Dog Travel Tips: Safety When Visiting Hinoba-an Beach, the Philippines

map of Hinoba-anOne of my favorite places to go for an impromptu or planned vacation is a small municipality on my island—Hinoba-an—where one finds the most beautiful beaches and sunsets. It is also home to my husband’s family.

Hinoba-an, the Pearl of Negros Occidental, is a very sleepy and tiny municipality in the southern most part of Negros Occidental, Philippines. Bounded on the north by Sipalay City, to the south by the municipality of Basay and to the east by Sulu Sea. My family frequents this particular beach for a number of reasons but really, it boils down to the pristine beaches and impromptu family gatherings.

Because we and various family members have homes there, we can turn up anytime and anywhere unexpectedly and have ready houses, cabanas or rooms to use. On some of these trips, I bring along one of my dogs, either my Doberman or Shih Tzu simply because they are my furbabies and I can.  Are they accepted by all? Not really, but they’re well behaved and there are the leashes to keep them in place.

Hinoba-an Beach, the Philippines

5 Basic Commands That Can Save Your Pet’s Life While at The Beach

Before I even thought to bring any of my pets to the beach, I made sure they were well trained and listened to commands like: drop, stop, lay down, sit, and heel. There are reasons for these commands. Although they are very basic, mind you, if your dog does not understand or obey them, it can mean their lives. You want to go to the beach with your pet with fun and play in mind, not crying in regret and remorse.

Hinoba-an Beach, the Philippines


When I say this, I don’t drag the O to make it sound like drrrrooooooop. Your dog will ignore you. This is, for me, the most important command while on the beach. Be they puppies or adult dogs, they can pick up stuff on the sand or in the water that they shouldn’t. Again, your pets are animals and as such, they can get attracted to sparkly things, scurrying creatures with pinchers, floaters that may or may not be live, and a whole list of other things one can only find at the beach. If your pets don’t listen to commands, the window of opportunity to save their lives can be very narrow and in that time, they can swallow or pierce a toxic flesh and have adverse reactions you wouldn’t know how to deal with. The beach is far from the nearest vet and in Hinoba-an, vets are two hours away. If they are even there.

Hinoba-an Beach, the Philippines


Second most important command. Stop is not heel. It is not drop. It means to STOP and when you say it, your pet grounds to a halt, stay where they are and not make a move that may be seen as aggressive. On the beach, there are strange kids and people playing about and undisciplined pets can pull on the leash and run after what they think are moving toys or threats to you. People unfamiliar to your pet may misunderstand and run in the opposite direction. Your pet thinks it’s hunting season pull on the leash, you are taken unawares and get dragged. Worse, you accidentally let go of the leash and pet and runners disappear into the horizon.

Hinoba-an Beach, the Philippines


(down) with hand signal of palm down, fingers together hovering over head and slowly drop closer to the ground

This is important when trying to calm your dog down from too much excitement or simply to cool them down when they’d been playing under the sun too long. Jerking on the leash or shouting at them is not the way to calm an overexcited and overheated dog as they may start to get anxious (sometimes mistaken as misbehaving), get nervous, salivate and dehydrate faster than the sun sets. Heat strokes have been avoided by this one simple and basic command. Make sure to do this where you can sit under a cool shade.

Hinoba An Beach, the Philippines


This one is pretty obvious but many dogs do not know how to do this on the sand. My Doberman in particular, she hates the act of sitting per se, preferring to lay or slouch on the floor leaning against my hip. I made sure she learned to do on the sand because it helps calm her from overstimulation. Also, this gives me time to talk with friends and family while sipping on a cool bottle of water.


While walking on the beach, make sure your pet is leashed. Always. There are no ifs and buts about this. Again, overstimulation means overexcitement and dogs can run after kids and people who may thoughtlessly taunt them. Your pet finds the beach a strange place so they can interpret these acts as a potential threat to their human. Don’t leave room for your pet to react in what may be seen as aggressive behavior. Click your tongue in warning, pull on leash just a little bit to clue them, and then say Heel quietly and in a calm voice. Not only will it help settle them down, keep to your side quietly but always on the defense.

Hinoba An Beach, the Philippines

With these commands in place, I have enjoyed each and every trip to the beach with my pets. They are not fully accepted but then again, they are not feared for those who see how behaved and friendly they are no longer feel threatened by their presence. My pets training also guarantees I don’t have to exhaust myself running after them or resent their presence because I could not find the time to relax for fear they may scare or harm someone. With these simple commands, the days on the beach become relaxing, fun and safe for everyone.

Meet Jo

JO TANNAH is a wife, mother, and blogger by day, writer by night. It can be difficult to say the least but it is a challenge that keeps her on her toes.

She grew up listening to folktales her father and nannies spun to either entertain the children or send home a message. These narratives stayed with Jo until she finally decided to write them down in a journal way back when she kept one. Years later, going through junk led to finding a long forgotten box and nestled within it was the journal. Reading over the stories of romance, science fiction, and horror that she had taken time to put to paper all those years before brought to light the realization that they were tales she’d never come across in her readings.

The tales Jo write are fictional but all of them are based on what she grew up with and still dreams about. That they have an M/M twist is simply for her pleasure. And she hopes, yours as well.

Jo Tannah can be found at:


42 thoughts on “Dog Travel Tips: Safety When Visiting Hinoba-an Beach, the Philippines

  1. I must say you are better at training than I every was. Laurel and I always had dogs in the states and they were not good listeners. I know what you do mean about these being important for the safety of your animals. On another note we will be beginning a 6 to 7 month road trip through China, Mongolia, S Korea, Japan and ending in your country for several months the end of summer. Any must see places will be appreciated.

    1. Hi!
      I know what you mean by dogs who refuse to listen, it’s the reason why I only ever bring my two from the pack if 6. I dare not risk bringing the others as it would mean frustration, not vacation.
      As for places in the Philippines for beach treks, keep to the safe regions. The Visayas where I come from is considerably safe and is home to so many pristine beaches from choice white sands to golden sands where coral reefs abound. Click on the links and you can find out more about Hinobaan. There’s also Cebu which cater to more touristy spots.

  2. I think being secure in yourself and your pet when you are out in public shows responsibility and maturity. I have two dogs so I know how it is. Some people have dogs and cannot control them. You see them chasing the dog at the beach because the dog takes THEM for a walk and not the other way around.

    1. I know, it happens a lot. It’s hit and miss with me and my dog. If he’s off leash, he’s pretty responsive and obedient, and he sticks close to me. If there are a lot of people and dogs around, I keep him leashed though, because while he would not start something himself, if a dog starts barking and attacking him, he will sometimes respond, especially to males. I’ve seen a lot of people having trouble managing dogs, and I feel better about my almost first time dog owner skills.

    1. Yeah, that is one very valuable command, actually. My dog trainer said that to me too. It’s paramount on the beach and when there’s traffic. I am still working on that one, because I can’t really leave my dog off leash here (he’s large and people get scared, even if he’s a softy), so I have to keep training him whenever I can.

  3. I love your article! Certainly you should train your dog in a good way before taking him to the beach it will reduce your stress as well and you and your best friend can actually enjoy both this special treat together.
    I was not that good with training my dog to be honest. Have you got some more tips how you can train them?

    1. Apart form a brief attempt a while back, Ares is the first dog I owned as an adult. Made a lot (or all) of the mistakes that first time owners do, managed to avoid others. I did take mine to a dog trainer for two separate types of training, and then I had to practice on my own (after he trained me along with my dog). The point is you have to practice anything you teach your dog at least a few times a day. What I found very useful in terms of dog training shows was this British one –

    1. If you have no preference, I recommend you try a smaller breed. Makes it easier for you to travel with them 🙂

  4. Great commands! We have also added “Say Hello” when we introduce our dog to new dogs. He knows that it is okay, he can sniff and walk around. It calms him down, and he knows there will likely be play time very soon.

  5. These are great tips. My dog does not know heel and id be worried to bring him on the beach without a leash! At the very least he’d probably run through someone’s picnic! He is usually okay with “wait” which is what we say instead of stop but I think if he was too excited he may not listen on that one!

    1. Yup, same as mine, he has little to no off-leash training because he’s big, people are scared, and they start to make a fuss, even if he’s super friendly. Also, legally, I am not allowed to walk him off leash. He responds okish at the doggy park, but he might be wrapped up in playing with other dogs and take a bit to respond.

  6. What good and practical tips for when you travel with dogs. It’s not something I have done in the past (probably won’t be doing it in the near future as I no longer own a pup) but it’s all great advice to know for when I do have a dog! Or… I could kidnap my friend’s dog and take her with me! Then I can put your advice into practise hehe.

    1. I know some friends who’ve brought along their pets they were babysitting and so long as they’re well trained and listen, there shouldn’t be any problems

  7. Hinoba-an looks absolutely beautiful! Definitely a perk to have family here. I don’t know many that travel with their dogs, but these are great tips that are very practical!

    1. The southern part of my Island is pretty great when it comes to beaches and as you can see, glorious sunsets and sunrises are an everyday thing. Best thing about our island is it’s very welcoming and safe for visitors from all over.

  8. Oh what beautiful pictures, love that sunset photo. I am not a pet/dog owner but one thing I expect from all pet owners is to leash their dogs, its really scary when they just come running to you and you have no idea what to expect, especially when you are scared of them.
    xx, Kusum |

    1. I do understand that, but off leash spaces are important. I love dog friendly beaches and parks, but those should be marked accordingly, so that people who are weary of dogs know what to expect. I don’t believe dogs who have a problem with other dogs or people should ever be left off leash though.

  9. I love these tips. It’s so important to have a well trained dog at a beach – so much stimulation happening like the article says! The biggest threat I find are children – my Jack Russell reacts badly towards kids and without training, there surely would have been an accident by now. Sharing with fellow dog owners 🙂

    1. Thank you for your input, Tae! I wouldn’t have thought about it because my giant of a dog loves kids so much. Still, I have to watch him closely because he simply can’t tell he’s huge and little kids might not always be able to hold their balance when he showers them with puppy kisses 😀

  10. I love your photos Anita! So beautiful. They totally deliver the atmoshphere of that place. Either the one from sunset or the blue sky. Makes me so wanna go there now. Haven’t been to the Phillipines yet 😉

    1. Thanks Matthias! Not my photos, though, Jo is responsible for them 😀 I haven’t either, but I hope to get there soon, cause Jo and I really need to have a little girl time. I think the entire country should shudder in fear of that happening 😀

      1. The invitation is still open and waiting Alina. Punta Ubong, the island cave, is an unforgettable experience not to mention the fooooood…

  11. Thank you for the useful tips! I can imagine walking with my puppy along the seaside. Now it will be easier to plan such a vacation. 🙂
    (t may be really important to make your dog listen to what you’re saying, so that’s good, I think, to make people aware, as you’ve done here) :))

    1. Yeah, knowing how to get your dog’s attention and how to have them listen to you is very important, especially in off-leash situations.

  12. I don’t have a dog yet, but my friends have and I’m sure this is very helpful to them, therefore I have shared it! Lovely photos and after reading your post, I realise how much care, love and protection goes into your pet. It’s a fabulous relation, and I really hope one day I can have that…

  13. We have been living in Germany, which is a HUGE dog-loving country and we finally took our dogs out today. We were really nervous about how they would be and that is the reasoning as to why we never took them anywhere. They did amazing! We are going to continue taking them out for now on. Thank you for the fantastic advice! 🙂

    1. Jennifer, I found that my dog seems to be a lot nicer when we are traveling than when we are at home 😀 It was a nice surprise, just like in your case. You just have to be confident and prepare a bit for it.

  14. I don’t have a dog, but since I’ve been back from a place where dogs are such part of the life of the people, and loving those puppies, I do want one! It’s so interesting to know more about place where they’re allowed to go and enjoy a trip even more!

    1. I hope you get one soon then 😀 Any particular breed you have in mind? If not, and you plan to travel, then a smaller dog might be easier to take with you.

  15. Ahh! This post is amazing 🙂 I have a dog and am always curious how to travel with her as she is quite particular about many things and has quite the personality, thanks so much for sharing your tips! I have never encountered a post like this before and I am sooo happy I did!

    1. Traveling with a dog is a bit of a challenge, I find, but doable if you take your time to plan and prepare for it 🙂

    2. So glad you got here and learned something new. I’ve always had dogs and when I was younger, my family would bring our dogs to Sipalay with us to the beach farm. So much what I know now is thanks to that experience. Teach you pet to listen to your commands, even the older ones. Yes! Older dogs still learn new tricks. Once you think you pet is somewhat ready, slowly introduce them by bringing them somewhere new until they graduate to the beach. Good luck ?

  16. Hello,

    Im planning to visit negros anytime soon. Actually, im eyeing for sipalay. But this place looks interesting. Will consider checking this out. Anyway. Thanks for sharing tips for the pet. Though, I cant relate since i dont have a pet. Hahaha but People who brings there pet can find this very helpful. Goodjob here 🙂

    1. Hi Cai, yes! Come on down to Negros Island where the beaches are not the only wonders. We’ve got mountain resorts too but you can’t bring your pet’s there. In any case, Sipalay has lots of beautiful beaches and resorts, there’s also Cauayan famous for Punta Bulata Beach Resort. My point is, southern Negros is a paradise when it comes to beaches and sunsets and you won’t regret coming over. I just prefer Hinobaan because we have homes there right on the beach. Not to mention the food!

  17. Philippines is a paradise and you are so lucky to be staying there! Your pictures makes me want to book a one way ticket to Philippines! Though I don’t travel with a dog, you make it look so easy! Maybe I shall bump your post into my friends who crib to travel with their pets! Kudos to your Lovely post!

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