Connect with her at everywherewithferna@gmail.com

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