I’ve been waiting for the Honda Bay tour because, of course, it concerns the beach! Same as yesterday, we were picked up by the guesthouse at around 7am, but it was better because we only had two companions with us — a couple from Makati who went on a vacation away from our kids. On our way to the port, we stopped by a rental place for snorkeling gears. I even rented a case for my digital camera and it was not exactly cheap.
The drive going to the port was around 30 minutes, and we could not be more thankful of the perfect, cloudless skies because it has been raining since we had arrived the other day. The port was already packed with local and foreign tourists waiting to be transported to the islands. After a quick group photo, we already embarked the boat that will take us to Starfish Island.
If I’m not mistaken, we were the first tourists to arrive in the island. We were led by the guide to our designated cottage, and after dropping off our things, we went to have our pictures taken by the local guides in the island. They have been talking of ‘trick shots’ for the past five minutes, and it could not have been clearer what it was until I saw a row of usual items lined up by the beach. It was really fun because our moms were very happy to have their pictures taken, but after I have seen the photos back in the guesthouse, I have realized that I should have turned the macro function off.
There was this small mangrove ‘forest’ (or should it be ‘woods’, given its size) in Starfish Island, which gave me the creeps because I can’t take the image of sea snakes lurking by the branches. Snakes on land are already too much to handle, but sea snakes pose greater danger because, as far as I know, they have more lethal venom. I was paranoid that they won’t be able to rush me back to Puerto Princesa should I get bitten. LOL Same old morbid me!
The last time Mama went to the beach was about two years ago in Kota Kinabalu. I was really happy that she was able to go swimming again and she looked extremely happy floating by the water. =D Around 11 o’clock, more tourists arrived in the island and most of them went on snorkeling as well. We also had our picnic lunch there prepared for us, composed of barbecued meat, mangoes, veggies, etc. We were to leave the island about 30 minutes after eating, so as to maximize the visit to the next one.
The most peculiar island we have visited in the trip was Luli Island. Its name was a portmanteau of the Filipino words ‘lulubog’ and ‘lilitaw’, given that the island gets submerges underwater during high tide. My morbidity in the island was not due to sea snakes, but the threat of tsunami! I remember analyzing how affected we would be if a tsunami were to hit. Tsunamis are usually more destructive on land because the rushing water slows down due to the friction of the beach. But I thought that maybe the effects would be less detrimental to us because we were virtually in the middle of the open seas, unlike if we were by the edge of the Palawan Island itself. =D
Anyway, it was mind-boggling to see the island from afar because the houses looked like they were floating on water! They do not have cottages there but you can use the space on the verandas — except for one private house owned by who-knows-who. We just chose a dry spot to leave our things and tried the shallow waters.
There was a floating raft a couple of yards from there island, where the waters had lots and lots of fish waiting to be fed. I think they were so used to people feeding them that even if you still haven’t brought out your bread, they would already gather around you. You guys need to look for your own food! LOL The water here was quite deep and I hazard a guess that it was about a storey and a half. JB was courageous enough to dry diving a bit, but Anne was extremely reluctant.
After about 45 minutes, I could finally see the sand bar stretching for a couple of meters finally peeking from the water. It must be slowly becoming low tide and and Luli was finally entering its ‘lilitaw’ phase. =D
To get the most out of our trip, we left Luli Island to visit Cowrie Island. Out of all the three, it was the busiest and had the most number of people. You arrive on one side of the island, and swim at the other side. There were also lots of picnic tables to place your things. All six of us head to the waters and just asked the two people with us from the same boat to look after our things. The lady has already taken a shower of fresh water and she was already putting on foundation and mascara. She looked like she was ready to party for the night!
The weather was acting up a bit, though, and we noticed that from afar, the clouds looked foreboding. We had a good one hour before we leave the island and I tried being buried in the sand. For more than twenty years that I have been going to the beach, I have never tried doing such. It was a bad call, though, because after getting out of the sand, my whole body felt like it was on fire! I was red all over and I ran to the water just to cool myself down. Never again.
The tour ended at around 3:30 PM and when were already by the boat going back to Puerto Princesa Port, it began raining! I initially thought that it was short tour because we were to end around 3 PM. But looking back, I was already so tired swimming that I almost fell asleep during the boat ride. We also returned the snorkeling equipment we have rented earlier that day. I did not maximize the use of the digital camera with the waterproof case because I did not have lots of good photos underwater as the flash looked deliberately covered.
The tour guide drove us directly back to our guesthouse, where we spent a good hour resting. We were also watching the news and found out that Honda Bay currently has red tide! O_O I suddenly remembered the seafood feast we had the night before, and the lunch we have eaten earlier that day!