Palawan: Island Hopping at Honda Bay

Our last-minute activity in Puerto Princesa Palawan was a do-it-yourself island hopping tour at Honda Bay before we fly out in the evening. Three islands in two hours, is it possible? With only three hours to spare, we weren't sure island hopping is a good idea. Ferald and I were like, it's now or never, discussing the pros and cons over lunch at KaLui. We actually packed our beach essentials in the morning when we were leaving the hotel for the half-day city tour just in case we decided to do it. In the end, we did it anyway because we'll never know when the next time could be. #yolo

After our scrumptious lunch at KaLui, we headed to Honda Bay to alight a tricycle with the same manong driver we hired when we went for firefly watching the day before. Color-coded tricycles are the most common form of transportation you can hire in the city if you're not on a package tour.

More than half an hour later, we reached the wharf. It was around 2:00 pm.

We hurriedly register at the port counter, paid the fees, and rented a boat operated by two boatmen for 1300 pesos. Rates are fixed and all are the same even with different boat operators as it was set and approved by the municipal government.

We were told that we need to get back by 4:00 pm. Three islands for two hours, is it possible? The answer is a big fat yes. Allow me to show you how we did it.

Happy and excited faces

Snorkeling at Pambato Reef

Our first stop is Pambato Reef.

Pambato reef's floating platform with turtle shape roof

Pambato reef is ideal for snorkeling and shallow diving. It's not an island but a protected reef with a floating platform built by the government for tourists and local visitors.

one of my favorite photos of us in Palawan

Mica on the walking path made of bamboo

It was a rich and colorful world down there with an exquisite variety of fishes, staghorn corals, brain corals, and giant clams. We were all so delighted to see so many fishes, live corals, and giant clams

Prince with snorkel gear

me and my family snorkeling at Pambato reef

We had a very limited time so we only spent more or less thirty minutes on each island. Not to mention our boat was also acting up and wouldn't start in the first ignition. I was also growing worried looking at the huge rain cloud hovering above the Honda Bay wharf. Our boatman assured us that we have nothing to worry about. It was just rain and there was no storm warning on that day. He was telling me all that while doing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ignition of his boat engine before it roared back to life on his fifth try. I calmed myself down and hold on to this young man's words. No storm, don't worry.

We continued on to the next island.

Fish Feeding at Luli Island

Luli Island is a small island with beautiful sandbars. Its name Luli is derived from the first syllables of the Tagalog words ''Lulubog" meaning submerged underwater when the tide is high and "Lilitaw" meaning reappears or resurfaces when the tide is low.

We didn't have time to buy stale bread at the wharf. Our boatman said we can buy on the island when we get there. When we reached the island, he ran to get bread but came back with packets of sky flakes crackers. The shop ran out of bread so he bought sky flakes as an alternative and it works.

Schools of fish came swimming toward our hands snatching tiny pieces of the crackers once we lower them down to the water. It was a completely fun activity. Prince and Mica were so amazed. What's more amazing is that it was raining when we were doing that and the kids just love it.

Unfortunately, we were so rushed, Ferald and I forgot our phones in our bags so we have no photos on this beautiful island.

Starfish Encounter and Photoshoot at Cowrie Island

No photos at Luli, Cowrie got us covered. Our third and last island on this tour.

Little did we expect that our fun-loving boatmen have cool camera tricks in their back pockets. After they anchored our boat, one of them started searching for starfishes lying around the shore. Showed it to us and asked us to do several poses while he takes the shot.

Cowrie Island family jump shot

giant sand castle, yes. no, it was just perspective but we loved it.

Cowrie island is named after cowry shells that are abundant on this island. These are seashells with smooth surfaces, beautiful unique prints on them, egg-shaped with one flat side, and are used widely for decorative purposes.

Cowrie island is more than what meets the eye. There are a lot of fun activities you can do on this island, too bad we have a very limited time to do all that. If you come here and have plenty of time on your hands, try banana boating or playing beach volleyball or frisbee. There's a henna tattoo artist here too and a massage hut. There's a bar and restaurant where you can get food and refreshments to cool you down and fill you up. What's more, is that they have several beach huts you can rent while you are here.

When we checked the time, it was almost 4 pm already. We boarded our boat and headed back to the wharf, showered, and changed at the port. Yes, there are showers and changing rooms at the port and it is clean but you gotta have your own toiletries.

Now fresh and with big smiles on our faces, we headed back to the city and to our hotel to collect our luggage. Our van had to wait for us a little but we reached the airport just in time. Check-in was fast with Cathay Pacific, we even waited for a while to board the plane. Our flight was at 6:55 pm so there was really no need to rush. We were first-timers but now we know.

This is the last blog post for my Puerto Princesa series. Our time here was short but it was one great experience that I hope our kids will remember. It is also something I want us to do again some other time, maybe in some other place. Till our next adventure guys.

Ciao for now!

Follow our Puerto Princesa Travel Series

Casitas De Az Pension l Budget Accommodation in Puerto Princesa
25+ Captivating Photos of Puerto Princesa
Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour
Family Adventure at Sabang X Zipline
Family Visit to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Firefly Watching at Iwahig and Dinner at Kinabuchs Bar & Grill
Puerto Princesa City Tour
Art & Food at KaLui Puerto Princesa

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.

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