Puerto Princesa, Palawan is popular for its gorgeous beaches, so one fun way to spend a day in Puerto Princesa is to board a boat from Honda Bay pier and hop from one island to another. Island hopping tours are available from tour operators, but tourists can also opt to hire tricycles to bring them to Honda Bay. Sometimes, the best tour guides are tricycle drivers. It’s best to start island hopping very early in the morning to see the sun rise from the horizon, and also to have more time exploring more islands.
From a tour operator, island hopping tours cost around 1,100 pesos. This is inclusive of lunch and air-conditioned van transport. We chose to go the rugged and inexpensive way, so we hired tricycles instead. Our tricycle driver/guide took us to a public market on our way to Honda Bay.
We bought our own food from the market. Fish prices in Manila are more than double the prices in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. We bought a big fish, whose name I can barely recall, but was highly recommended by the people there.
At the Honda Bay pier, we paid the island hopping tour fee of 200 pesos per person. The boat crew took care of the rest, including preparing the fish and other food we bought from the market.
The boat took us to a beautiful island called Luli Island. During high tide, the Luli Island gets submerged and only the house and the trees are visible, but at low tide, the island seems to re-appear. So they call it Luli, short for lulubog-lilitaw (sinking- rising). Island hoppers who wish to explore and enjoy Luli are charged a small additional fee. We could have stayed on Luli. It was such a scenic island, but we didn’t have enough time since we started the tour a bit late in the morning. We had to skip it and went to the next island in the itinerary – Starfish Island.
Starfish Island is named thus for the many starfish that live in the area. It would be quite educational for children to see that real starfish do not look like Patrick Star. My group had a blast doing the camera trick with the starfish.
On Starfish Island, we had lunch consisting of grilled fish, sinigang, pork barbeque, prepared by the boat crew. Not 5-star cooking, but it was very pleasant dining by the beach, so we enjoyed it much. The group also enjoyed swimming and snorkeling in the waters. Guests can borrow small boats from the island caretaker.
Snake Island is perfect for snorkeling. Visitors can feed the fishes with pieces of bread. This makes it easier to observe the different types of fish species present there.
Pandan Island was our last stop. Pandan Island earned its name from the pandan trees that grow predominantly on the island. Our boatman-guide told us it’s best to end the island hopping ttrip at Pandan Island since this island has shower stalls. Guests who clamor for extra relaxation may avail of massages offered at Pandan Island.