Honda Bay DIY Trip: Two Islands in Two Hours | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Jul 31, 2014

Honda Bay DIY Trip: Two Islands in Two Hours

I never thought I could go island hopping in Honda Bay during our recent vacation in Puerto Princesa. Due to our limited time and the fear of delays, I opted to cross Honda Bay out the itinerary. I wanted to save it for next time, most probably two or three years from now, until a tricycle driver said that we can do a "two islands in two hours DIY trip".

The idea sounded great! So, on our 3rd and last day in Puerto Princesa, we asked him to fetch us at the break of dawn, take us to the wharf and back for a fee of Php 600. 

Honda Bay DIY Tour

5:00 AM: Breakfast Time
The kitchen staff of Marianne Home Inn were kind enough to serve us breakfast an hour early than usual. It was great that we had a heavy meal before the trip commenced as we never had the time to relax and dine in one of the islands, just like what others normally do.     

6:00 AM: Travel to Honda Bay Port
Our tricycle driver came just as soon as we finished our breakfast. At exactly 6 AM, we journeyed to Honda Bay Port onboard a public vehicle. Travel time was around 30 minutes.

Honda Bay Port in Puerto Princesa
Honda Bay Port (photo taken past 9am)

6:30 AM: Registration and Rentals
We were the first Honda Bay trippers that day! As the first boat only departs at 7am, we still had to wait for the registration booth to open. While waiting, the locals advised us to buy a pack of bread for fish feeding and rent an underwater case for the point and shoot camera in the stalls nearby. There are also snorkeling gears for rent, but since our time was limited, we opted not to. 

rental stalls at Honda Bay Port in Puerto Princesa
snorkeling gears for rent and island hopping goodies for sale

After a few minutes, the registration staff arrived. We told him about our 2-hour island hopping plan and he recommended that we'd rent a 3 cylinder engine boat for Php1,300. Not included in the boat rental are the entrance fees of the islands we are visiting. The rates are fixed and approved by the government, not like in Boracay where I haggled too much and got the cheapest island hopping package rate.

Honda Bay boat rental and entrance fees
Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour fees

7:00 AM: off to Pandan Island
As the early birds, we never had to queue or wait for our number to be called. We were guided to a boat and departed the port at exactly 7AM. I informed our boatmen about our 2-hour plan. Yes, I sounded like a broken record that morning!  I just wanted to make sure that they'd take us back to the port on time. 

So, off we sailed to the first island. It was a perfect morning to be in the sea! The sky was so blue, the water was calm and the breeze was soothing. One of the boat guys did the navigation while the other gave us some sort of an orientation. He said we'd go to Pandan Island first where we can swim and feed the fishes, then to Starfish Island for more swimming, and we can drop by LuLi island if we still have enough time. 

boats in Honda Bay Palawan
small motorized boat perfect for our family of four and large boats for bigger groups 
wonderful morning in Honda Bay Palawan
It was a wonderful morning for cruising in Honda bay!
Pandan island in Honda Bay Palawan
That's our first destination out there! 

7:30 AM to 8:15 AM: Pandan Island 
We arrived in a serene Pandan Island. I heard this is where island-hoppers spend most of their time. The moment I hopped off our boat, I totally understood why. The white sand beach is lined by green Pandan and Coconut trees, and adorned with colorful banners. There are cottages by the shore, a resto bar and all sorts of water activities. It is a Holiday Island! We were actually the first guests which is an advantage as we got the whole tropical paradise for ourselves! 

white sand beach of Pandan Island Palawan
strolling along the white sand beach of Pandan Island
pandan tree in Pandan Island Palawan
a Pandan Tree along the shore (This made me daydream of Buko Pandan! Yum!)
clear waters of Honda Bay
the very inviting waters of Honda Bay

Our boatmen offered to take our pictures. I thought it would just be the usual pose-smile-click, but the fun-loving locals surprised us. They took photos on a higher level; camera tricks it is! After gushing on how cool our Pandan Island souvenir photos turned out, we finally went for a dip in the clear blue waters. Refreshing!  

camera tricks in Pandan Island Palawan
camera tricks in Pandan Island
Lady in Pandan Island Palawan
another artistic shot taken by our boatman
fish feeding in Pandan Island Palawan
It was too early for fish feeding. :(
I guess most fishes were still sleeping that only a few came for the breakfast we offered! :)
stunning shores of Pandan Island in Palawan
Isn't this a pure bliss? 

8:15 AM: off to Starfish Island
After 45 minutes of frolicking in Pandan Island, we sailed to our second destination: Starfish Island. I never noticed the time actually. The worrywart in me totally forgot that we have a flight to catch at 1 PM! I guess that's what the beautiful Honda Bay can do; relax the senses and shoo off the worries!   

the glorious blue waters of Honda Bay in Palawan
the glorious blue waters of Honda Bay
Starfish Island in Honda Bay Palawan
another island to explore

8:30 AM to 9:00 AM: Starfish Island
We reached Starfish Island after a short and scenic boat ride. Again, we were the first island visitors of the day. Just like Pandan, there are cottages for rent and lots of picturesque spots. There is a sand bar and mangrove area at the far end. It's another tranquil island where we can soak up in the sun and just relax. Well, perhaps only in the morning when it is crowd-free! 

family trip in Honda Bay Palawan
These lovely starfishes are STARS of my life. :)
souvenir photo at Starfish Island Palawan
picture-perfect view at Starfish Island
Lady and Ed in Honda Bay Palawan
When I say jump, you say how high. ;)
floating cottage in Starfish island Palawan
If we had enough time, I'd probably spend hours in that floating cottage!

Our boatman said that starfishes are abundant in the area, that's why island is named as such.  So, I was hoping I'd find one by the shore, but sad to say I didn't. To prove his word, he jumped off the boat and dived to get a starfish in the seabed. Then, I believed! :)

We returned the little sea star to its home and drifted away from the shore.    

diving for starfish at Starfish Island Palawan
our local guide with a starfish from the seabed

9:00 AM: back to the port 
On our way back to Honda Bay port, we passed by LuLi Island; a tiny island with a small water villa. LuLi is actually from the Filipino words "lulubog and lilitaw". It is underwater during high tide and appears on low tide.    

Luli Island in Honda Bay Palawan
Luli Island in Honda Bay

9:15 AM: at Honda Bay port 
We arrived at the port 15 minutes past 9 in the morning. After saying our thank yous and goodbyes to our friendly boatmen who also became our tour guides and photographers, I hurriedly went back to the stall to return the underwater camera case I rented.    

9:30 AM: Back to the City
At 9:30 AM, we were already on the road heading back to the city. Sure, our two islands in two hours Honda Bay trip was a success, but I must say that the shortened island hopping tour was never enough. Actually, our two days and a half vacation in Puerto Princesa was fleeting that it made me yearn for a return trip. I will always remember what the locals said: "Come back, come back". And yes, we will!    

Honda Bay DIY Tour expenses:
public tricycle hire: Php 600
3 cylinder engine boat hire: Php 1300
Environmental Fee: Php 40/pax
underwater camera case rental: Php 200
Pandan Island entrance fee: Php 100/pax 
Starfish Island entrance fee: Php 50/pax

Honda Bay
Puerto Princesa
Palawan, Philippines

More of Puerto Princesa
Where we stayed: 
Marianne Home Inn

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