Just less than an hour drive from Puerto Princesa City downtown, you would be able to reach the wharf gateway to the cool islands of Honda Bay. In this very wharf, you would be visually guided posted on the desks where you would reserve your boat and chose your itinerary for your island hopping activity.
Here are the of islands commonly visited in Honda Bay:
- Starfish Island
- Luli Island
- Pandan Island
- Snake Island
- Cowrie Island
- Bat Island
- Adobo Island
- Fraser Island
In this Familiarization Tour, we are able to visit Pambato Reef, Luli Island and Cowrie Island.
We started docking at the Pambato Reef where we are greeted by cheerful staff. This is not an island hence you would be docking on a floating stage, with toilet facility for male and female, and a floating orientation area. They staged the roof design as a humongous sea turtle, a perfect backdrop for your photos. Before you are able to explore the reef, the group should listen first the orientation stressing the importance of the reef and rules, covering the swimming area tourists are allowed to. After listening, we are now ready to don our snorkeling equipment and shortly, hearing splashes as we access the cool reef waters. Instantly, you would be greeted with a reef teeming with marine life.
There is this one red coral that caught my attention and invited me to dive deeper to get a photo of it. As you swim around the area, be cautious of the current as it may bring you towards the prohibited area, a netted area where there are sharks that they dub as “vegetarian”. Once you swam near, the staff would let loose a loud whistle warning, so beware and be aware. Our boat operator even guided us to where we can see giant clams. To those who cannot really swim, he brought a floating device where he could steer the group towards the spots. He would even take awesome underwater photos of you. In the midst of our enjoyment, we have to leave the reef and visit another island.
We arrived in Luli Island, in less than 20 minutes I assume, Luli means “lulubog-lilitaw” and is a privately owned island but open to tourists. The island is adorned with long stretches of white sand and mangrove forests.
There are stores and restaurants available on the island should you be hungry. There is a sand castle properly maintained where you can take creative shots. There is a netted swim area as the area has a presence of stonefishes – known for the painful stings. So donning aqua shoes in this island is a must. After making shots around the island, we are heading next to the next island – Cowrie Island.
In less than half an hour, we reached the famous Cowrie Island. From afar, you would see its inviting shores and sand, however, be warned some areas of the shore go deep abruptly, so be cautious if you see area from yellow to deep blue – be ready with your life vest.
The center of the island has a buffet restaurant where we enjoyed our hearty lunch surrounded by tall coconut trees. During our stay, the cloudless blue was a perfect backdrop for these picturesque tall slender trees – hard not to take photographs.
We tried to take creative photos as the island portray a very tropical feel. We also waded shortly on its shallow portions and then we are about to dock our boat and leave the island soon – had a heavy heart on leaving this beautiful island.
HOW TO ENJOY YOUR HONDA BAY ISLAND HOPPING ADVENTURE?
This is one of the beautiful spots near Puerto Princesa Downtown, about an hour or less. From downtown, you can hire tricycles or vans to bring you to the Honda Bay Wharf. Upon arrival, you will be greeted with properly visually managed counters for your ease of boat reservation. Once you have settled your payment, you will be assigned a boat number and wait for your number to be announced before boarding. Your Honda Bay adventure should now start! To minimize hassle, you can opt to book travel packages that you can actually see everywhere in Puerto Princesa or online.