Tag Archives: Things to do in Palawan

Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Honda Bay: Tips and Infos

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! 🙂

PARADISE in Honda Bay, Palawan

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.

Why is it that when I look at this picture, I feel lonely… 😦 hmmm…

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.

The boat we used for our island hopping adventure

OTHER TIPS:

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.

Snorkeling gears and swimming shoes

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.

The fish and coral sanctuary

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HAPPY WANDERING! 🙂

Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Mitra Ranch–Simply Breathtaking!

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.

The sign that says Sta. Monica Ranch
A place with cows and beautiful scenery

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.

A scenic view… this looks like as if it is painted. mountains, trees, grass = wonderful place.

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.

Traversing this uphill road towards the top— it is just a few distance away to a more scenic view 🙂

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.

Breathtaking scenery!
another beautiful view, you can see here the zipline facility

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.

some of the horses in Mitra ranch

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.

beautiful view deck
tables in the view deck of Mitra Ranch

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

2. If commuting, ride an “Irawan” jeep from Rizal St. and tell the driver to drop you off the intersection going to Baker’s Mill / Mitra’s Ranch (P7.50 fare). From the intersection, ride a tricycle going to Mitra’s Rangce (P15 fare)  (From Puerto Princesa Tourism Office)
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HAPPY WANDERING!

Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Crocodile Farm

Puerto Princesa houses the infamous Underground River which is listed not only as a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE but also a member of the NEW 7 WONDERS OF NATURE. However, we should not forget that Puerto Princesa is a big city, and as such it houses a lot of tourist attractions aside from the UR…. and one of them is the Crocodile Farm.

During my 1st day in Palawan, me, my mom and her friends, went directly to Puerto Princesa’s Crocodile Farm where a lot of crocodiles, deemed to be endangered, were kept and fed until they are able to sustain themselves.

The croc in crocodile farm. If only crocodiles are this friendly 🙂

We rented a multicab, since the van that my mom’s friend contacted was brought to the repair shop. The multicab rental is for P1400.00 or $32 USD. we are 14 persons all in all carried by the little multicab– believe me, it wasn’t a nice experience!! 

The way to the crocodile farm is a smooth to bumpy ride. There are roads that are still under construction, so having a multicab or tricycle to get you there is totally not a good idea. Due to the dusty road and of course the summer heat that you’ll be suffering. But, for a budget traveler, these kinds of problems are not considered as problems at all. In Filipino, Tiis tiis lang… We budget travelers can do this, however for some, these situations are far from perfect, so hiring an airconditioned van will be better.

the roads going to the crocodile farm are still under construction.. so COVER YOUR NOSE! 🙂
BUT, IT HAS STILL A PICTURESQUE VIEW!

The farm is not only a crocodile haven where you can see crocodiles and crocodiles alone…. Actually, it is also a nature park where you can see other endangered species that are currently enclosed in a cage but will be released as soon as they are capable of surviving in the wild.

the signage upon entering the crocodile farm
Nature Park within the Crocodile farm grounds

Upon paying P40.00 per person for the entrance fee, the first thing you will see is a crocodile skin which somehow tells you that “I can be your purse, wallet or even your shoes!” oooppss.. environmentalist/ or PETA members might kill me if they read this.. harhar! The tour guide in the crocodile farm was the one to suggest that usually the skin of this crocodiles are used for purses, shoes and other luxury items since they are very durable. But since, crocodiles are “doomed” to extinct if not taken care of, these kind of practices are being banned by laws and environmental organizations. So good bye croc leather bags! 🙂

Crocodile skin

You can also see a collection of bones of a sperm whale here, the guide said that once upon a time a sperm whale visited the waters of Palawan and they found its bones and put it here for display. (Honestly, I don’t even know what is a sperm whale and its difference to other kind of whales! haha)

the sperm whale’s bones

We passed-by a very informative hallway where you can see frames of pictures about other animals found in Puerto princesa.

Hallway towards the crocodiles 🙂 yikes!

and next stop is the hatchling house where 2-6 year old crocodiles are being bred. Honestly, I didn’t think that they are cute, they are far from cute, they look scary! 🙂 The guide told us not to put our fingers or any parts of a body near the small crocodiles or even the big ones, as these “babies” are practiced that whatever falls near them or touch them ARE FOOD!  I didn’t want to go home fingerless so I avoided putting my lenses in a close range.

the hatchling house in crocodile farm in palawan

There are a lot of crocodiles here, from saltwater crocodiles to freshwater ones. I realized that the saltwater crocs are bigger than the freshwater ones especially when they are 3-6 years old. And mind you, they grow old just like the humans do, they take years before they truly mature 🙂

After skimming through the hatchling house, we went to where the bigger crocodiles can be found. We crossed a metal bridge and under that bridge are where your friendly animals are staying. And remember the phrase: anything that falls are always considered food.  Remember you are crossing a bridge here! and below you are your friendly and cuddly animals.. Just think about Final Destination!  😀 

While walking in that bridge I thought of Final Destination. My imagination ran wild, as if the bridge will break leaving me, my mom and her friends food for the hapless crocodiles…  I don’t want it to happen because really this place scares the hell out of me especially when I saw a crocodile opened its mouth! But it’s a nice experience all together.

The Hungry (?) Crocodile 🙂

After the crocodile encounter, we realized that the show hasn’t ended yet, there is still a nature park. My mom and I, adventurers at heart, left the others who are already tired of walking, and went to explore the nature park.

path towards the nature park

There are cages meant for birds, there are talking mynah, parrots, serpent eagle and others. But I failed to take good pictures since my dslr died on me.

There is also this cute cat named as Palawan bear cat. Isn’t he adorable? If only I can touch him, I will! except for the warning that they are not to be touched, they are somehow ready to attack!

Look at that fluffy bear cat! It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!!! 🙂
ooohhh… 🙂
Can you see the other one hidden in the treehouse?
Bird. Only pic I took since my cam died on me 😦

You can also buy souvenirs there, as told by my mom’s colleagues, the price here are lower than buying anywhere in Puerto Princesa– but that’s just hearsay.. I don’t know the real prices since I didn’t buy any souvenir except for the chocolates I bought near the Underground River.

After the long walk in the Nature Park, you can take your pictures with the small/baby crocodiles for a small fee. I haven’t tried it because I’m quite scared. A friend of mine said that they smell like fish– and I don’t want to smell like fish so I didn’t try it!– naah, I’m just scared!

After that we went to Mitra Ranch 🙂

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