Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is a group of islands that is popular for swimming, snorkeling, and diving destinations. Island-hopping in the Bay has also become a common thing for tourists.
The jump-off point is located in Barangay Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua about 12 kilometers east of the town proper where pump boats could be hired to reach the different islands. Some islands require entrance fees; some are privately owned and require permission before you can visit. “It’s quite a long boat ride to reach there but it is also an adventure of a lifetime and an unforgettable one”, Sheryl muses.
Such event was what happened to Sheryl So and her friends when they went to the Honda Bay in Palawan. Sheryl is currently an officer for the Planning Department employed at Philippine Airlines. Being an employee of an airline gives her the benefit of flying for free in domestic or international destinations. Sheryl is 29 years old, single, and finished industrial engineering at one of the prestigious universities in the Philippines.
She found Palawan to be a typical province. Very organized and spotlessly clean. There are a lot of natural tourist spots to go to, and less commercial establishments.
“I went to Puerto Princesa with friends and I love their beaches. We went to Honda Bay for snorkeling and it’s so amazing how much fishes, corals, among others you can see even if you are nearby the shore. I wonder what more you can see if you go further to the deeper parts of the sea.”
Sheryl enjoyed the blissful scenery of Puerto Princesa along with her friends and office mates. As soon as they arrived, they went island hopping immediately. First stop is the Pandan Island. They stayed in a cottage like many visitors used. Several huts and cottages were located there. And just like any other tropical paradise we’ve seen in the movies, they take turns quenching their thirsts with a coconut juice in their hand and proceeded to go on snorkeling around the island.
The breath taking view of the place above water is equally stunning and amazing as it was under the water, and every visitor should experience seeing the scenery both ways. “Palawan is such a clean place, it’s a refreshing sight especially if you came from a crowded busy place like Makati in Manila”
After a few hours, Sheryl and her friends moved to the Snake Island, which was a two-kilometer sandbar shaped like a snake. It was enjoyable for them to walk around up to the end of the sandbar. Food feasting on Snake Island was very sumptuous for the visitors. After diving, it is always best to splurge into a hearty meal and walking barefoot along the powdery sand.
The last stop they went to was the Starfish Island. This island is known for its fine white sand and clear water that teems with starfish.
The island had a sandbar surrounding the lagoon. They very much enjoyed the warm and peaceful water without the strong waves. Other islands there in Honda include Cannon (Cowrie) Island, Bat Island, Lu-Li Island, Meara Marina, and Senorita Island. The Senorita Island is the breeding site of the lapu-lapu fish.
Since she likes the beach more than anyone else, she considers going back to Puerto Princesa, and would like to visit other places as well like Coron, El Nido, Calauit, among others. “The most unforgettable part of my Palawan experience would be snorkeling and swimming in the Palawan waters — fine sand, clear waters and well preserved coral reefs.”
Compared with another tourist spot here in the Philippines where she went spelunking with her friends in Sagada, she liked very much the caves in the underground river in Palawan. The cave had interesting rock formations, stalactites, bats, and aside from that, the cave has access to a river which leads to the famous falls in Puerto Princesa. You may explore the underground river by boat, while in the caves of Sagada, you need to do lots of walking and climbing.
Sheryl believes that Puerto Princesa is above average place compared to other tourist destinations in the Philippines. "It is a site for relaxation and adventure where you can be one with nature. The place really grows on you, it really stayed in your senses for quite a long time until you come back again to renew the bonding you have with mother nature."