Honda Bay is located on the Palawan Island’s eastern shore. This is near the Puerto Princesa City, towards Philippines’ southwestern direction.
The bay is quite well-known because of its use as commercial and subsistence fisheries. In addition, it also provides a ton of recreation activities for all the tourists visiting here. You have the opportunity of finding boats for rent and then traveling to all the nearby islands. If you think that it takes a long time, well you are quite wrong. The maximum journey length has been known to be just 45 minutes.
Now let us revisit its history to know how Honda Bay came into existence. The mine which was called the Quicksilver Mine in Palawan, used mine tailings starting from 1953 all the way until 1976, which came as a result of their process of ore extraction. This was used in Honda Bay to create a jetty. Sitio Honda Bay is also a place that was created on this. Because of all the ore extraction going on from all corners, the research which was undertaken by environmentalists have shown that the village residents’ blood might contain some traces of mercury. For many centuries, Honda Bay was just used as a jetty and a fishing port. This was until a tourist stopped by and decided to turn it into a tourist destination. After that, various resort accommodations were built up.
The wide ranges of islands which have sprung up all over the Honda Bay area has turned the place into a beautiful mixture of cultures and traditions. This is because people from all walks of life have come and settled down here. They have developed their own cultures in order to survive and stick to some of their heritages. However, the original inhabitants are the Cuyonons.
They have been known to have a rich legacy of traditions and folklore which they then tend to pass from generation to generation. In addition, you will also be able to find a diverse range of people, which include Palawanos, Molbogs, Bataks, and Tagbanwas. Each of these groups of people have their own distinguishable system of beliefs and cultures. The most dominant language which is widely spoken is Cuyonon. However, Visayan, Tagalog, and even English has been known to be widely conversed among the inhabitants.
Puerto Princesa, which is considered to be the largest city in the Palawan Islands, lies at the center of the island. In the east, you will be able to see the Sulu Sea, the South China Sea in the west, and Roxas and San Vincente surrounding it from the north. Aborlan is creating a border for itself from the south side. Throughout the whole bay, 66 districts or areas have been identified as barangayas. Of them all, 35 have been categorized as urban baranagayas and the rest of them have been classified as rural barangayas. All around the bay, you will also be able to find Manila, Panay Island, and Zamboanga City at close range.
How to get to the Honda Bay area
Honda Bay is a beautiful place because of the collection of islands which surround it from all corners. The perfect white beaches and clear waters make it all the more gorgeous. That is why it has been recommended to visit the Honda Bay area at least once in your lifetime if you get the opportunity.
So how exactly to does one get to the Honda Bay area? Well, the main form of transport is by land. Here you have the option of either going by bus or renting a van or a tricycle if you do not want to go with the other groups. From the airport, it is just 20-45 minutes’ drive. The cost of renting a tricycle is approximately $11. Regardless of whichever medium you choose, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. It is extremely safe and the roads are also well-built. This ensures that no bumps are encountered and you get a smooth ride all the way.
After you reach the port which will take you to the Honda Bay area, you will see that you may require a permit. You will see people forming a line to rent a boat and paying for the environmental fees, so you will know exactly where to stand.
Other than that, there are four steps which will ensure that you get your permit without encountering any hassle. These are as follows:
Stand in lane no. 1 and state how many members will be traveling with you, along with their names and ages. You also need to mention what kind of a boat you will be using.
Next, you will have to pay the rent for the boat and your permit. In return, you will get the name of your boat and its respective number.
Thirdly, you’ll have to fill up a form for paying the environmental fee.
Lastly, you will just have to wait for your name to be called. Then, you’ll be good to go.
Island hopping possibilities in the Honda Bay area
The Honda Bay area is just completely filled with islands to visit. There are so many that you will get confused about which one to visit and which one to leave out. In order to prevent you from facing this dilemma, we give you a rundown of all the exotic islands which are rated as must-visits by all the tourists.
The Pandan Island has been named due to the numerous pandan plants which are sprouting on all areas of the island. Even though it is managed by the Legend Hotel in Puerto Princesa City, this island has been kept open for all those willing to visit. This island has been considered ideal for snorkeling because of the sandy white beaches and its gentle waves. Other than that, you will also get plenty of opportunities to relax on the beach and sun bathe. With the strong wooden beach chairs and huts, it is also considered to be an ideal spot for those looking to enjoy a picnic on the beach. Pandan Island is also the home to a wide array of species of fish, so you might also be able to come across those.
The Snake Island has gotten its name for a certain reason. This is because when looked from high up the sky, the extended sand bar assumes the shape of a snake. This is considered to be another perfect location to host a beach picnic. In addition, the waters are so clean and clear that tourists just want to go snorkeling here over and over again. The beach huts which grace the shoreline also make for an ultimate resting place.
Even though Luli Island is considered the smallest of all the islands in the Honda Bay area, it does not fail to disappoint in terms of its offerings and beauty. The name Luli Island has originated from the Philippine words “lulubog” which means sinking and “lilitaw” which means resurfacing or re-emerging after being drowned in the low tides. Regardless of all this, the island is just filled with beautiful sand bars which makes it an ideal location to lounge by the beach with a cool and refreshing drink in one hand.
The most interesting part about this island is the abundance of mangroves. Believe it or not, you will see mangrove trees wherever you go. They just won’t leave you behind. Because of this, the best thing to do would be to just take a stroll on the beach. In this way, you will be able to take a good walk as well as have the chance to appreciate the breathtaking scenery. In addition, it also has a large community of bats and starfish.
Dos Palmas Island
The last island for island hopping is the Dos Palmas Island. And yes, like they say, save the best for the last. The Dos Palmas is considered to be the most popular of all the islands in the Palawan area. Even though it is considered to be priced slightly higher, it provides you with a range of options to explore. The best thing you can do is enroll in a daytime tour so that you can go on an expedition to explore the beauty of this island.
The Honda Bay
In the eastern shore of Palawan In the Philippines near the city of Puerto Princesa, Honda Bay comprises of several beautiful islands and sand bars. The bay is just merely a 45-minute drive away from the city of Puerto Princesa. The island of Puerto Princesa itself is rich in history since it is named after Princess Asuncion by Isabella II. The Honda Bay is encircled by several petite and exotic islands. The closest islet is just 15 minutes away whereas it takes about 50 minutes to travel to the farthest islet. Thus, the Honda Bay is just perfect for island hopping. The magnificent Honda Bay comprises of Snake Island, Luli Island, Cowrie Island, Starfish Island, Pandan Island, and Areceffi Island.
Let’s start with Snake Island. There is no need to freak out just yet. There are no snakes on the island. The island acquired its name from its snake- like shape. This island is a total beauty with its southern half covered with mangroves whereas its northern half is a stretched 2-kilometer white sandy beach. You can reach this island in about an hour or so from Sta. Lourdes Rock, but the duration of the ride is greatly dependent on weather conditions. During high tides, the islet’s elongated sandbar is not visible because it gets engulfed by the water. However, during low tides, the long and white sandbars are fully exposed.
You can do tons in this island starting from snorkeling and diving to beach volleyball! Not just that, you can even gaze at exotic colorful fish which stay close to the reef and shoreline. The island is also renowned for housing humongous Yellow-fin Surgeon fish.
Next comes Pandan Island which lies south of Snake Island and is the farthest away. This island acquired its name from the “Pandan” trees that covers most of the island. The transparent turquoise water draws in hundreds of tourists for beach-side activities like water paddling, kayaking, and body tantalizing massages. This island is more like a private paradise of your own. You will be lost in a tropical frenzy due to the lack of concrete structures and establishments because the island only has wood cottages or huts, drink stalls, and just one single resort. It will be wise to book your accommodation way ahead of the peak season. This is because the resort or any other sort of accommodation in this island tends to stay fully booked during that time.
Pandan Island doesn’t offer colorful coral reefs to its visitors, but it does offer a spectacular underwater view. Imagine lying on the beach sipping delicious and exotic drinks and chewing on the tastiest lobsters and sea urchins. Yes, that’s what this island is all about, and that is the main reason behind its popularity among tourists.
Luli Island is one of the narrowest islands in the Honda Bay Wharf. It derives its name from “Lulubog-lilitaw” which means sink and rise. The name is self-explanatory, as the island disappears during high tides and reappears again during the low tide. Therefore, timing is important when it comes to visiting this island. You have to consult with the local boatmen before visiting this island. During low tides, it looks like a narrow dessert amidst crystal clear water. But in the hours of high tide, you will only see houses and trees afloat. Mostly, this island acts as one of the stops while island hopping.
Luli Island offers a lot of light water activities like snorkeling, diving, and cliff jumping. Fish feeding is also a very popular activity among tourists. You have to be very careful in this island as there are no lifeguards and the water near the island creeps with jellyfish and stone fish. These are fascinating sea creatures but a sting from a jellyfish usually results in excruciating pain and that just might ruin your entire trip.
Arreceffi Island is the Beverly Hills of Honda Bay. This island is a secluded piece of land in the Far East side of Snake Island. You can reach this island in approximately fifty minutes from Sta. Lourdes. If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks, this island is the just the right place for you. The island facilitates lavish accommodations and recreational facilities and manages its own tours which are totally separate from the tours arranged while island hopping in Honda Bay. There are a lot of fun activities in this island too. You can get amazing Filipino massages or go diving. What if you do not like diving? No worries, you can watch dolphins ride off waves! This island is a safe house for at least three different turtle species and also acts as a feeding ground for endangered sea cows.
The beautiful Cowrie Island is just eight kilometers from Honda Bay which makes it easily accessible. The island got its name from the sea snail “Cowry” which resides in this island. This island will give you a festive feel as the ocean bed is rich with colorful and bright corals, polychrome fishes, sand, and sea weed. The island attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world and usually stays crowded. Even though this island is packed with tourists, the water is clearer and calmer compared to other islands in the Honda Bay.
Starfish Island- the name says it all. This island is home to countless starfishes of all shapes and sizes. These starfishes stay close to the shoreline and as you go deeper into the water, you will get to see other sorts of fish. Symmetric five armed orange star fish rules this island, but if you are lucky you might be able to spot other types of starfish. Starfish are basically everywhere in the crystal clear water around the shoreline! It takes about 25-30 minutes from Sta. Lourdes’ to this petite island.
People usually stop by this island for a couple of hours and the most favorite activity in this island is fish feeding. As a result, the island lacks restaurants or food stalls.
The Beautiful Nature of the Honda Bay
Honda Bay lies in the north-eastern part of Puerto Princesa city, Palawan. It comprises of several islands or islets. Divers and snorkelers from all over the world want to visit this place to explore its diving sites and mind-blowing reefs. Honda Bay has the cleanest water. The color of the water is a perfect turquoise which we see in posters or post cards. The islands have pristine white stretched beaches as if they were untouched. The islands even have large masses of mangroves. In addition to that, the bay is home to a lot of exotic animal species.
All the islands in Honda Bay will have that transparent blue water and white sandy beaches. Every island has its own specialty. You can think of Starfish Island, for instance, which is the home of countless starfish. You will see starfish everywhere that you look on this island. The beach area looks exactly like the night sky with hundreds of shining stars. Where in the world will you find an islet which is shaped like a snake and has warm sandy beaches? The northern part of the Snake Island is a 2-kilometer long beach, whereas the southern part is a lush tropical forest. Where will you get that crisp contrast?
Mother Nature has truly blessed the eastern part of Palawan with glistening crystal clear water, sandy beaches, and a fascinating wildlife. This part of Palawan also believes in safeguarding their wildlife. Hence, they have built several sanctuaries on almost all of their islands to take care of their exotic animals. Take Pambota Reef as an example, where the government has kept the reef open to all tourists and visitors while at the same time they maintain the natural ecological balance. The government in unison with private organizations has put a halt to illegal fishing. As a result, the exquisite aquatic life is safe and not becoming extinct.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River is famous for its underground caves, which have small waterfalls and river channels. This site was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO back in 2010. In addition to that, the Tubbataha Reefs natural park is another UNESCO World Heritage site. The Honda Bay is like a snooze button from your daily busy life. The place is truly refreshing and exhilarating.
If you want to experience some raw wildlife, then you should head over to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre in the city of Puerto Princesa, which is a safe haven for crocodiles, wild cats, and different species of endangered birds. You can check out the butterfly ecological garden and tribal village if you are into butterflies and insects.
The city of Puerto Princesa is also rich in culture and heritage. Formerly, the Cuyonons inhabited the island. Later, different groups of indigenous communities, like the Palawanos and Bataks started moving to the island from other parts; this lead to an interesting mixture of culture and beliefs. Nonetheless, the people residing here welcome everyone with open arms. They are very friendly, which further enhances the beauty of Honda Bay.
Honda Bay is truly a beautiful place with much to see, do, and learn. A trip to Honda Bay will basically mean a trip with nature and you will have much to admire in just that short trip. You will only not remember the sandy warm beaches, but also the people who are just as wonderful as the place.
The Honda Bay Beach Guide
The Honda Bay is a cluster of amazing and tiny islands or sandbars in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The islands or islets have white, powdery beaches and transparent cobalt blue water. The Honda Bay is ideal for island hopping as the islets are small and accessible. However, the islands are not equipped with proper accommodation, and hence, tourists have to stay within the Puerto Princesa city. A handful of beach resorts which are available in some of the islands cost a chunk of money because of its high demand and location. All the islands have great beaches, but the amount of activities available, accommodation, costs, and the level of crowd varies from island to island.
The Pandan beach should be in everyone’s bucket list. The beach has transparent blue water along with ivory sand which is a total delight for the eyes. Accommodation is available on the Pandan Island but try to book your accommodation beforehand, as accommodation gets easily filled up during the peak season. You can rent out big umbrellas for cheap and sit on the beach and enjoy delicious local delicacies. There are stalls which sell grilled lobster and sea urchins which are a treat for your taste buds. You can even ask them to catch a fish of your own choice and cook it for you! Water activities like kayaking and water paddling are available on the beach. As the Pandan Island is open to the public, the beach can get a little crowded compared to other Honda Bay islands.
Another beach that you must visit is the Cowrie Beach. It looks like something out of a postcard with tall coconut trees and graceful small huts for shade by the beach. Upon reaching the islands, visitors get greeted with the sound of drums. The sandy beach is perfect for a game of volleyball between family members or friends. Swimming in the warm water and fine sand is an absolute delight for all beach lovers. There are several other activities for people who do not prefer to swim or cannot swim. They can cozy up in a hammock or sunbathe. There are many bars on the beach to quench one’s thirst. After a long swim, you can even go for a relaxing massage to a professional masseuse. This beach stays packed with people because accommodation and food are readily available on the island.
Finally, Lilu Island is another place you need to visit. Lilu Island is not actually an island but a long sandbar. It becomes visible during low tide and disappears during high tide. This island or sandbar is also open to public and has cottages, floating platforms, and so on. The island is marked with signboards as to indicate where the water is. Popular activities on the Lilu beach are kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and feeding fish. Jellyfish and stonefish can be found in certain areas of the beach. Those areas are marked off by big signboards because the tentacles of jellyfish can be poisonous.
Dive Guide Palawan, Philippines attracts all sorts of diving and snorkeling enthusiasts with its spectacular diving sites. It has been constantly rated as one of the best dive sites in the world. Not just one, Palawan has many dives sites to offer to its tourists.
Pambato Reef is a must for everyone visiting the Honda Bay. The most convenient way to reach Pambato Reef is to travel to Cowrie Island, as it is only twenty minutes away from there by boat. The word “Pambato” refers to “best bet” and we can gladly assure you that this is the best reef out there. The government has turned this reef into a marine sanctuary to preserve countless species of exotic fish. Private organizations in Palawan also joined hands with the government in this attempt and made this place a complete safe house for its aquatic inhabitants.
This was important as the locals had a tendency towards illegal fishing. Fortunately, the government along with the private organizations put a stop to it. The government wanted to show off its jeweled pride because it is a total beauty. They built a floating dais in the lowest section of the reef. Moreover, the dais is shaped as a giant turtle and called “Dalubkaragatan”! The dais leads to the coral formations which are just below 10 feet from the surface of the water.
This reef is rich with fascinating and multicolored species of fish and different types of corals. Divers are even allowed to touch the coral underwater while diving, but they have to seek permission from their guides. It is best to hire a guide while visiting the reef because guides can warn you about unchartered territory and guide you along the perimeter of the reef which is safe.
Helen’s Garden is also a popular diving site in the Honda Bay. The Dos Palmas Resort has complete ownership of it. The hotel staff, along with its appointed research Centre, look after the site and thus, the site is safe from illegal fishing practices. This reef is an abode to a variety of corals like table coral, leather soft corals, and even clams! This is a great diving site for beginners. Snorkelers and divers can witness multicolored fish by luring them in with food. In addition to that, always look out for juvenile sharks since the site is also a nursery for them.
Henry’s reef covers the entire eastern part of Arreceffi Island, which lies in the South. Henry’s reef is longer compared to Helen’s Garden. The reef is special because it has a mini wall which is about 15 to 35 feet tall. The wall has small caves and crevices where you can find lionfish and cardinal fish. You can even witness soldier fish in the crevices. This reef is also a great place for snorkeling. Henry’s reef is very popular among divers and snorkelers for night diving. Furthermore, photographers like this diving site and have addressed this reef as a nirvana for photography.
Where to stay in the Honda bay
The benefits of staying in Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa City provides a wide range of housing and hotel facilities. Due to the diverse types of tourists visiting here, it has made arrangements to suit different preferences. This means that you will be able to find both high-end luxury places to stay in as well as budget ones.
However, there are certain distinct benefits of staying at hotels in Puerto Princesa City. By staying here, you will have unrestricted access to all the popular destinations. This includes the glowing beaches, the gentle and clear waters, the coral reefs, as well as the cliffs made of limestone. In addition, you will also get the chance to visit the world famous Underground River.
Most of the hotels which are in Puerto Princesa City are within close range of the airport. In this way, the tourists will not have to encounter any additional hassle while traveling to their hotels. They would already be exhausted from the long journey. The last thing they would like to do is look up a suitable hotel which is in accordance with their preferences and expectations. Besides that, the majority of the hotels have been rated 3 stars. This means that they will be providing you with all-out comfort. The different styles of rooms cater to differing levels of comfort and costs. It also gives you the privacy to bask in your own company or just with your loved ones.
In addition, the hotels also provide you with hospitality which exceeds your expectations. Besides housing saunas and Jacuzzis, they also provide day tours for those looking to explore the beauty of Puerto Princesa City.
A luxury stay at Dos Palmas
Dos Palmas Island is considered to be the most exotic amongst all the other islands in Palawan. Therefore, it is no wonder that it has a private and high-end resort by the name of Dos Palmas Resort and Spa. This resort, which sprawls over a large area, is equipped fully with all the amenities and facilities that a traveler is looking for and more. It provides its guests with sufficient privacy to explore the island on the own.
Regardless of whether you are on a family vacation or a romantic getaway with your beloved, this resort has all that it requires to cater to your varying needs. For children, there is a separate playground as well as a swimming pool. After all, kids also deserve to be pampered and get some VIP treatment.
The spa in this resort is truly out of the world. By being located within a grouping of trees, it immediately transports you to an entirely different location. The masseurs, with their experienced hands, weave their magic while you indulge in the calm and serenity all around you. The spa uses herbal preparations and natural oils to ensure that you get the best spa session of your lifetime. Other than that, it also includes a meditation pool, sauna and steam rooms, and also a foot spa pavilion under the open skies.
The other services which are provided by Dos Palmas Resort and Spa are as follows:
Kayaking in the oceans
Equipment for snorkeling
Babysitting services and day care centers
Facility of booking airline tickets and also reconfirming