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Discovering Palawan: Honda Bay Island Hopping
(Jovy Avisado-Estepa/ Oct 13, 2016)
If it’s island hopping fun and breathtaking marine treasures that you’re after for your next travel adventure in the Philippines, Palawan is one of your best options. Why? Because you can find these dreamy amazing island hopping destinations just in this one province – Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron. And if you opted to visit Puerto Princesa, make sure to take note of these ‘oceanaholic’ details about its island hopping capital, Honda Bay:
Meet Palawan's Honda Bay
Locals lovingly call this amazing part of Puerto Princesa as Honda Bay (pronounced as ‘onda’). Honda is a Spanish word that means ‘deep’. At Honda Bay, you’ll get to discover various islands that are amazingly beautiful on the physical and what’s deep under. Allot one day for island hopping if you want to maximize your Honda Bay experience. For only P1,340* per person, you can visit a minimum of three islands with eat-all-you-can buffet!
Prepping Up for the Adventure
To start your island hopping journey, your tour guide will take you to a swimming gear rental shop. Due to the Coron incident where a tourist died after accidentally stepping on a stonefish, every travelers who wishes to go on island hopping is required to wear aqua shoes. Rental fee is only P150*. The shop also offers snorkeling gears, fins, and bread (for fish feeding!) to complete your swimming essentials. After making your purchase, your guide will take you to the Honda Bay Wharf.
Honda Bay Wharf
Upon arriving at the wharf, you’ll be greeted with a glimpse of the beauty of Honda Bay. There are also a great number of tourists waiting for their boat ride. To make use of your free time, you can take some great selfies with the panoramic view as your background. You can also find some great buy of jewelries from the locals selling pearls at a cheap price.
First Stop: Starfish Island
From the wharf, it takes 15 minutes of boat ride to reach the first island destination – Starfish Island. And yes, you can encounter many starfish here (hence its name) and a great number of fishes and amazing corals. The shallow part of the island is quite rocky but thanks to the aqua shoes, swimming experience would still be comfortable. A part of the island is filled with mangroves (a great background for a group shot). In one hour, it’s snorkeling overload at Starfish Island!
Second Stop: Luli Island
The second stop is a temperamental island – it disappears during high tide and reappears during low tide; hence its name Luli (lulubog, lilitaw). There are private huts and cottages where you can leave your things. Here, you’ll get to enjoy feeding the fishes (if you brought some bread or crackers with you). Enjoy adrenaline rush when you give this island your signature dive at the diving board.
Third Stop: Cowrie Island
Compared to Starfish and Luli Island, Cowrie Island is your ultimate getaway. Aside from appreciating the fine white sand and satisfying your hunger at the eat-all-you-can buffet, you can delight in a good massage and exciting water activities such as banana boat ride and flying fish. A good phone signal is a plus as well (and you can catch a great deal of pokemons here!).
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