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Monday, May 16, 2011

Honda Bay Island Hopping

The Honda Bay postcard I bought in Palawan.

Palawan is one of the best tourist destinations in the Philippines because of different natural wonders such as limestone formation of caves, diverse flora and fauna, verdant mountains, lush rainforests, fine beaches and tropical blue waters of the sea. In addition, it is an ideal place for your summer getaway because of the clean environment, beautiful tourist spots, and the abundance of natural resources in the island province.

I got back from a trip to Palawan last year where we visit some of the tourist attractions in the province. One of the places we visited was Honda Bay. It is an ideal venue for island hopping and snorkeling. In addition, this place is known for white sand beaches, the blue and crystal clear water and the richness of marine creatures in the bay. Honda Bay is located 12 kilometers east of Puerto Princesa City and composed of several islands within the area. The bay is used for commercial fisheries and recreation. Boats can be rented in Sta. Lourdes wharf in Brgy. Tagbanua, Puerto Princesa City. These boats can be used for travel to nearby islands, many less than 45 minutes from the shore by boat. 
Sailing across the Honda Bay.
During our island hopping in Honda Bay, we visit two islands and one diving spot. Our first stop is in Pambato Reef where corals are abundant in this area. According to other travel blogs, there is a huge fish density and underwater visibility in this diving area. I wanted to see the coral reefs during that time, but I was afraid to go in the reef because I don’t have enough experience to swim in the deeper part of the bay. Besides, there are tourists who injured because of corals. So you need to be careful in swimming and do not step the corals. 

The colorful school of fish in the shallow reef of Snake Island.
After forty-five minutes, we proceed to Snake Island. This place is known not because there are many snakes in the island, but it is named for the shape of the island which looks like a slithering snake. We spent for almost one hour and enjoyed our stay in the island covered with mangrove trees. First, we saw a lot of tiny fish with white and brown colors in the part of the bay that almost reaches the shore. Besides, I had a lot of fun in snorkeling. But the most unforgettable encounter in this island happened in fish feeding.  It was a surreal experience because there are schools of fish with bright colors of black, white, blue and yellow were surrounding around me. Also, there are two to three medium-sized fish wants to join the group in feeding the bread crumbs. While waiting for our lunch, I saw a small crab with a shell in its back (I think it’s a hermit crab). I try to look at this crab and touch its shell until it runs fast and hides in a small hole in the sand. Then, we had our lunch and picture taking in this island. Also, my sisters and friends helped the pasalubong vendors in making accessories and souvenirs. 

The sandy seashore of Starfish Island.
The lucid and tropical water of the bay from Starfish Island.
The fine white sand, rocky reef, and clear water teemed with starfish.
The circle of starfish.
Our last stop is in Starfish Island. When we landed in the island, it was amazing because of fine white sand and clear water that teemed with the numerous starfish scattered in the shallow reef of the bay. We spend our time there through taking photographs and walking in the seashore to discover other creatures aside from starfish. In addition, there are plenty of empty and white shells which look like a dollar coins. These creatures are called sand dollars. In fact, these sand dollars are color brown when they were living. We also found a dead starfish, decaying in the shore. They died due to continuously crawling to the beach which is a dry place and out of the water. Because of what we saw, we decided to save some starfish in the shore by getting them back to the bay in order to live longer. You need to become cautious also because there are stonefish found in this island. They are able to camouflage which looks like a rock under the sea. But, if you attacked by this creature, your whole leg up to your thigh would be numb and be in intense pain. We also continued our fish feeding but there are few fish with colors of brown and white fed the bread crumbs and stay away;  unlike in other islands where there are colorful schools of fish. 
A place similar to the Exile Island in hit reality series Survivor.
Lu-li Island
Taking a glimpse of the bay before we go back to the wharf.
Therefore, there are other islands in Honda Bay which are interesting to visit due to its peculiar and exotic features. There are islands which are known for the richness of marketable creatures such as Canon or Cowrie Island where you can found many cowrie shells in the shore and SeƱorita Island which serves as a breeding site of lapu-lapu fish. We also have Lu-li Island which coined from the first syllables of two Tagalog words Lulubog meaning sinking and Lilitaw which means showing up, where one part of this island is sinking during high tide. Also there are islands named after a flying mammal and an endemic plant. These islands are Bat Island where it is the home of fruit bats that coming out of holes during sundown for their evening feed and Pandan Island where it is named after a native plant found in the island and an ideal place for snorkeling. Lastly, we have islands known for its resorts like the Arreceffi Island where you can found the Dos Palmas Resort and Meara Marina Island where you can have your overnight stay in this island because of its resort.

This island trekking experience is exciting and relaxing because you will appreciate the abundance of natural resources, the beauty of the islands and the captivating scenery of the bay. If I were given a chance to come back to Palawan, I want to complete my island trekking experience in Honda Bay in order to explore the uniqueness of every island and the panoramic beauty of the bay.
Photos by: Diesta Family (jondiestaportfolio.blogspot.com)
Text by: Jonathan B. Diesta
Other Sources: http://www.puertoprincesa.ph

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