We met Kuya Edwin the day when we were touring the Crocodile Farm. He told us that the price of the van rental with driver going to the Underground River is P3,500.00 which is the uniform price for all van rentals in Puerto Princesa.
He owns a very brand new van. I was amazed on how new it was! There are plastic covers in the seats!!! Haha! Anyway, here is his contact number. 09173335340. Haggle as much as you want! 🙂 He is really kind and he helps you all the way. He suggests places you should visit… and also he is really a very safe driver! He doesn’t speed up that much! He is really careful especially he owns the van being rented, so he is extra careful…
If you will look at his plate number is still not in rainbow colors (well, during the time of our visit), which is usually the color of the legal tourist vans’ plate numbers. He reasoned out that the van has already a pending registration with the tourism office and that he is already an operator ever since. The franchise of his old van will be transfered in this new van, he is just awaiting approval. So no worries about it! And he is Legit because Yannah the Wanderer had already tried and tested his services!!!
Breathtaking— the only term that I can use to describe this island. It has aquamarine/apatite colored waters amidst the cobalt blue sky, it also has the whitest fine sand I have ever seen (whiter than the one in Boracay). It is simply a paradise!
What makes this island special?? There are no buildings made of concrete, just cottages made of wood.. This is the place where you can really savor the beauty of nature.
It is amazingly picturesque! There are also a lot of coconut trees which makes it your dream tropical island.
While looking at this island, I imagine as if I’m a survivor of a shipwreck, and this is the island I choose to be stuck.
I’ll definitely choose this place to relax and chill….
According to our tour guide/boatman, this island has the whitest and finest sand throughout Honda Bay, thus, it is more popular for the visitors than the other islands. Most people choose to stay here to eat their lunch, so during lunch time there are a lot of people…. and it kinda become messier/noisier.
The downside of its popularity is that it is a lot more crowded or noisier than the others.
I might say that I prefer the Starfish Island over this island… because more people spend all their time here, but I don’t blame them since this is the most beautiful amongst the islands… However, I hate the seaweeds that lives in its shallow waters… I just don’t like swimming with those amoeba-like (in terms of movement) weeds :)… anyway, the waters here are shallow, just like in Boracay… in order to reach the deeper part you need to walk at least 3-5 meters, this is good for those who have children, since it is safer for the kids…
Amidst all the cons, I can still say that it’s a relaxing place, since it is a big island, you can find a good and silent spot and CHA DA! You have your little paradise without anyone spoiling it…. you can have your cozy, private space where you can meditate, reminisce or just be emo (emotional) 🙂
The best thing here is the sand! it is indeed white and fine….Actually, the sand here is comparable to Boracay, and I may say that it is whiter! I’ve taken some sand with me by putting it in a bottle of mineral water, and compared to what I got in Boracay, It seems whiter… But, you would only see the difference if you’ll look at it closely….
There are various business establishments in the area– No, not like those in Boracay, concrete stores/hotels etc…– Only small stores that offer foods, drinks, and even massage! This island is more commercialized than the others since it is the top choice of tourists who visits Honda Bay…
There are a lot of cottages for rent, but we weren’t able to get one…all were occupied. However, we found a table with chairs and fortunately for us, they didn’t charge us for that tiny little space beneath a coconut tree…
There are three (3) “paluto” restaurants in the island–As far as I’m aware of. they will cook for you and serve you the freshest seafood available– Which is indeed not only tantalizing to the eyes but also delectable to the taste-buds! I promise you that the food is great!
unfortunately for us, the other restaurants doesn’t want to take our orders anymore since they are already super busy…. poor me, I’m already hungry during that time 😦
Luckily, our boatman found this small store on the end most part of the island, the store is selling crabs. I bought all those crabs for P1500, including rice and the service fee for cooking. Me, my colleague, the boatman and his assistant all dined together…
Aside from the restaurants, there’s a shower place where you can wash your body and change your clothes after hours of swimming and rolling in the sand. It is made of native materials, so it blends well to the tropical island theme… 🙂
After we spent 3 hours here, we went back to the port. By the way, there is an entrance fee of P100.00 per person in this island.
Here are the other pictures I took. I experimented using my DSLR, so, here you go, some are good while some are not (overexposed, not good blending!) I’m an amateur you know! :p
Honda Bay is a cluster of beautiful islands and islets in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The islands here have fine white sand beaches, and cobalt blue waters.
I really recommend that anyone going to Puerto Princesa to visit this place at least once. This is a serene and photogenic place! 🙂
To explore the islets/islands of this bay, one should rent a boat (which is usually provided by the city tourism office) for a price of 1500.00 (depends on the boat size) So basically, this trip is an island hopping adventure 🙂
There are 3 main islands/islets in this bay, namely Pandan Island, Starfish Island and the Snake Island. Although there are more islands in this bay, only the 3 mentioned is open to public. They are named as such because of the existence of Pandan and Starfish in those islands while the snake island is named that way because of it’s long and winding characteristic similar to a snake.
In my visit last April, I was not able to visit the Snake island because it is undergoing beautification However, this would not hamper me in giving and presenting to you the other two beautiful islands of Honda Bay, but first let me tell you the process on how the entire trip came about.
WHEN TO GO HERE?
The Philippines is a sunny place throughout the year however, due to climate change, strong typhoons or heavy rains visits the country a lot more often… The Philippines has only 2 seasons, wet and dry. Dry or summer months starts from March to June or July while wet season starts by August til December. The wet season is where a lot of low pressure areas are formed, However, I can say that it is a game of luck, or a gamble if you want to visit the Philippines during the wet season, since just because it’s called wet season it would rain the whole time… there are only days that it would rain while the rest is sunny…
However, for foreigners who will visit the Philippines (especially for those in the far most corner of earth) I think you need to plan your visit during the summer months, so you will be sure that no rain would ruin your vacation.
HOW TO GET HERE:
Honda Bay is about 20-45 minutes drive from the city center. The mode of transportation from the city center towards Honda Bay Port is by land, you can rent either a tricycle or a van. I opted to rent a tricycle for P500.00 or $11USD. The road is well paved/cemented, so going here by tricycle isn’t a problem. If you decided to rent a van, it will cost at around P1,500-2000.00 (this is the price that was given to us by the van driver we hired going to the underground river). We left the city center at round 6:45 am and arrived in the port at around 7:15.
HOW TO GET A PERMIT:
Upon arriving in the port, you will notice that people are lining up, that line is where you will pay for the boat rental, environmental fee, and where you can get your permit. Unlike the underground river, there is no need to get a prior permit before heading there, so it easier to tour than the latter.
There are 4 simple steps in getting your permit and paying for the fees and these are:
First, you need to line up for the lane stating no.1 and where you will fill up a form and state how many passengers or tourists that are coming with you, you also need to put up their names, you should also know if what type of boat you are going to use, whether it is a 6passenger boat (which is the smallest) which costs P1200.00 while there are 10-12 passenger capacity boats which costs at around P1400-1800.00…
the 2nd step is where you will get your permit and pay for the boat rental fee and in exchange, you will receive the name and number of your boat.
The 3rd step is again filling up a particular form and paying for the environmental fee. The 4th step is waiting for your name to be called and VOILA, you are good to go.
However! before you go anywhere else, you need to buy water, food or rent a snorkeling gear. Food and Water is expensive on the island itself, and it is advisable if you bring them with you at the start of the journey, so if anytime you feel thirsty you have a water/drink with you. But, I suggest that you go grocery shopping while you are still in the metro, since it is cheaper there than buying in the port itself.
As for the snorkeling gear, Part of your itinerary is to visit a snorkeling site with lots of fishes and various corals! Moreover in Pandan and Starfish island, you can snorkel and feed the fishes which is quite interesting because the fishes swarm around you if you give bits and pieces of tasty bread.
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The Sta. Monica Ranch or most commonly known as Mitra Ranch is located uphill of Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa, it is basically a ranch with cows and horses, with vast land and a beautiful view deck. This is owned by the Philippine Senator Ramon Mitra.
You might think that there’s nothing going on in this place, but I should tell you now, that the place has indeed a good location where you can ponder and wonder about your personal life or even allow yourself to be “emo” emotional.
What makes this place different is its location. The location gives you a beautiful view of the sea, the mountains and the city. Sta. Monica offers the most breathtaking view of Palawan. It is a hundred feet above the rest of the city, giving you the nicest view of Puerto Princesa.
The place made me relax, inhale the fresh air, enjoy the very moment where I see green landscape amid blue background.The place is really beautiful because of the view, it is just breathtaking.
Inside the Ranch, you can either 1.) savor the panoramic view 2.) zipline 3.) picture taking with the horses. I just did #1 since I was easily captivated by the beautiful and serene landscape.
What is also appealing in this place is that there is no entrance fee so people can come and go as they like, although you cannot enter the view deck or the house as I call it but you can explore the grounds.
How to get here:
1. I suggest you hire a van/trike/multicab in going here, especially if you are in a group, since you might want to tour this together with the Crocodile Farm and Baker’s Hill
Puerto Princesa is indeed a place blessed by God with natural wonders. From the newly awarded (7 wonders of nature) Underground River, to beautiful fine white sand beaches to scenic limestone mountains.
Everything in Puerto Princesa is beautiful, scenic, indescribable. With a lot of different animals that are rarely seen in other places in the Philippines (like birds that are only seen in Palawan, squirrel–yes, squirrel–not found in Legazpi city nor Manila, monitor lizards, eagles, crocodiles, and other animals.
Puerto Princesa’s tagline being a city in a forest is not a joke nor it is bluff, it is indeed a city within a forest. The city is surrounded with lush greeneries and beautiful landscape. It has also a vast territory, compared to other cities in the Philippines. You won’t be able to tour the city in one day, unlike my hometown, Legazpi City where your 30 minutes of riding the tricycle will be enough, but here a day won’t suffice.
I went to Puerto Princesa last April 18, 2012 to April 21, 2012. I went to the Underground River, Honda Bay, and toured the city itself. It was a wild 4 days in my life, seeing those beautiful landscape made my heart flutter with delight. The only thing I said is “ANG GANDA! (So Beautiful).
I admit that living in Manila (center of the Philippines) made me a city girl where tall buildings, wide roads and night bars are my usual delight, but as I stepped into Palawan (no, as I looked in my window during my flight) I can totally say that Puerto princesa captured my heart.
I want you to join me as I tell you the story how this wonderful city captivated the heart of a city girl like me.