Honda Bay Tour (Part 1): A Big Disappointment at Starfish Island

My Beloved Wife Lei likes going to the beach. During our last vacation to Davao, she planned (with her sister) a side trip to Samal Island. When it was announced that their company outing will be at a beach in Batangas, she immediately told me that she wanted to go, as in really (really) wanted go. Knowing that Lei is a certified beach person, I chose the Honda Bay Tour over the Underground River Tour when I booked our travel package in Cash Cash Pinoy.

The Honda Bay Tour allows us to visit many islands and I think that the more islands that we visit, the more beaches that we will see (the more happy that Lei will be (and as some people say: happy wife = happy life)).

Honda Bay is big body of water north of Puerto Princesa. The bay is not named after the car manufacturer Honda or the Street Fighter E. Honda. Its name actually came from the Spanish word “hondo” which means “deep”. This means that we can also Honda Bay as “Deep Bay”.

After our hearty breakfast at Balay Inato, our tour guide Roger came to pick us up. We joined a group other island hoppers composed of a Pinoy family of 7 and two ladies from USA. Our destination is the wharf at Barangay Sta. Lourdes.

Aquatic Gears: the most FAIL snorkel and booties rental shop in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

We made a short stop over at Aquatic Gears in Brgy. Tagburos, where we rented snorkeling masks (150 pesos each) and booties (150 pesos per pair). Since my camera is not waterproof, I also rented a sealed camera case for 250 pesos.

Our booties

We reached Sta. Lourdes wharf few minutes before 8AM. Since we’re in packaged tour, we didn’t need to queue and to haggle with boatmen. Roger did all of those things, including the bureaucratic rituals (paying the terminal fee, etc.) so it was all hassle free for us.

Our outrigger boat for the Honda Bay tour (Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

I read somewhere that it is better to go to Sta. Lourdes wharf to avoid the long lines, especially if you are doing a do-it-yourself (DIY) Honda Bay Tour. Travel on a Shoestring said that cut-off time at the wharf is 2PM so it is really good if you start your tour in the early morning.

Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The sea was calm so our boat trip was uneventful. This is perfect for Lei because she is not accustomed to sea travel. A little pounding of waves is enough to make her shriek.

An island in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

It is good to visit Palawan before the start of the typhoon season. Presence of typhoon anywhere in the Philippines brings bad weather to Puerto Princesa. Bad weather means cancellation of boat tours.

After around 30 minutes, we finally reached the farthest island in our itinerary. This island is the Starfish Island.

Starfish Island of Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

I believe that this island was named because of the starfish that are abundant in the area. This island sits on the coral reef so it’s a perfect place for snorkeling. Unfortunately, we had to pass through some difficulties before we can meet Nemo and his friends. In fact, we fought monsters before we could snorkel.

My daring escape from Honda Bay's Giant Clam
That's me, trying to escape the giant clam.

While other island hoppers are still fighting their monsters, Lei and I did a little tour of our own.

Guard House at Starfish Island, Honda Bay

There is nothing much to shout about Starfish Island. It has fine sands, which is typical of the islands in Honda Bay. The place is under-developed and has shrubs and trees in the center. I think that the government does not allow commercial developments on the island to preserve the beauty of Honda Bay.

Beach of Starfish Island, Honda Bay

The beauty of Starfish Island is not on the island itself but in its seas. We were stunned by the coral reefs and fishes darting around the place. Our knowledgeable boatman told us the name of the fishes and corals that we saw.

It felt so good to be surrounded by fishes. I am so glad because such beauty still exists in the Philippines.

Our joy turned into disappointment because of one person who didn’t do his job well. I’m referring to that person in Aquatic Gears who made a lousy job in sealing my camera. The paper that was meant to hold the camera in place actually blocked the lens.

My fail underwater shot in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Great job Aquatic Gears. Great job.

I was so disappointed and angry at the same time that it spoiled our happy moments in Starfish Island. Violent thoughts ran in my mind and I felt myself turning into Incredible Hulk. Thank God that I realized that anger will not do anything good, so I calmed down and just enjoyed the whole tour.

More visitors to Starfish Island, Honda Bay

We didn’t stay long in Starfish Island because we still had other islands to visit. We really had a good time snorkeling the sea. We enjoyed snorkeling so much that we think of going to El Nido in the future. Well, I guess, we should buy a waterproof camera so will not experience another disappointment like what we experienced in Starfish Island.


Read more of our adventures in Honda Bay:

Honda Bay Tour (Part 2): Killing Time at Luli Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 3): Finale in Cowrie Island

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  1. Awwwww....too bad about the underwater pics. But it's ok. Beautiful scenic views all round. Love that one of you and the giant clam - you blurred it on purpose, I guess?

    1. I didn't blurred. Its already blurred when the photo was taken. I think the camera automatically went to "macro" when the photo was taken.


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