Our last day in Puerto Princesa was our last island hopping in Palawan – a tour at Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa’s main islands.
We were up as early as 6am so we could set off at 7am. Our flight was at 4pm so we only had a few hours to make do of our last day.
To go to Honda Bay, we rode a tricycle with Kuya Allan and then booked a boat at the Brgy. Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua which is the jump off point for the Honda Bay tour. I rented my snorkel gear and we bought some bread to feed off fish.
We were only scheduled for 4 places because time was limited, still I was excited.
The first island we went to was Pandan Island – which was a gorgeous developed island with lots of huts and flagpoles and snorkeling as the main activity.
Pandan Island was also a family island. Even at the early island hopping hours of 8am, there were already a few boats around the island. We did get to solo the beach for some time though and do a bit of good snorkeling. In fact, the marine life here was very healthy and our tour guide, although not as friendly as Kuya Jake and Kulits, he was an amazing swimmer and he was able to bring us to the best parts for snorkeling.
After an hour or so on the island and taking some time to capture the island’s beauty with pictures, we headed off to our next island – Snake Island.
You see, I have this weakness for Snake Islands – not that it has anything to do with my phobia of snakes but since I saw that picture of Snake Island in El Nido which I wasn’t able to go to, I’ve been curious about these snake islands because there are so many islands in the Philippines named Snake island, so I’m kind of curious about the differences of these islands.
Anyway, at our arrival at Snake Island, I finally realized why they called it Snake Island.
The Snake Island in Honda Bay was a long stretch of beach curled to the shape of a snake from air view giving it its name “Snake Island.”
At first look, I thought I could walk all the way to the end of the island, I was even so confident just leaving the main area of Snake Island where our boatmen were preparing lunch for us.
The thing was, the February sun was so mean that we barely got halfway!
Okay, so it was really too long to actually walk and we got tired and it became too hot to handle. I was already beyond being sunburned, so why deprive myself of the opportunity of experiencing something new right?
All due to my major stupidness, I lost my slippers somewhere here and had to go barefoot the rest of the trip.
Snake Island curled at the end, and while we were walking, we found brackish waters at the curls of Snake Island, revealing why the beach was so clean (the mangrove tour explained that mangroves clean out all the garbage brought by the ocean, explaining why Sabang and Underground River have really clean beaches).
We walked back to the main area, ready for lunch. Our boatmen had over-prepared our lunch – there were only two of us, and the lunch they had made could’ve fit at least 4 people!
Anyway, I was full after eating and Ate Leidy headed off to do some snorkeling while I said I’d stay awhile to rest a bit.
I followed them to their snorkeling site about 15 minutes later. I was still full and it was making it really hard to swim over to them – they had already gone to the deep end – but I wasn’t really ready to give up my Palawan experiences just yet. Good thing though, because feeding fish at Snake Island was quite a lot of fun.
We left Snake Island just around 11 or 12, I think. Time was running as we had to be back by 1pm.
Our next destination was Starfish Island. I had read many great reviews about this island, but unfortunately ever since being bought off by the owner of Dos Palmas, it hasn’t been up to its old image lately. At our arrival there, there was only a few boats around and no official was around to take our entrance fees as stated in Tagbanua’s fee chart.
Not an issue for us, we took some time to walk around the beach while our boatman dived around to get us some starfish. Unlike before, most starfish had to be dived around now, but the boatmen said that years back, starfish would be lying everywhere, even near the shores. The island also had some kind of developed accommodations and a famous landmark of some sort that was now nowhere to be found – unfortunately for us. But anyway, we enjoyed some time with the starfishes and got a chance to enjoy the beach one last time before heading off to our next area – which wasn’t an island but a snorkeling area.
Did I mention I have some sort of shark paranoia? I did, right? I don’t know where I get that, but I guess when you’re down there in the middle of the sea with creatures you’re not used to being with, you suddenly get paranoid about stuff. Or at least I did. I’m betting Pambato Coral Reef is nothing like the Tubbataha Reef which I am also listing on my soon to be destinations, but I enjoyed the tour. It was an hour tour around the reef, with fish and corals and different kinds of plant life that I was never aware of. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it – in fact, I really did, I love the new experience and I imagine diving would feel the same, I guess my paranoia just gets the better of me and every time I don’t see what’s ahead of me in the waters, I start getting nervous and would swim back to our guide. Oh, and the current was kind of strong so I didn’t really want to release the life buoy in fear of being strung somewhere I shouldn’t be. I didn’t have my underwater cam then either so only Ate Leidy was able to get some photos.
After an hour of snorkeling, we headed back to Tagbanua port where Kuya Allan was waiting for us. I had hurt myself while climbing up from the boat so he lent me his slippers so I could walk off and buy new slippers at the souvenir store – thank you Kuya Allan!
We showered at the port (yes, they have showers there!), we headed back to Puerto Princesa City to pick up our luggage and head to the airport.
Goodbye Palawan! Goodbye Puerto Princesa!