Our 2nd day in Puerto Princesa started when a Van from Pasyar Palawan fetched us about 8am at Microtel Hotel. The only seats available in the van are for the four of us, I guess the P1100 per pax fee for the Honda Bay Island Hopping isn’t exclusive to us this time. Anyways, the fee covers a day of island hopping including our lunch so I guess I don’t mind sharing.
It took only 15-20minutes to reach the Honda Bay Tourist Center. I liked that there is only 1 place to go to when one wants to Island Hop at Honda Bay. That means there are standard rates for the boats and guides. All visitors need to register and of course are urged to buy some bread for ‘fish feeding’ from the nearby stalls.
The first stop on our tour at Honda bay is the Pambato Reef which is about 30 minutes from the coast. We’ve heard so much about this place from the resto owner at Microtel and I can say it didn’t disappoint. At Pambato Reef, there are only platforms and bamboo walking bridges where boats dock and guest can start jumping to the water. But one requirement for guests is they have to wear a life-vest while on this reef.
It was a bit of discomfort since I can’t move around with a vest. For a few moments I did remove the vest and try to go down a bit (yes don’t tell anyone). As for the reef, it’s one of the richer and beautiful snorkeling spots I’ve been to. There are lots of corals and also fishes here. Reminds me of Apo Reef in Mindoro which is on top of my list when it comes to snorkeling. I think I enjoyed snorkeling here more than El Nido. I must commend the strict implementation of restricting dynamite fishing here kept most of the reefs intact.
Snake Island was our lunch stop for the day. Ignoring the numerous people donning the same neon orange vest on the beach, Snake Island is actually very nice. It has an elongated 3km long shoreline during low tide, attributing to its name and a few mangrove growths inside. People can camp here but has to bring their own tents and food. As for snorkeling, it’s actually very good with lots of fishes which seem to be accustomed to people feeding them already. And you can remove your life-vest if you want to as well.
We took some time at Snake Island, enjoying the sumptuous lunch prepared for us, the waters and also getting to know our companions. Then we started our way to Pandan Island, our last stop. I didn’t take many photos on this island as I just wanted to have a down time there. Pandan Island is already full blown public resorts with cottages, buko sellers, outdoor massages and most importantly, clean water to wash up the salty grime.
A light rain fell before we left Pandan Island. But it didn’t matter as it was already mid afternoon and we have enjoyed this island hopping escape for the day. I think I’m loving Palawan a lot more these days seeing these different facets and characteristics each region has to offer.
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Join our Backpack Photography Photo Tours and Workshops for early 2011. Banaue Photography 101 for beginners on February, Bewitching Siquijor Photo Tour on March 2011 and Batanes Island Hopping in April 2011
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.