HONDA BAY is one of the most attractive spots in the Palawan Philippines; the white sand has an exceptionally unharmed beach border and it also has remarkable yet unbelievable clear waters vanishing into a royal blue sea. It also offers an abundance of sea creatures and coral reefs.
Island hopping is a must! Over here, I swam and snorkeled for half a day, then just relaxed on the beach amidst the clear waters and white sand. I enjoyed my close encounter with the fish and colorful reefs, especially when we got to feed them bread. You’ll be surrounded by a school of fish, which are so colorful and fascinating! It is a totally different kind of experience which you can only find at Honda Bay, Palawan.
Honda Bay is located in Puerto Princesa, consists of several islets with white sand, clear waters and shallow reefs – namely Pandan Island, Snake Island, Starfish Island, Luli Island, Bat Island, Cowrie Island etc.
How to go to Sta Lourdes Wharf?
The jump-off point is located in Barangay Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua about 12 kilometers east of the town proper where pump boats could be hired to reach the different islands.
- Hire a van or join a Honda Bay tour. The easiest yet most expensive way. Ranges above 1,000php.
- One could hire a tricycle to Honda Bay (price range is 500php). The trike will bring you there and fetch you back on your pre agreed time.
- For a more cheaper one, you could also choose to ride the multicab going to Sta Lourdes, some multicabs even have a ‘Honda Bay’ signboard. We’ve decided to take this option. The fare is just 25php/person.
How to go to Honda Bay Palawan?
- At the Sta Lourdes Wharf, you’ll need to register first. Just fill up a form with your name and your companions. One form is good for one banca (costs 1,300-1,500 per banca, maximum of 6 passengers). Find someone to go with for renting a banca so you’ll be able to cut the cost.
- After paying at the cashier, you’re ready to go. You just have to wait for your banca driver to call you.
- Tip: Better be early for you to secure your banca especially in peak days, they only have limited ones.
- You could also rent for Snorkels, Fins and Camera cases at the wharf for reasonable prices.
To our surprise, we were assigned to boat #19, which happened to be my friend’s favorite number. It’s also her birthday during that day that we’ve had the tour – February 19, 2012. Yay! Happiest birthday to you dearest travel buddy!
We got our taste of Bora-like sands here at Isla Pandan. The island is actually a resort of some sort because they have lots of cottages and we also spotted a massage area. Colorful flags surrounded the beach area and there were actually a number of people enjoying the island.
What to do here? Well, aside from sunbathing, relaxing on the sand, and swimming, the best activity is snorkeling. Pandan Island is home to many species of fish underneath its clear waters. The fish were colorful and really cute. If you want them to swim towards you, just give them some bread.
After what seemed like a hundred photos, we decided to head back to our boat to explore the remaining islands on our tour.
Second stop: Starfish Island
Starfish Island is a sand bar that got its name because of the starfish that used to abundantly inhabit it. The island is also known by locals as Tabuan Island. It is a small island with a few cottages that are available for picnicking island hoppers. Its main island is made up of white sand and is surrounded by greenish waters.
What’s interesting about this island is that there are mangroves everywhere. We decided to not swim this time and just walk on the shore and take pictures with the mangroves in the background.
Thanks to our creative ‘bangkero’, who’s able to capture these fun camera trick images below.
Third Stop: Snorkeling at Pambato Reef
Pambato Reef, also known as “mini Tubbataha”, has become one of the well-known tourist spots in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It has surprisingly good reef life and fishes abound too.
Entrance fee of P50 per person is required. You can bring your own snorkels with you.
Fourth Stop: Luli Island
Luli Island is another sandbar in Honda Bay which has garnered its name from the local description of “Lulubog- Lilitaw” and is shortened to Luli. The name means sinks and arises. The sandbar can be seen during low tide while on high tide it sinks underwater leaving only the houses on it visible. Depending on which there would be a chance that the island may be seen or not.
Aside from the three islands we visited, there are also other interesting islands in the area although tourists are not allowed access to some of them for environmental reasons. The other islands are:
- Snake Island (Under renovation)
- Bat Island (because of the countless bats inhabiting the island)
- Arreceffi Island (where Dos Palmas Resort is located)
- Senorita Island (a fish breeding site)
- Cowrie Island
- Cannon Island
As we cruise the Honda Bay back to Sta Lourdes wharf, I couldn’t help but smile at this vast display of beauty. The water was in all shades of blue. The sky, which was starting to clear up, seemed smiling upon us. The many beautiful creatures underwater were a delight even if I could only imagine them at that time. Wow! The world is truly magnificent.