Do-It-Yourself Honda Bay Island Hopping, Puerto Princesa Palawan
A few days before our previous trip to Puerto Princesa Palawan, our itinerary was set. We have chosen Island Hopping than going to the Underground River because my husband and I were afraid that my son will not appreciate it because it’s dark inside.
This is our supposed to be itinerary:
Day 1 – Arrival and chill in Blue Palawan then Iwahig Firefly watching (with dinner)
Day 2 – Butterfly Garden then Honda Bay (Island-hopping & Splash House)
Day 3 – Half-day city tour (with Mitra Ranch), return to Manila
After Day 1, our itinerary got changed, we did the city tour and then visited the Splash House in the afternoon. The island hopping was removed in our itinerary because of lack of time. Usually, island hopping is spent for a whole day.
After we have visited the Splash House which by the way now part of the Honda Bay island hopping destinations, my husband and I decided to pursue our Island Hopping adventure even for just 2-3 hours before our flight back to Manila at 1PM. It’s impossible for some, but we were eager to do it because we don’t know when we will have another chance to go back to this beautiful place.
We asked the boatman who brought us to Splash House if he could pick us up the next day for 7am. He agreed and positioned his boat on the wharf that noon. We also arranged a tricycle to pick us up at the hotel at 6 am. Our tricycle driver arrived at 6:30am and since Blue Palawan is just 15-30 minutes away from the Wharf, we arrived at exactly 7 am.
Unfortunately, the boat man who we talked to cannot be found when we arrived, and because we were in a rush, we decided to just pick another boat and paid P1,300 at the Honda Bay Information Center.
There were only 3 of us on the boat and we have 2 boatmen. They asked us where do we want to go and we just told them that we needed to go back at 10 am so if they can tour us to 3 nearest islands then it would be great.
Here are the 3 islands that we have visited:
STARFISH ISLAND – I am glad that we are early to do this trip because we were the first one to land on the island and had it all for ourselves. Starfish Island is the smallest island that we have visited.
They said that it was named Starfish island because there are a lot of starfishes on the water. The entrance fee is P50 per head.
LuLi ISLAND– LUlubog- LIlitaw is where the name of this island came from.
Ren was able to go swimming here.
When we arrived, there were a few guests already. The sands are finer here compared to Starfish island. While swimming, Ren saw a few fishes. He enjoyed it so much. He didn’t even want to go out of the water. But since we were in a rush, we just stayed for 30 minutes here. The entrance fee here is P60 per head.
COWRIE ISLAND– This was our last stop and it was the biggest island from all the other islands that we have visited.
It got it’s name from a mollusk called “cowrie”. I heard that those who got the tour ate here during lunch time and that they served really yummy dishes.
Since it’s the biggest island, there are a lot of activities you can do here. There are cottages, chairs that you can rent and there’s even a spa area for massage. I think it’s like a mini Boracay.
The sands are finer here among the three islands that we have visited, so Ren and I had fun playing on the sands. We paid P75 per head on this island.
Noel and I decided not to swim, so we just let Ren have all the fun.
We finished our island hopping at around 10 am.
For us, we prefer a DIY Honda Bay Island Hopping tour because you got the boat all for yourself. You can go anytime you want. If you have other people with you, you have to wait for them right?
During this trip that Noel and I observed how Palawaneos treat tourists. Based on our experience, all the people we have met here were surprisingly kind. It’s a very different treatment from the other places that we have visited where the locals look at you like an ATM machine who dispense money in every move.
As I have mentioned I ask for a boatman to reserve us his boat but failed to be on the spot when we arrived so we got another boat. He arrived when we were already on the another boat and he said it’s okay. It was surprising because others will get mad for the inconvenience we have brought to them. I promised him that when we go back I’ll just pay him for the inconvenience we’ve done. Upon our arrival and I saw him, I gave him the money but he refused to get it. He said that I don’t need to worry because it was his fault for not being at the area. We know that they don’t have much and he needed the money even how small or big it was, but we were surprised that he refused to get it anyway.
These gestures made us want to go back to Palawan again and be with these people. I heard that the boatmen only receives a little amount (as low as 10%) from the P1,300 trip which I think they don’t deserve.
Here was the breakdown of our DIY Honda Bay Island Hopping trip (for 3 persons)
Tricycle Rent (to and from the hotel) – P300.00
Boat Rental – P1,300.00
Terminal Fee – P 9.00
Environmental Fee- P120.00
Starfish Island Entrance Fee- P150.00
LuLi Island Entrance Fee- P180.00
Cowrie Island Entrance Fee- P225.00
Total Expenses= P2,284.00 or P761.00 per head (tours are usually P1,300 per head)
I heard that the Pandan Island is a great place to visit too. I really hope we can go back to this place soon to check out the other islands including the Dos Palmas resort 🙂