Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Islands of Honda Bay

For our barkada’s Puerto Princesa City, Palawan escape, we availed the Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour. About 30 minutes from the city proper, Honda Bay is facing Sulu Sea and is also where the high-end Dos Palmas Resort is located. The package tour we got costs PhP 1,340 per person and includes air-conditioned van and boat transfers, entrance fees for three islands, and a lunch buffet.

Our tour guide for the trip fetched us at the inn where we were staying at around 7:00 am and proceeded to pick up the other tourists from their hotels. On the way, we stopped at a snorkelling gear shop near Sta Lourdes Wharf. Here, we rented snorkelling masks and aqua shoes at PhP 150 each. Life vests, meanwhile, will be provided on the boat we will be renting at the wharf.

When we arrived at the Sta Lourdes Wharf, the place was already teeming with tourists.  Our guide took care of the necessary permits and fees at the Tourist Information Center. While waiting for her, we seize the opportunity to have a restroom break and take photos. We also bought some bread at the various stalls scattered along the wharf for our fish feeding activity later. Finally, after waiting for quite some time, we hopped on the outrigger boat assigned to our group. Because of the weather condition, we can only go the islands near the wharf.

Luli Island
Our first stop was Luli Island. “Lu” from “lulubog” and “Li” for “lilitaw.” The guide told us that it was named as such because the island is submerged during high tide and visible if low tide. Luli Island is actually a long sandbar with fine sand, a perfect backdrop for selfies and jump shots. The island is quite developed as there are are cottages, restrooms and a floating platform. But what tourists enjoyed most is its diving board. Imagine jumping into the sea? But don’t worry, it’s just a few meters off the shore.

Kabayo Island
The second island for our group was Kabayo Island. This is not among the popular islands in Honda Bay. It is actually a sandbar too, but smaller than Luli Island. Also, it is not that developed, only floating platforms can be found here. But I really had a fun time snorkelling and feeding the fish, just take a look at some of the photos taken by our boatman using my friend’s underwater camera—plenty of multi-colored and different kinds of fishes!


Cowrie Island
Our last stop is Cowrie Island. From afar, I could already see the coconut trees and thatch-roofed huts. We had our lunch at the island’s big covered pavilion. I enjoyed the buffet which consists of pancit, fish, fried chicken, veggies, coffee jelly and a lot more! Too tired to dip ourselves in the water, my friends and I just roamed around and saw a bar, massage services and a beach volleyball area. We also saw tourists kayaking or riding the banana boat. My friend, meanwhile, had a henna tattoo. Since most of us had flights to catch that evening, we decided to go back at Sta Lucia Wharf by 2 pm.

Our Honda Bay island hopping tour was tiring but I definitely enjoyed it! Hopefully when I go back, the weather would be cooperative so that I can also check out Pandan Island, Pambato Reef and maybe even Dos Palmas!

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