Sunday, April 25, 2010

Island Hopping at Honda Bay

The kids and I have gone island hopping at Honda Bay thrice, and each time, it is a slightly different experience. 

The first time was in May 2009 with a couple of close relatives.  We had a licensed tour guide with us and he brought us to almost all the islands.  There was Bat Island, where fruit bats flock around in the afternoons.  He pointed out Luli Island, named as such because during high tide, it seems to sink into the water - "lumulubog, lumilitaw" (sinking, surfacing).

We had lunch in Pandan Island, where we had fresh fish, green mango salad, grilled eggplant and okra with shrimp paste and fresh lobster grilled over an open charcoal fire.  We even had one wrapped in banana leaves to take home.  Our guide brought the kids and I to the fish feeding area and before I realized it, the water was dark blue!  I panicked momentarily and hurriedly asked the guide to tow us back!

We also went to Starfish Island, but did not get to try the restaurant there.

We enjoyed Snake Island the most.  It is named such because it is shaped like a snake.

Here is Nacho enjoying the sea.

And the two, playing in the sand...

The second time we went was Christmas Day last year. Rene's parents, siblings and nephew came over.  We skipped all the other islands and just went straight to Snake Island, where there is a good reef for snorkeling.

This is what greeted us when we alighted from our banca. 

There were huts that sold fresh buko (young coconut) juice, Coke, Sprite, Minute Maid, some toiletries and some other items.

photo by M.C.S.

There was a hut where you could have fresh seafood grilled. 

photo by M.C.S.

We ate our inihaw na liempo, inihaw na talakitok, sinigang na talakitok (not in picture) lunch with our fingers,

photo by M.C.S.

...drank Fresh buko (young coconut) juice

and had Halo-halo for dessert.

 photo by M.C.S.

There was good snorkeling in 3 to 4 feet of water.

There were many other things to see aside from the fish underwater.   Here is the tagak that "gave" Nacho a feather...

photo by M.C.S.

...and the tracks that he left...

 Some mangroves...

The long stretch of the sandbar...

 Nacho's wooden paddle...

We rode the boat to go back at nearly sundown...

...but stopped by Pambato Reef for a bit for some coral reef sightseeing. Pambato daw nila ito sa Tubataha Reef.  A fisherman discovered this coral reef by accident when his hook got caught in one of the corals.  He was amazed at how the untouched beauty of this reef existed in the middle of busy Honda Bay, where a lot of corals were already damaged by dynamite fishing.  A local Philippine Network, ABS-CBN, featured this in their environmental program, "Dalub-Karagatan".  This project aimed to educate people about the ecosystem of corals.  The network sponsored the building of a floating house with a sea turtle shaped roof and anchored it to the site.  

We left the reef at sunset.

Last weekend was our third visit, and we also went straight to Snake Island. We were 5 adults and 11 kids!
The waters were a bit rough because of the habagat (Southwesterly wind) and we could not go to Pandan Island, nor Starfish Island .

The boatmen said it was just normal for this season.  See their calm faces below.

Snake Island was still as beautiful as ever.

There were more interesting sights to see this time around, like this small hut.

We saw a boat was docked on the sandbar on our walk to the tip,

On our way back, we noticed that it drifted away a bit as the tide started to come in.

We snorkeled around, and there were a few people who were stung by jellyfish, which were in season.  The boatman said that they bring lots of vinegar to relieve the stings.  He and the other boatmen snorkeled around us to catch any jellyfish that might sting us.

For lunch we had fresh grilled taningue and labahita, which were very tender and moist.  Choices were limited for the day.  They ran out of vegetables and other seafood early.  I was happy with one small fish and flaked the it, and popped the tender white meat into my mouth!  Yum!

We also went to Pambato Reef and the kids were brave enough to sit on the edge, with their feet hanging, feeding the fish.

Distance from the downtown Puerto Princesa to Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua is 12 kilometers, where there is a wharf with a tourist office and facilitates the renting of boats.  Book an outrigger boat for the whole day for P250 per person.  Children who are 2 years old and below are free. There are minimal entrance fees in the islands, except Snake Island, as it is owned by the government.

There are no bathrooms, so bring wet wipes and toilet paper.

Bring plastic bags, as you have to bring your trash with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment