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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrAside from the wonderful, pristine beaches of Palawan, one of the most popular attractions that pulls in a lot of tourists and foreigners to the island is its island hopping adventures, accessible only in Honda Bay. Several islands are included in the itineraries of most tours, and it takes usually a day or two to complete the whole adventure, depending on the weather conditions during the visit.
Honda Bay is located on the eastern shore of Palawan, a few kilometers away from the province’s capital, Puerto Princesa. The bay is primarily used by locals as a fishing port and a tourism hub. Boats are available all throughout the day to take tourists to different islands, these are manned by experienced boatmen. Aside from island hopping, snorkeling and diving are also very popular activities among tourists visiting Honda Bay.
Island HoppingWhen tourists opt for the island hopping adventure, they can rent boats at the Honda Bay wharf for very reasonable prices. Since 2013, the rates (comprises of 3 islands) for rental boats are listed as follows:
- Boats with 3 Cylinder Engine – ₱1,300 ($29) for 6 passengers
- Boats with 4 Cylinder Engine – ₱1,500 ($33) for 6 passengers
There is also an “Environmental Fee” of ₱40 ($0.88) per passenger.
Starfish IslandThe island gets its name from its large population of Sea Stars or Starfish. These sea critters can be found loitering around the beach and under the clear seawater. Many varieties can be found in the island aside from the common, orange Starfish. The entrance fee to the island is only ₱50 ($1.10), these fees are used for the maintenance of the island.
Luli IslandOne of the most interesting islands included in the island hopping tour. The name of this island was derived from the local word “Lulubog-Lilitaw”, which means “to sink and to float”. The island can only be seen when the tide is low. However, when the tide is high, the island sinks under the water and vanishes. The entrance fee to Luli Island is only ₱60 ($1.32).
Cowrie IslandJust like Starfish Island, Cowrie Island was named after a sea snail called “Cowrie”, which are abundant all over the island. The island has newly built cabanas and spa huts which are situated around the beach, giving its guests a beautiful and relaxing view of the scenery. The entrance fee to Cowrie Island is only ₱75 ($1.65) (cottage fees are not included).
Pandan IslandOne of the islands in Honda Bay that is privately owned, frequented by many tourists, and having a small resort within its white sand boundary. It is also the farthest island among the group. The resort is popular for having a number of amenities, including a massage spa and a bar for refreshments. The structures on the island are made of wood and nipa, maintaining the natural ambiance of the attraction. The name of the island was derived from the plant, “Pandan”, which grows all over the island’s lush, tropical forest. Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of ₱150 ($3.30).
Pambato ReefA beautiful area of coral reef perfect for exploring the diverse, aquatic wildlife of Palawan. It is accessible from Honda Bay and can be included in the island hopping tour. There are floating platforms connected by bamboo bridges, one platform is used for fish feeding while another platform is used for snorkeling and diving. If you get lucky, you might even see turtles swimming around the reef.
Getting ThereTourists coming from Manila who wants to visit Honda Bay can take a plane ride directly to Palawan. Major airlines that offer flights to Puerto Princesa City are Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines. Those who are coming from Cebu City can also book a flight to Palawan.
Honda Bay is situated in Santa Lourdes Tagbanua, Puerto Princesa City. Tourists can take a round-trip tricycle ride to the bay for only ₱500 ($11). Each tricycle can also fit 5 passengers, and takes about 45 minutes' travel time from downtown. Shuttle buses and vans are also offered by hotels and travel agencies around the city. These transportation options may be more convenient but the tricycles are much cheaper and flexible.
- When going island hopping, make sure you pack everything you need for the trip. Bring sunblock because you’ll be spending a lot of time under the sun for sure.
- Make sure that you visit Honda Bay during the summer season, the weather conditions during this time is ideal for island hopping and swimming. Also, check the high tide and low tide schedule so you can visit Luli Island.
- Honda Bay has a number of souvenir shops right within the wharf. These shops offer wide selections of snorkeling gears, swimming apparels, and souvenirs such as printed shirts and handicrafts.
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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Mar 04, 2015