About Hinoba-an

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Hinoba-an, a once-sleepy, far-flung town, southernmost in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental, was the traditional stomping-ground of the size-able Spanish(Basque) mestizo-Filipino Bilbao clan.

In the early 1900′s, a 19-year old Basque émigré, consistent with the prevailing Basque diaspora, sought opportunities in the former Spanish colony. Don Estanislao Bilbao y Mota, the clan’s patriarch, begun a decades-long process of settling and homesteading a vast track of heavily jungled area around Hinoba-an long before the town existed.

Title to the rehabilitated lands was subsequently granted him under the Philippine Commonwealth’s (1935-46) Homestead Act.  This landownership, along with the total absence of government due to area’s remoteness (the closest seat was in the distant northern town of Cauayan where the roads ended), became the basis for Don Estanislao’s provisional administration of the people and the place. 

He became the area’s primary, if not for a time, sole employer.  As a matter of moral imperative and practical necessity, he also became the de facto Judge and Sheriff, adjudicating upon and enforcing common law.

Through his marriage to Felicidad Rivas—a patrician heiress to a similarly homesteaded, if slightly larger parcel of land nearby—Don Estanislao doubled the size of the holding.  Hand-in-hand with Dona Felicidad, they lorded over a highly productive agricultural expanse that from points north to south ostensibly stretched for miles on end.

 

The couple’s life-long beneficence and philanthropy endeared them to the local populace making the Bilbao name well-respected and well-loved.  Generations of offsprings have since reaped the fruits of their enduring legacy.  A few have gone on to build legacies of their own.  Sons Joaquin and Francisco, and daughter-in-law Teresa, have each been elected town’s mayor.  Today, with Mayor Teresa Locsin-Bilbao’s incumbency, the Bilbao’s have governed (admirably by any reckoning) the municipality for a collective span of over thirty years…and counting. 

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Hinobaan is something of paradise.

Paradise owing to its natural beauty—a primal magnificence seemingly carried over from its former hinterland state (throughout the Spanish era and for most of America’s colonial tutelage the locale had been a howling jungle), that envelopes her in an aura of ineffable exoticness.

Among its many attractions is a lengthy stretch of palm-fringed beach whose allure is enhanced by the bountiful and expansive (largest and deepest within the archipelago) Sulu Sea; its warm turquoise waters crystal-clear throughout the area. 

[ The Sulu Sea is home to Tubbataha Reef, a remote and immense (56,000 acres) coral atoll whose diversity of marine life is virtually unparalleled anywhere on the planet. In 1988 it was declared a National Marine Park---the Philippine’s first. In 1993 UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site, evincing it as one of the Earth’s inestimable treasures!  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) considers it the heart of the Coral Triangle---an area in the Western Pacific that is home to the world's greatest variety of coral and marine life.  The late diving guru, Jacques Cousteau, described this underseascape as the most stunning he'd ever seen! ].  

Hinoba-an’s best known draw perhaps is Punta Ubong—a formation of three limestone caves situated at the tip of the mile-long, densely foliated Sitio Ubong headland. From town, it is a short fifteen-minute boat ride north along the coast.  Salvacion Cave, the more dramatic of the three and the hands-down favorite, is a spectacular, half-submerged coastal cavern with a large, sea-facing mouth.  Pumpboats (motorized outriggers) regularly dock within its wide and deep natural pool to the delight of excursionists.  The serene stillness inside the cave’s cathedral-like dome is occasionally shattered by frightened shrieks as her resident bats harmlessly swoop down on unwary visitors.

[ A new species of bat was recently discovered in one of the cave's hidden caverns by a team of Filipino scientists studying the area's fauna. ] 

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Adjacent to Salvacion Cave is a shimmering emerald-green cove with a stunning crescent-shaped beach hemmed in by thickly verdured limestone spurs.  Exotic in the extreme, this deserted beach has the mystique of being the spot where famed World War II Filipino guerrilla leader, Col. Jesus Villamor, came ashore from aboard a US Navy submarine.  Villamor reputedly utilized the caves as his hideout and command post.

[ Known also as Point Obong or Catmon Point, Punta Ubong was the World War II submarine landing site of the highly decorated Filipino fighter pilot and war hero, Colonel Jesus Antonio Villamor.  Under the cover of darkness one January night in 1943, Col. Villamor, along with a cadre of handpicked men---an elite, rigorously trained, all-Filipino team of guerrilla / intelligence operatives, code-named 'Planet Party'---were injected ashore by the US Navy submarine, the USS Gudgeon(SS-211) that had snuck-in undetected from its base in Brisbane, Australia.  Villamor's mission---ordered by Gen. Douglas MacArthur himself---was to set up an intelligence network that would gather information on Japanese forces in the islands. ]  

The area’s lowlands offer up a range of idyllic rolling foothills that end where golden fields of rice and lush plantations of coconut, sugar, and mango begin.

Her mountain interior boasts significant deposits of gold.  In 1982, the municipality made international headlines when the discovery of 24-carat gold nuggets along a riverbed touched off a full-blown gold rush.  Overnight, a patch of  forest primeval was ravaged, transformed into a beehive of feverish activity as tens of thousands of would-be prospectors descended on it, jostling for panning spots in an anarchic free-for-all.  Save for a lucky few, the eventual winners were enterprising merchants who hawked their wares—including basic necessities of food and water—to the needy hordes at astronomical profits.  A quarter of a century later, ‘Big Mining’ is poised to undertake large-scale commercial extraction of the valuable mineral.  A boon for Mining to be sure on the one hand, and, if their record is to be an indicator, assured environmental degradation on the other.

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Genially referred to in days past as “Bilbao Country,” first-time visitors, captivated by Hinoba-an’s beauty, would at once acclaim her a tropical Eden. Many found themselves returning year after year, while others, falling completely under her spell, had vacation homes built.

Indeed paradise it was to those who had logged many carefree summers living La Dolce Vita against the backdrop of that implausibly mesmeric countryside and its spell-blindingly alluring seascape.

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While continuing to draw tourists to her natural beauty, those that know her well bemoan the loss of some of her priceless treasures. 

Gone is a magnificent coral reef that once stretched for kilometers along her shore.  During the mid to late 1970′s, the reef began deteriorating under the joint stresses of siltation and man’s exploitation (more aptly abuse: cyanide fishing and coral harvesting, carried out almost exclusively by outsiders).  By the early 1980′s the fragile ecosystem had utterly collapsed.  What once was a hotbed of marine biodiversity—a reef as rich and exquisite as any in the archipelago—had been reduced to bedrock, barren but for a smattering of a seaweed specie or two.

Gone too is a lush tropical rainforest replete with majestic old-growth trees and exotic fauna that once blanketed her interior highlands.  Decades of unrestrained commercial logging—with reforestation that if not downright nonexistent was spotty at best—all but assured the demise of yet another of nature’s irreplaceable riches.

Enormous and profound though these losses are, to most they are unseen, unknown, therefore inconsequential.  To the blissfully unaware Hinoba-an is something of paradise, and rightly so, as by any measure she remains beautiful.

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The priceless treasure she once was will endure for as long as it remains extant in the collective memory of her former native sons and daughters. The gem she still is can endure for as long as it remains the collective effort of her current native sons and daughters to protect and preserve what is extant.

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This blog celebrates her—all she was and still is.   It does so through a veritable potpourri of anecdotes, factual and historical tidbits, photos—past and present (some with jestful captions), and, it is hoped, an ongoing dialogue on anything and everything that was and is Hinoba-an.

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Welcome (at migbil@msn.com) are all contributions: anecdotes, essays, photos, etc..  Please feel free as well to post your comments under any page.

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My sincere gratitude is extended to the following people who have been an inspiration and a resource in the creation of this blog.   These people have contributed written pieces, actual and anecdotal historical material, photos, or have simply added their comments: 

Blanca Beltran / Peter Garcia / Happy Uy Bico / Gina Beltran /Dinny Bilbao / Luis Beltran / Geb Bilbao / Cachita Carlota / J.J. Beltran / Nini Bilbao / Paulina Espanola / Chuck Beltran

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A heartfelt thanks goes out as well to Mrs. Purita Bilbao de Garcia,  Ms. Anne Marie Garcia, and Manang Joy Jimenez for their resounding vote of confidence in the project.

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Conversations with the late Mrs. Blanca Bilbao de Beltran (one of Don Estanislao daughters) have yielded a wealth historical facts and insight. Muchas Gracias.

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I also wish to thank my wife, Maritz, for her indulgence amid long hours expended on this project, and for tolerantly listening to me recount stories about Hinoba-an ad nauseum. Salamat.

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Lastly, this work is dedicated to the memory of Don Estanislao and Dona Felicidad Bilbao. Thank you for making possible our treasured remembrance of a time and place that was, and for others still is, Hinoba-an. – C.B.

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67 Responses to “About Hinoba-an”

  1. Don Estanislao sought and found his niche alright. There was also this story about him planting camote at the periphery of his hacienda to ward off wild hogs, baboy talunon, from destroying his young coco plantation. This blog puts Hinoba-an in the internet map grandly and it doesn’t hurt. And the photos are simply amazing!

  2. Hinoba-an’s, as a whole, time and place is not a past tense its alive (!), thanks to you and your clan and many other component families!

  3. Ramon:

    The periphery-camote strategy worked, I’m told, as the hogs would feast on it first. Satiated, they’d move on leaving the crop unharmed. Thank you for this previously unbeknownst historical tid-bit and your articulate compliment of the site.

  4. Ramon:

    That Hinoba-an is a ‘time and place’ in the present will receive no argument from this quarter. That she is alive and well is a source of considerable elation to the many that live afar. To some of us she’ll forever remain something of a bygone romantic affair whose flame will never be extinguished.

  5. I love the Philippines…i can’t wait to go home!

  6. Vincent:

    I hear you…

    Michael Franks captures well this longing in his song ‘Island Life’ (from his 1987 album ‘The Camera Never Lies’). Here’s a stanza:

    “Can’t you see we’re just refugees of the Island Life,
    we belong where the days are warm and the mangos ripe.
    We’ll do all our swinging in, a hammock by a turquoise sea…
    for free.”

  7. Nahidlaw na gid ko sa akon dutang natawhan ang pinalangga ko nga Hinoba-an.permi ko ginadamgo ang akon lugar labi na gid sa ILCOPHIL,Salvacion sa diin ako nagdako.Kabay sa maabot nga tyempo makapuli gid ako sa akon pinalangga nga Hinoba-an.

  8. Mark:

    Ga pasuna-id ko sa imo nga ka-ugatan. Gina batyag ko man ang kahidlawan mo sa puluy-an ta. Ka tahom abi sang lugar kag sang pangabuhi sadto anay nga hindi katingalahan nga gina damgo ta permi.

  9. Congratulations, I salute you for your efforts & selfless honesty in revealing your knowledge to all on the world wide web. It seems you and your family past and present are blessed with intelligence and foresight. I am an Australia professional in the Film & TV business & a photographer. I have been touring the Philippines for almost 3 years but have not been to Hinoba-an though I came close as I spent a week in Sipalay almost a year ago where I learned of past mining there & what is intended in the future. I am dumbfounded that the governors of the Philippines pass laws that allow the rape and pillage of such a beautiful gem for such short term gains that will only benefit a few already wealthy Filipinos with the major gains going overseas. I have travelled most of the Visayas including the remote east coast of Mindanao and witnessed the staggering shocking results of mining there. I wish I could attach my photos showing its beauty and the legacy of the tragedy they have & are still causing there. In the past I have not been a so called green person but after witnessing the mass destruction in your country I have changed my view. Keep up your good work and I would be pleased to assist you if I can. Your site is artistic, informative, very well written and the photography is excellent. Thank you.

  10. Howard:

    Thank you for your resounding compliment of the blog and for your insightful remarks regarding the environmental degradation that Mining is wreaking in parts of the country. While it is very disheartening to hear, it is imperative that it be brought to light.

    The mercury contamination of the Agusan River Basin from the Diwalal gold mining concession in Eastern Mindanao (if this is what you refer to), is but the latest example of ‘Mining’s’ long history of blatant non-compliance to law-mandated regulations on toxic waste management. That the Philippine government turns a blind eye and does nothing about it makes them wholly complicit in the abomination. Sipalay today is still reeling from the toxic effects of what had been, in the 1970s, one of the largest open pit copper mines on the planet. The environment, it seems, will always take a backseat to the interests of Big Business, multinational or otherwise, as they need only line the pockets of those in power. I commend you for your interest in spotlighting the “rape” of our country’s natural resources. Keep up your ‘green efforts’. Your photos surely will help document the travesty. Again many thanks.

  11. Thanks for posting different views of HINOBA-AN. I gladly watch it.

  12. You’re welcome Carlo. Though let me assure you, the pleasure is all mine. :-)

  13. I was born in hinobaan negros occidental, I spend my childhood there until I graduated my high school & moved here in Manila to continue my study & for a career growth. During my years of stay here I always wished to visit Hinobaan. After 7 years I got a chance to come back, nakapuli gid ko, It’s my pleasure to see again those beautiful places, the farm, the beaches that are very exciting & relaxing. This place have a lot of beautiful beaches that you’ve miss when you visit. I take a lot of pictures & so happy every time I see those moment on this place, I appreciate a lot the beauty of my hometown that I missed so much. I had a great vacation there with my bro & his gf. I go back here in Manila & wishing to spend a vacation again, because there’s no such a beatiful place like Hinobaan.Naga handum ko liwat nga makabakasyon didto sobra kasimple pero kanami gid… So you must guys get a chance to visit our place!

  14. Tess, what can I say? Hinoba-an has this irresistible pull on everyone I know who has spent time there. Paradise abi mo! Ako ga wish man nga maka bakasyon liwat didto; nga ma kita ko siya liwat (daw ex-girlfriend nga palangga mo man gihapon)

    Ang paka simple nya amo ang ga pa nami gid sa iya. Halin pa sang una.

  15. I wish there are more pictuers not just the beaches and the landscapes but also the waterfalls of Hinoba-an, and the mountain trek area…but I love Hinoba-an…

  16. Beautiful blog! Images and prose are very well done! The scenery captivates, and the anecdotes give them life and meaning! Each nostalgic pearl of joyous memory, painstakingly gathered and strung together to make unto a treasured heirloom. You are kind and generous for sharing. I encourage your family to continue and grow this blog, not only for your heirs but too for those of us who may need reminding, of how more of this country once was long ago, and may yet again be someday. Thank you.

  17. Simple is beautiful..that’s our place Hinobaan CB….
    I love to see the mountain when I travel from Bacolod to Hinobaan..

  18. Ed:

    Thank you for your eloquent compliment. The project started out as nothing more than a nostalgic romp in cyberspace—a reminiscence on what most aptly and succinctly articulated my core sentiment of the place: ‘Paradise Lost’ (to borrow from Milton).

    In no time though it happily took on new dimensions: a tribute to my grand parents and to Hinoba-an, a window to the past and to the beauty of the Philippines (what’s left), and, as you’ve pointed out, a heirloom, to be cherished not only by our family but by ALL.

    • CB:
      Truly the pleasure is mine when I view these images you’ve posted – ¿ventanas verdaderas a paraíso, pero espero no realmente perdido? I’m considering a family vacation there. Can you recommend a nice beachfront resort for a family with kids as young as 6, with air conditioned rooms/suites? I’m also concerned about security these days – is this area safe from rebels/bandits/kidnapping? I would appreciate your honest opinion and advise.

  19. Ed,

    Realmente es una sombra de lo que era. La playa no es de lo mismo calidad (los photos son de 1998), y los cocoteros viejos y flaquísimos. Los habitaciones en alquiler son mediocre (con el excepción de dos: Casa Blanca y Estrella del Sur).

    Security is no longer a concern today. It is safe to visit.

    Please understand that my perspective derives from an intimate experience of her glorious, pristine past (60′s & 70′s). Having then left the country, I’ve not had the benefit of gradual change. Seeing her again in 2002, I found her decline momentous. Some argue that I’m too harsh, having set the bar too high. But I can’t help it; in her heyday, she was priceless.

    That said, today more people than ever visit Hinobaan. If you’ll be in Negros, she still gives most any other seaside vacation spot in the province a run for their money. ‘Casa Blanca’ & ‘Estrella del Sur’ - are stylish, well-appointed, private beachside houses that, far and away, are the best rentals.

  20. Oooh nooo! It felt like a gut punch when I read your reply. I had imagined that the place would be just like your photos – unspoilt and uncrowded. I too have childhood memories of family summer vacations at beautiful pristine beaches, which I hear are now overbuilt and crowded. I tried to describe those times to my wife and kids but they think I’m just dreaming. I did take my wife to Boracay and Anilao once and she liked only Anilao. Our stay in Manila was a struggle. This is why when I saw your blog, I thought here is where I can take them, to enjoy and build themselves wonderful memories of the Philippines. My wife and kids know only Europe and US. I was hoping … alas, perhaps it is true that one can never go home again.

    I don’t believe you were “too harsh” as you put it. It is natural to hope for either improvement or little change, but to find abuse and decay to the land you cherish – it is very sad indeed. Sadder still is that the locals are either oblivious to this decline or lack the imagination and will to prevent it.

  21. Hi CB,

    I just saw on YouTube a music video “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. The island shots were great and immediately reminded me of the pics in your blog … golden sand, crystal waters, gentle breezes, verdant hills. I’m not sure where they filmed it but it could almost be of your Hinobaan from the past. There’s also a Spanish version with Ximena Sarińana but not as nice an island/beach location.

    I guess your photos touched something in me that I now view other island beaches only next to Hinobaan’s beauty.

    I still intend to visit there someday soon (I hope).

  22. Hi Ed,
    Checked out the Mraz/Caillat M.V. on Y.T.—real tight. The tropic scenes did have glimmers of Hino. I’m getting that you’re as much a “Refugee of the Island Life” as I am. Give us a little sea, sand, and coconut trees swaying in the warm breeze, and we’re as happy as clams.

    On your previous comment, YES!, Anilao was a singular favorite back in the day; we dove her nearly every weekend.

    Boracay arguably has the best beach sand on the planet, but, alas, such density of resorts.

    Palawan on the other hand is another story. Amanpulo on Pamalican island being the creme de la creme (pricey as hell though). [ http://www.luxuryexplorer.com/hotels/amanresorts/amanpulo/home.aspx ]

    If you do visit Hino one day, let me know and perhaps I’ll meet you down there. It’ll be a pleasure to take you to the best spots and some old haunts. :-)

  23. Ed:

    I think you’ll enjoy this: http://www.sangat.com.ph

    and this: http://www.chinaseaisland.com/

  24. Hi CB:

    Thanks for the links. Those beach resorts do look very nice and promo perfect. However, white sand just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I much prefer the orange, rust colored beaches.

    It is true my idyllic setting is the quiet island life, but my very pratical wife thinks the dream is better than reality. She thinks I wouldn’t last more than a month before I start raving.

    I have heard of this Amanpulo resort and of other Palawan spots but somehow, even though high end luxury, all just seems too prepackaged and generic to me. It looks much like the same settings you can find in Carribean and Mexico and Hawaii high end luxury resorts. They all lack character.

    Thank you for your kind offer. That would be outstanding. Our 3 boys’ summer vacation will be in Jun/Jul/Aug and it’ll likely be in 2011 that we can go. I’m not sure if you are based there or in Manila or elsewhere but I do hope you will be at Hino then.

  25. I’m in California Ed, but am long overdue for a visit – 2011 (in Jun/Jul/or Aug) being the plan. It could be a long shot getting our timing synced, but who knows, it might happen. Let’s engage again when the time comes. Failing that, at the very least, I can introduce you to some local players who can enhance the pleasantness of your visit.

  26. Well this is outstanding! I too am in Cali (Orange County). We can meet up and get acquainted. My cell# (714) 510-0103.

  27. Norcal’s been home for almost 30 years now. For privacy, shoot me an e-mail if you would.

  28. No prob. Please send your e-mail addr to me at edmarfil@yahoo.com

  29. hello po sa mga taga hinoba-an.dun po sa mga nakakakilala sa lola ko pki update po ang name nia po ay DOLORES HABAGAT MALICASA kc po need nmin un information sa kanya kc almost 30yrs. na silang hindi nagkikita ng nanay ko na si DOMINGA HABAGAT MALICASA na naka pag asawa ng taga indang,cavite .ang pangalan po ng napangasawa nya ay RIZALDO SIERRA kaya po ang pangalan nya nagaun ay DOMINGA MALICASA SIERRA..SA MGA NAKAKAKILALA PLSS.PO pls contact this number 09184898668 number po i2 ng anak nya ako po si LOVELY MALICASA SIERRA thanks po ..

  30. kanami gd nga lugar,hidlaw man ko sang lugar ko nga natawhan,almost 5 years nga wala ko kapauli,hidlaw hidlaw na gid ko.proud to be hinoban on,salamat.

  31. i’m goin’ back to hinoba-an for pleasure and visit old tym friends. a very nice and memorable place.

  32. hi there — great place great blog! just curious — is the author “CB” the same “CB” who organized a zayco vs. bilbao ultimate fighting championship on the happy valley beach long looong ago? (i was there!)
    cheers

  33. If the Zayco in question’s first name is the same as Cuba’s Castro, could be. But memory is hazy. Either way, a warm greetings to you ole chap. Maybe we can meet up on the beach someday and rehash said event over some cold ones… now that’d be a blast.

    • Haha no the Castro tokayo is my cousin. I was one of the younger minions — when you set up that “championship” I was paired against Dinny. Anyway I am sure my cousin will be up for the beer&rehash picnic. Will actually be in Hinobaan next week. Regards to you

  34. Dear Younger Zayco Minion,

    Oops! My bad. Your cousin was my contemporary; I thought you were him. So for a moment there I thought I’d completely forgotten the event you described. The ‘CB’ you had in mind, who paired you with Dinny (typical), is my younger brother, Chuck. But, we were all part of that glorious era, and most anything that happened then, could’ve well involved yours truly as well. I’ll mention you to that other ‘CB’ and extend your kind regards to him. Have a great time for all of us in Hino. :-)

    • My memory of said event seems to have Chuck as one of the stable of fighters and you as our Don King with Peter as assistant fight promoter : ) But no worries, details aside I remember a lot about the Happy Valley “golden era” and it’s all good. Thanks I am sure I will have fun in Hinobaan but nowhere near as much fun as we used to have : ) Cheers

  35. Aha! Then you must be none other than E.H.! If I am correct, than to your blog moniker we must add (and emphasize) ‘ORIGINAL’ Happy Vallyer. You, older bro GH, and your parents where the very first non-Bilbaos to build your summer villa on the beach – right next to the Garcias. If memory serves, you did so immediately after falling in love with the place upon your first visit. Truly, you are amongst the very few originals that were part of that golden era. Wasn’t everything about the place just plain out of sight. It had so much beauty and mystique – more so than even Boracay. But I’m waxing lyrical again… So, a very warm greetings to you ole chap. Please give my regards to GH and the rest of the family. Cheers indeed!

    • Ahay daw 0 for 2 ka CB :) . EH and GH are my first cousins and our two families jointly built that summer house. But you are totally right about 1. the house being built because everyone fell in love with the place and 2. everything about the place being out of sight. Nothing compares to this day. Thanks for the blog – I personally remember a few of the incidents described there and I was actually a part of the “cemetery caper” (daw nabilin pa gani chinelas ko pag dalagan). I will give your regards to EH and GH :)

  36. Te, give up na ko Pre’. Hint man da abi, kay daw ma boang na ko panomdom. :-)

  37. Ahay kaluoy man sa imo. Daw waay man ko intention pabuangon ka. Number 1. Indi ko “pre”, “mre” ako. Number 2. indi ka na guro ka dumdom sa akon kay ang mga upod ko pirme sila ni Dinny. Number 3.Ngalan ko si Michelle, ang makadumdom lang guro si Dinny kag si Geb. Pero hopefully indi ka na mabuang. :)

  38. Michelle, of course, I remember you…well, truthfully I’m not sure. Were you that lovely (understatement, gorgeous actually) girl – morena-ish and tall. I thought you were a Henares. Or, am I thinking of someone else, and still batting zero?! I’ll try reaching Dinny and Geb, but the memory lapse (and suspense) is killing me.

    Ari oh, maayo pa guro (galing this will sound very presumptuous of me), padal-i na lang ko picture mo – sadto anay kag subong. Kay man, by so doing, ma domdoman ta gid ka. Kag, nali pa lang ha, kon guapa ka man gihapon (which I’m betting you are), panluyagan ta ka!

    • Chief, 0 for 3 ka na ka funny sa imo. Ang description mo nga “morena” okay pa, nga daan after a few days in Hinobaan daw ati na kami tanan. Pero sa description mo nga “tall” crash and burn ka gid ya.
      There is a female Henares who fits that description, my cousin MH, sister to EH and GH. I will relay your offer.
      Waay gid kaso if you don’t remember kay ako ya I remember just about everyyyybodyyyy plus quite a few of the (mis)adventures. Waay na picture picture ah, ang mga sadto nga kodak ko nag fade na tanan -instamatic lang bi, kag camera-intolerant ta nga daan ahaha

  39. Amo gani nga abi ko ikaw is MH. Ahay, I will forever wonder. But that’s OK, kay ka nami gid sang imo personalidad. So I’m grateful that we at least once crossed paths (yodi, daw ka melodramatic no?). But seriously, I’m happy to have had a coversation with a friend, albeit one I don’t quite remember.

    Perhaps one day we’ll meet on the beach. If we do, please regale me with details of the Z vs B “ultimate fighting championship on the happy valley beach long looong ago.”

    • No prob will do. I hope you keep up the blog, I wouldn’t mind reading more tales of the golden era. Too bad Marty is gone because he probably had the most MISadventure-stories to tell kag damo pa to untold happenings. Anyway thanks again and nice ”talking” to you : )

    • cb we just heard about your mom condolence gid to the whole family in behalf of all the zaycos (sorry no other way to contact anyone)

  40. Michelle,
    Thank you. I sent you an e-mail as well.

  41. Greetings to all who follow this blog and to the members of the Bilbao clan. Being married to a Bilbao, I have also become smitten by the charms and beauty of Hinoba-an. We come to visit every opportunity we get and hope to retire there in the future. I would just like to raise an alarm.

    On our last and recent visit, we found the beach and waters in Happy Valley littered with garbage and detritus. There is plastic and other debris floating on the water surface and sunken on the sandy bottom. This is near the shore and a good measure out as well as on the beach itself. It extends north towards the town and south to where the corals stick out of the water and most likely, based on the volume, beyond both points.

    We were taken so by surprise that we were even hesitant to get into the water. By personal observation, this has become progressively worse over the years but where it was once negligible and tolerable, it is now a real cause for concern not to mention a real shame and disappointment.

    We couldn’t turn a blind eye on the problem as it was so glaringly disturbing that we spent a better part of an afternoon’s visit picking the garbage and dumping this above the waterline (it was low tide). Of course this hardly made a dent but it got me thinking that more people should be concerned and get involved in preserving something so precious and beautiful and dear to many.

    More importantly, the source of all this waste must be located and the culprits taken to task. There is much talk about saving Mother Earth. Here is a good chance as any. At the very least, it will benefit the tourism and fishing industries that the town is known for and heavily relies on.

    Being an outsider, I am hoping that this does not offend anyone. It is not meant as a criticism. But maybe it takes an outsider to point out what others see everyday, become inured to and/or take for granted. I hope I am not over-reacting but my wife, a native-born who does not get to visit as often as she would like, felt strongly enough to to get her hands dirty. I didn’t even have to pick the trash. Walking out of the water, I just skimmed the top to the water with my fingers and came out with two fists full of plastic. People who live there and particularly those who make a living from it should be more concerned if not worried.

    For whatever this is worth and wherever it leads to, I hope and pray that the pristine beaches and waters of Hinoba-an of our memories do not become just that – a memory.

    • Hi. I wasn’t born in Hinobaan but my family and I have been going to Happy Valley regularly since I was about eight. Last time I was there was around the middle of last year. I did notice what you were talking about, although at that time it was not as bad as you’re describing. Your experience sounds particularly awful. I can sympathize with my own story of swimming headfirst into a (used) disposable diaper.

      My guess is there is more than one source of the garbage, and it’s likely that not all of it is local in origin. One of the fishermen I talked to said that sometimes the boats that pass offshore (SuperFerry etc.) dump their garbage into the water and that gets washed up on the beach. I’m not sure why – maybe they get charged for dumping trash when they get to their ports? Anyway, whatever, it’s not pretty. And the currents being what they are off Happy Valley, additional trash can be coming in from different directions. Thanks for writing about this, I’d be happy to pitch in if ever any action is taken.

  42. Thank you and, yes, I agree that the waste comes from somewhere else. I was hoping that it had to do with the season but I think that the habagat would do that and not the amihan which is currently prevalent. Well, while wishing we could do more, I suppose we will just have to hope for the best. Cheers!

  43. A warm greetings to you as well Joey. And, If I may, allow me to introduce you to your comment responder, Ms. Michelle Reyes of the Zayco clan. Hello again Michelle. Michelle, Joey is married to my cousin, Cachita, one of prettiest Bilbaos. Joey, Michelle is an original Happy Valleyer – a participant in many a by-gone summer escapade. She knew me long before I ever had to contend with facial hair.

    Your alarm Joey saddens me deeply like nothing, save the recent passing of my mother, has. It is one thing to have had the beach and water’s quality deteriorate slowly, almost imperceptibly, over 3+ decades of natural processes (resulting from yesteryears’ abuses: siltation from forest denudation to name one). But to hear of garbage stretching from town to the coral bend and beyond is absolutely revolting.

    Michelle’s offered explanation of commercial vessel dumping offers a glimmer of hope that it may be an isolated incident. But the sheer volume you describe makes a one-off scenario doubtful. That said, I’m desperately clinging to hope. Because the other plausible root cause—that this problem may well already be endemic to an area whose population has grown exponentially—is just too bitter a pill to ingest. And, it’d make your warning of yet another thing we all love passing into memory not only likely but inescapable.

  44. Hi Cheton and hello Michelle. Had dinner last night with Jon, Gina and James and Jon had just gotten back from a trip to Hinobaan. Sadly, he confirmed my observation. He said he had a big bag of candies for pasalubong and ended up giving it to some kids on the beach in exchange of trash the they collected.

  45. Joey that is sad indeed. I suggest that this brought to the Mayor’s attention (if she isn’t already aware of it), and urge her to form a task force to A: clean up the mess, B: determine the source, C: if found to be endemic, embark on a campaign to quell it. Easier said than done, I know, but what else can we do? Failing any action to stem the tide, Happy Valley beach will, in time, go the way of other beaches of close proximity to cities or large towns. BTW, I too had plans to be put out to pasture in Hinoba-an, but have since been reconsidering. If this slide isn’t reversed, I’d have no choice but to look elsewhere. I’d invite you, Michelle, and everybody else to keep your options open and an eye on other spots that are still very much Paradise. Not giving up yet on Hino mind you, but just saying…

  46. Hi Joey and Cheton. If the garbage source is local it may actually be less complicated to deal with because the local government has the power to do that. Garbage dumped from ships might be more difficult because then you would have to deal with shipping policies, private companies etc. I’d say it would be a worthwhile thing for the local government to pursue because the waters off Hinobaan help seed the rest of the Sulu Sea. There are local elections next month so any action might have to wait, but a cleanup might even be a good platform for a potential candidate. Maybe Toy is also running?

  47. Joey yours was just really bad timing. I do believe you and Jon who was there at almost the same time happened to just time it when super ferry thrash washed up on shore. However Jon just mentioned that he had the local kids pick up thrash around the beach he told us the waters were clear and wonderful. When I was there in late February, early March, the beach and waters were pristine. Manang Joy just arrived from Hinobaan and mentioned that indeed the beach and waters were pristine and was in fact wondering about your observation. Super Ferry, Aboitiz and other lines stop throwing your thrash in our waters.

  48. If I may, STOP dumping waste in the Sea period. Throughout the Archipelago or anywhere else on the planet. Unless mankind’s pollution of the world’s oceans somehow comes to a screeching halt, we are doomed to go down in history as the era/generation that caused irreparable damage. The legacy we’ll leave our children’s children will be one where coral reefs and whales are seen in their majestic glory, so real and lifelike, alongside dinosaurs in a museum.

  49. cb sa may 13 pa ang elections. si tita tessie daw madalagan mayor, indi ko sure kay toy— last time kami kitanay head siya sang association sang mga barangay

    in response to CB:
    Michelle,
    Si Tita Tessie tapos na ang term? Si Toy is running? San-o and eleksyon kag sin-o nag daog?

  50. Michelle, thank you gid. Musta? Sorry na delete ko mismo kong comment. So fingers crossed Mayor Tessie man gihapon. Good luck!

  51. Will be going to Casa Blanca for a short visit next month. We are counting the days. Can’t wait.

  52. Nice Doña G. Please take and send sunset photos to post on the blog. And, if y’all can swing it, Punta Ubong. There just ain’t enough pics on the place. dSLR, max reso/size, and in RAW please (si se puede) for best results in post-pro.

  53. Will do. Hopefully will be going to P Ubong with Patty Olbés and Tina Callejo and James of course.

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  55. Hey primos y prima! ¿Cómo estás? Abrazos y besos!

  56. We are well cousin Peter, thanks. I trust you and the family are too. Pls. extend our warm regards to everyone.

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