Nov 5, 2017
The Return to Hinagdanan Cave
Location: Hinagdanan Cave, Dauis (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Note: No picture gallery - the Go Pro and my phone couldn't take decent low-light pictures
The first time I visited Hinagdanan Cave with Juan, we didn't get to swim. This time around with Jeffrey, Juan's son, and RJ, we came prepared with swim wear and snorkeling gear. It was a Sunday so people lined-up to get in. However, most of them came for the selfies - arrive, take a picture and leave without getting wet. This left the cave pool almost entirely to the 3 of us.
The tide-fed brine-pool is just about as big as the cave itself. The cave ceiling served almost like a dome cathedral to protect the pool. With 2 natural openings on top + a few bulbs, there was ample lighting inside the cave, but it was still fairly dark inside. One section of the pool away from the tourist railings was forebodingly dark and deeper.
Snorkeling the Pool
With our fins/mask/snorkel, we wasted no time in snorkeling the entire area of the pool. The middle section goes down about 13 feet - deep enough for the local guys to climb up a high rock and jump down. The water was crystal clear. If not for the insufficient lighting, you could see the pool from end to end under the water. The pool flooring was kept as is - rocky and irregular, which made for an interesting floor scouring on a freedive.
Jeffrey was at his best, spotting coins, bracelets and other things on the pool floor. This takes an eye for it. I tried combing the floor in a vain hope I'd spot something, but nothing for me.
The Dark Deep Section
Away from the tourist crowding is the dark and deep section. It could go down 20 feet but it was too dark to test the water. Besides, the deep end was under a sloping overhang. I tried exploring that area, but it was creepy, having no clear opening above me - it was essentially cave-freediving inside a cave! While inside, I tried to surface and realized all I had was a big rock over me. I got disoriented and had a mild panic before I traced my route back to the clearing. I made no more attempt after that. Best to have a powerful underwater torch for next time.
Still on the deep end was a dive-through. Jeffrey first demonstrated it and I followed. You dive underneath a rock formation and come out the other end. You could still see light from the other end so it's not as creepy. But it was still a rush.
Even though the pool area is fairly small, it is still worthwhile to bring a set of mask/snorkel/fins to make the most out of the visit. Unlike snorkeling in a coral reef, a cave flooring looks very different and it feels different. If you plan to visit the cave, don't just take a selfie - dive down with your gear and include a powerful torch with you!
Thanks Jeffrey for taking me along!
Reader Comments:Juan Huerte
(Nov 7, 2017) Binalikan mo pala
Next stop: Freediving at Molave Point
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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