Revisiting Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
This is rather a long overdue post. So sorry travelistas! Been balancing many hats for the past few months and thank god for long weekends, I was able to catch up.
Yearly, I see to it to organize an out of town trip for my whole family, including my mom, aunt, brother, husband, and Akisha. Two years ago, it was in Bohol. Last year, it was Boracay. This year, it was the final frontier -- Palawan.
Of course, I never go to Puerto Princesa, Palawan without seeking the help of my dear friend Charisse of La Tiara Tours. Since time immemorial, she's the one handling our tours each time we were in Puerto Princesa or El Nido. For this trip, since we were with the not-so-young set, I decided to just tour them around the city and Honda Bay.
La Tiara's whole day Honda Bay island hopping package is priced at Php 1,350 including lunch, but for those who would rather try it DIY style, here's a step by step guide:
1. Rent a tricycle or van to Sta. Lourdes Wharf (about 20-30 minutes from the city proper). Price usually starts at Php 300 for a tricycle that can fit up to five pax, and Php 1,300 for a van that can fit around 10-12 pax.
2. At the wharf, the driver will assist you in getting a boat and paying the fees. Sta. Lourdes Wharf is one of the most organized wharves I've been to. Also, prices of boat rentals and entrance fees are standard so you don't have to roam around haggling for the best price.
3. Choose a boat that will suit your needs. You have two options: three-cylinder engine or four-cylinder engine. I asked them what's the difference and the lady at the counter said the four-cylinder boat is faster and can better withstand rough seas than the three-cylinder. Hmm, for some reason, I was actually not convinced. We got the three-cylinder engine. Here are the rates:
Three-cylinder engine boat (island hopping in any three islands) - Php 1,300 for six pax, additional pax is Php 216.67.
Four-cylinder engine boat (island hopping in any three islands) - Php 1,500 for six pax, additional pax is Php 250.
Entrance fees are as follows:
Pandan Island - Php 125
Luli Island - Php 60
Cowrie Island - Php 75 (there is a booth at the wharf where you can pay your fees at this resort)
Pambato Reef - Php 50 (closed during our visit)
Starfish Island - Php 50
We opted to go to Luli Island, Starfish Island, and Pandan Island since we haven't been to the first two islands yet. During our last trip in Puerto Princesa way back 2010, we explored Pandan Island, Snake Island (now closed to the public), and Pambato Reef.
4. Pay the other fees, as follows:
Environmental fee - Php 40/pax
Terminal fee - Php 3/pax
Vehicle fee (for your van) - Php 12/vehicle
5. Proceed to your assigned boat, wear your lifevest and enjoy the views!
Note: If you're doing it DIY-style, you should bring your own lunch, or you can eat at the restaurant of Pandan Island (prices are overrated though).
From the wharf, we cruised towards our first destination: Luli Island. The name of the island was coined after "lulubog-lilitaw" a Filipino word that means the island sinks at high tide and shows up at low tide. Way back 2010, the island was still at its bare form. Now, three years after, development on the island is in full swing.
|The reception at Luli Island|
|The marine sanctuary|
|A kayak for rent at Luli Island|
|At the other end is where the plunge board is|
|Approaching Pandan Island|
Upon arrival, we paid the necessary fees at the restaurant (Php 125/pax entrance and Php 600 for the cottage). Good thing, my aunt, who is a senior citizen, was able to haggle the price and make her entrance fee free of charge. Mind you, if I remember it right, entrance fee to this island three years ago was only Php 50/pax.
|Rates at Pandan Island|
|The beachfront at Pandan Island|
|Cottage @Php 600|
|Umbrellas with tables and chairs at Php 400|
|The beach again|
|Beach beds by the shore|
|A coral from down under|
La Tiara Tours
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