Honda Bay is one of the most popular and memorable tourist spots in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Looking at the map or an aerial photo of Palawan, you will notice to the east of Puerto Princesa that Honda Bay is a shallowly submerged extension of the island, which means it has a wide area of shallow reefs with white sand beaches that are perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
Palawan is considered the Philippines’ last frontier for its many natural wonders. It is home to amazing white sand beaches including Amanpulo Resort, a luxury beach that has been frequented by the rich and famous, including a few Hollywood stars; Underground River, which is the longest underground river (8.2 km) that may be navigated by tourists, and features tons of strange and breathtaking stalactites, stalagmites and underground chambers; and of course the alluring Honda Bay.
About 12 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa, Honda Bay is a group of small islands lined with fine white sand beaches and clear blue waters that make it perfect for snorkeling, swimming, picnicking and island hopping. The jump-off point is at Sta. Lourdes, Tagbanua. From there, tourists rent small pump boats or motorized canoes for P700 (US$15.90) to visit any of the amazing islands scattered along the bay. Some islands have entrance fees but most are for free.
One of the popular ones is Snake Island(there is also a Snake Island in El Nido). It doesn’t have snakes. It is named Snake Island because this 2-km long island a winding stretch of pristine white sand that looks like a snake. From the air, it looks like a white giant python slithering through the blue sea.
Another island is Starfish Island. This is a private beach, owned by the popular Dos Palmas Beach Resort located elsewhere in Palawan, but the entrance fee is only PHP50 (US$1.13). It is named Starfish Island for the many tiny starfish-shaped shells scattered everywhere. It is also known as Tabuan Island.
One of the most visited islands is Pandan Island. This one is named for the many Pandan trees growing in the area. Pandan Island is nothing less than a tourist’s dream-beach destination: white sandy beach front, crystal clear blue water, palm trees, picturesque landscape, and simply Nature in its finest. The huts and cottages along the beach are just perfect for beach bumming. It could be crowded at times, though. It is also popular as a breeding site for Lapu-lapu fish.
Then there’s Lu-li Island. The name stands for “Lulubog-Lilitaw”, which means the island sinks and rises along with the tide. On high tide, only the houses are visible, and as the tide drops, one can see its amazing sand bar.
In the middle of the Bay is Pambato Reef. There is a designated spot here where pump boats stop and tourists can dive for a swim or snorkel. Good swimmers can dive down and touch the candy-color corals. The spot is also teeming with different species of fish that freely swim among the corals.
Other islands and islets that make Honda Bay popular are the Cannon Island (also known as Cowrie Island), Bat Island, Meara Marina, and Señorita Island