Sunday, August 7, 2011

DIY Honda Bay Tour: The Island Hopping Adventure

Honda Bay is a group of islets with fine white to cream sand beaches. From the city, you have to travel 30 minutes to get to the wharf where awaiting motored trigger boats waits to bring you to the small islands. It has been a popular tourist destination for swimming and snorkeling. Its clear water could definitely give you a good view of the world underwater.


We were up very early for our Honda Bay Tour. I have arranged with Kuya Manny for a van and he has sent Kuya Leo to drive us to the Honda Bay wharf. At exactly 7AM, Kuya Leo was at Casa Fuerte, ready to help us out with our Honda Bay Tour.



We wanted to have lunch at the island, we requested Kuya Leo that we drop by the market for fresh fish and slices of pork. Because we don’t have an arranged lunch at the island, we also bought rice, ingredients for marinate, bottles of softdrinks and water, and charcoal for grilling.


We also dropped by at the Snorkeling gear rental store. And from there, you would know how popular this tour is because you will find it jampacked. We were in queue for about 30 minutes just to get 5 snorkel gear. Each gear is rented out for Php 150. They also sell bread for feeding the fish for Php 15 a pack. Other items for rent are fins, snorkeling shoes, waterproof camera case, and underwater camera. You need to register the name of your driver to have somebody accountable of the things your group has rented out.

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We proceeded to the wharf and I followed Kuya Leo’s instruction and immediate fell in line to pay for the fees of the banca and the Terminal Fee. The banca is worth Php 1300, good for a day’s island hopping and could accommodate 6 people while the terminal fee is Php 3 per person. After finding our assigned banca, I talked it out with the the 2 guys manning the boat that we need our food to be cooked which is not a problem for them.


Our first stop was the Pambato Coral Reef. Bamboo bridges are constructed near the reef. An information booth was also constructed on stilts. There is a fee of Php 50 when you snorkel and see the coral reef. The water was not so clear when we were there because of the rains the day before. Our boatmen said we won’t see any fish so we decided not get off.

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Next stop was Starfish Island. It was private owned and Php 50 entrance is collected to access the island.
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There are grass skirts and flower head dresses hanging by a frame and we immediately borrowed one for a photo opportunity giving us the chance of being an Hawaiian for a day.
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We had a grand time playing perspective photography courtesy of our boatmen.
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The sand was creamy white and the water is pristine clear. What is good of having the tour on our own is we could manage our time, leave whenever we want. We spent a little more time at the Starfish Island for more photos.


Our next stop was the Snake Island. I think it is the most beautiful of the islands. Its beach stretches more than 2 kilometers long all creamy white. According to our boatmen, the aerial view of the Snake Island is similar to the tail of the snake, thus its name.


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While we snorkeled and fed the fishes, one of our boat men grilled the pork and fish and cooked our rice. Staying at the island is free but we paid for cooking fee of Php 100 and maintenance fee for our huts for Php 50.
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We had a grand time with the fishes. Our boatman, with his buoy, assisted us weak swimmers in the deep area of the sea where more fishes thrive. We were amazed at how healthy the beaches are as we fill our eyes with color and beauty of the fishes.


When our food was ready, we went back to our little cottage and had a feast over grilled tuna and pork chops. Coconut is available for Php 30 if you want a fresh drink.
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After lunch, we went back to the beach for another round of dipping and picture taking this time around, the jump shots!


Our third stop and the final one is the Pandan Island. Pandan Trees are abundant in the island the reason why it is named such. There are more amenities at the Pandan Island. Banana boat, jet ski, and kayaking boats are up for rent. 
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Cottages and restrooms are available. There are also shower areas for you to rinse off the salt. There was also an area where they do henna tattoo and massages.


My family stayed at the beach, contented with just playing in the sand like little kids. More photos are taken to bring home.


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It was about 3PM when we decided to leave the island and return to the wharf.


Other islands of Honda Bay are Cowrie Island, Luli (lulubog, lilitaw) Island, Bat Island, Señorita Island and Meara Marina. You could also do a 20-30 minute visit to Dos Palmas for 500Php.


Cut off time to leave the wharf is 2:30PM. There is no time limit as to when you need to get back as long as there is no strong winds, there is still light of day and the weather is fine. Package tours for Honda Bay are priced at Php 1100 per person inclusive of land and water transportation, entrances and food. Rent for snorkeling gear is at own expense.


-o0o-
Honda Bay
Barangay Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua
Puerto Princesa, Palawan


Van Rentals:
Manny Lucena – Globe: +63 917 612 3947
Smart: +63 912 872 1294
Landline
Puerto Princesa: +63 48 723 3615
Manila:+63 2 998 6603,
Email emmanuellucena@yahoo.com
Leo Otad - +63 905 973 4905

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