One fine weekend, my friends and I decided to head to Puerto Prinsesa for some beach loving and island hopping. With nothing but the sun, sand, and sea, and of course, the company of good friends and sinfully delicious food – the weekend was all we had hoped for and more!
Table of contents
Where we stayed
What I liked about the property:
- Staff and owner were very nice! They went out of their way to make us feel welcome and they happily met all of our demands (e.g. additional towel for beach trip)
- Open space/area outside the rooms, which was extremely conducive for friendly hang-outs at night. Plus there’s a grill which you can use, in case you want to bring back some meat and fish from the wet market
- Location: It’s walking distance from the airport (~20-30mins) and nearer to the beaches vs if you stay in the city center
What I disliked about the property:
- Mosquitoes!!! The open area is super chill, but dayum, mosquitoes feast on you. Make sure to slater on lots of mosquito repellents before you brave the open area
- Weak WiFi signal: To be fair, I can never be sure if this was a problem with the property or of Puerto Prinsesa (OR THE PHILIPPINES) in general. WiFi was spotty, but serviceable as long as you’re just surfing the net
- Location: I know I said I liked the location, but the con of not staying in the city center is… You have to take a tricycle every time you want to go to the city center (for restaurants, supermarkets, etc)! Tricycles are pretty cheap though (~15 pesos per person). When in doubt, ask your hotel desk / airport desk how much a tricycle will cost to make sure tricycle drivers don’t “scam” you
Overall, I think I’d stay there again IF I plan to spend majority of my time at the beach or in the hotel chilling, as opposed to checking out the city center
Honda Bay Island Hopping
Start early (especially if it’s peak season), to make sure you don’t run out of boats! From your hotel to Honda Bay wharf, it should take ~20-45 minutes, either via tricycle (~400-500 pesos one-way) or van (~1.7 pesos round trip). In our case, the van was cheaper AND more comfortable since we were a group of 6, and would’ve needed two tricycles (total cost of ~1.6-2k for tricycle)
On your way to the wharf, you can ask your driver to stop by Panz Mask and Snorkeling Shop to rent some gear (e.g. for snorkeling, free-diving, waterproof camera casings). As we were just heading to the beach for some fun, we skipped this!
Onwards to the wharf!
WOW. What a difference a few year makes! I remember when I first went Honda Bay Island Hopping, you’d just go directly to the beach and haggle with boatmen. Nowadays, everything is super legitimate – there’s a large tourist assistance center, a Philippine Coast Guard office, and a waiting area for those waiting for their boats / van pick ups! But best of all, the cost of the boats + all incidentals are clearly laid out for travelers to see, so good bye scams (but also goodbye haggling deals)!
In our case, we opted to do Luli Island (to chill), Pandad Island (for buffet lunch – so no need to pack your own food), and Inflatable Island (as a last stop!). Note that you pay for the boat, and island entrance fees separately
This beach is a hidden gem, and I’m worried that by blogging about it, more and more tourists will go which will fundamentally change this idyllic beach area #rant
Having said that, good things should not be kept hidden either, to my eternal chagrin, so here I am sharing this white sandy beach with the rest of the world!
Nagtabon Beach is ~45-60 minutes from the Puerto Prinsesa City Center, but fret not, the road’s paved and it’s a nice drive. Again in this case, we hired a van for ~PHP 2k round-trip (where essentially the driver stayed the whole day with us, and also helped grill our food!) For both days, hotel staff helped set up our transport 🙂
On our way to the beach, we dropped by the wet market to buy liempo (pork) and rice, which our driver helped grill by the beach! YUM! You can also buy cooked rice there
Once we reached the beach, we rented a cottage and chilled by the beach, enjoyed the waves, and swam a bit. What a perfect way to end a great trip!