Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Honda Bay, Palawan

Honda Bay is 12km north eastward of Puerto Princesa City which will take around a 30minutes ride. There is a history to the name "Honda" but some things are meant to be heard right from the locals or tour guides themselves so I will not include it here. It is a group of islets with white sands, clear water and definitely a vision of the underwater world. 

I've done so many island hoppings in Boracay, Batangas, Bohol, Bais and to other places but Honda Bay is far the best I've experienced. When we went there, we were praying for sun as Typhoon Ramon was in the country. Though we did not actually get  the sun but we did not get too much rain either. The snorkeling experience is what I fell in love with as we were just getting our instructions from our tour guide on shallow water (hips deep), we were already seeing a lot of school of fish swimming around us. Because of the bad weather, we were able to go to two islands only but was worth it. Though, I wish to be back there where the sun is up and would see more of our friends under the sea.  

Our tour guide brought us to a rental store where you can find snorkeling and swimming gears you may need. It's all there.

Rashguards, wet suits, fins, booties, snorkeling gears etc. - all for rent

Bread to feed the fish for 15 pesos

Underwater camera case for 250 pesos

They also have underwater camera for rent for 600 pesos with batteries

We then headed to Santa Lourdes Wharf to register and where our pump boat is waiting for us

Santa Lourdes Wharf

Register first

The registration area, where our van can park and where our pump boat is waiting

The boat men waiting for their call of duty

We got lucky we had a big boat. You can't choose the boat you want. There was one group of 12 on a smaller boat.

Kuya Berlin Montemayor, our tour guide doing his job

Before anything else, photo ops first hehehe
First Island, is Pandan Island with many Pandan trees

The famous Coconut THREE. Coconut One, Two and Three =)

Kuya Berlin giving us instructions about snorkeling

Sea snake

I caught a pic of Kuya Berlin while he looks for different species to pull out of the water

You can see them on shallow water 

Underwater shot

With a blue starfish

A different kind of crab we found under but we placed it back to where it was found
 Since we got a package tour, lunch was included. We had rice, grilled pork, buttered shrimp, salted egg and tomatoes, grilled fish (Tanigue), ensaladang eggplant (soooo gooood), cucumber salad and bananas. There are locals of  the island who offers crabs, lobsters and other fresh seafoods that they can cook right away.

Our tour mates from Israel eating filipino dishes. They ate everything except rice.

You can buy coconut juice for 25pesos 

I therefore conclude, that in every beach, there will always be cats and dogs waiting at your  cottage
 After lunch we, had to leave because the wind was so strong and we were cold. Since there was no advice from the Coast Guard to go back to the wharf, we headed to the Snake Island. 

Kuya Berlin who was great in guiding us in snorkeling

Snorkeling again. The fishes in Snake Island was a lot bigger than the ones in Pandan Island. 
I decided to walk on my own & this dog was my companion but I did not get too far because  it was getting high tide  & the walkway was thinning down. I decided to go back because I did not inform my guide where I was going & I did not want to be part of his story to his future tourists :)

Kuya Berlin was blowing at the crab so it would get out of the shell

Hermit crab

On our way back to the wharf, this island is about to be invisible because of the rain and high tide. I think this is the Lu-Li Island.

Our video in Pandan Island

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bohol offers Sea urchins

I once saw an old man in Mindoro who went in the sea with a bucket and a knife. After an hour, he came out and was already burping. He said he just had his lunch and had sea urchins. I found him weird.

Year 2011,  as we reached Virgin Island, we were greeted by local vendors who shocked us for a minute or so because we haven't even gotten out from our boat and they were already offering us something. Sea Urchins on their trays and on the other hand a spoon with the Sea urchin roes. They were selling it for 20 pesos each. One vendor was even shoving the spoon near my mouth which I found it a bit rude but I don't think he meant to be. He was just persistent. Some of my travel buddies tried it but I didn't just because of sanitary reasons. I don't know how they cleaned those spoons after shoving it to other people's mouth. Then after our island hopping, our boatman took us to a place in the middle of an open sea where we can swim and snorkel. He got us sea urchins too and this time I was confident and excited to eat it. He opened them with a spoon which was a bit hard for him as it would be easier if it was a knife. The roe or gonad is the edible part. It's orange and some are mustard in color. When you take it out from the shell, it looks like poop hehehe Our boatman was all about sanitary which I liked (we might have the same thinking when we were at the Virgin Island) He made us wash our hands first before he gave it to us. Fresh from the sea and no vinegar added, we all had our rounds. I had two rounds =) It has a taste of alige (crab roe) It wasn't bad and it would be something I would eat again. You can now call me weird too.       

Here's a little information on sea urchins you might be interested at:
They are cousins of Starfish or sea star and sand dollars.
It has different names in different regions. “Maritangtang” in the Ilocos Region, “Kuden kuden” in Bolinao and “Tuyom” in the Visayas. "Tujom" is what they call it in Bohol.
Found in shallow waters
They have tube feet which is essential to breathing and feeding. 
They move using their spines.
The name urchin is an old name for the round spiny hedgehogs that sea urchins resemble
The spines can inflict pain when penetrated in human skin but not dangerous
Nutritional facts: low in calories but high in omega 3 fatty acids (play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. May reduce the risk of heart disease)

The Sea Urchins, the knife and the vinegar

Oooohh....see their roes or gonads?

Looks like poop
The roe

There! I ate it! No vinegar added.
Our super nice na boatman. I forgot his name. Darn.

Here's our video eating it

Sources of facts:

Some photos are from Roberto Chando, one of my travel buddies.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Our first stop on our Vigan Tour was the BALUARTE, a 10 minute drive from the city of Vigan which is 408km from Northern Manila. This 80 hectares of land is owned by Governor Chavit Singson which use to be a rest house where the governor would bring his family and friends and enjoy the company of domesticated animals like monkeys, chicken, monitor lizards, birds and a lot more. Then he reconstructed it to a zoo, shared this to more people by opening it to the public for free admission. 
It is open daily from 7am to 6pm. 

You would be greeted at the entrance which is what they call the Petting zoo where you can interact with the animals. Take pictures with the gorgeous colorful birds and ride the Tiburin which is a small carriage that is being pulled by miniature horses. Absolutely free! Though we gave tips to the caballero, a spanish term for the horseman. Get up-close with the camel and ostrich like an arm away only but of course, we did not reach out our arms to them. You'll see life size dinosaurs which is fun for picture taking. We went up the hill to see the lions but they were asleep inside their den so we didn't see them. They have a huge space so they are not too limited to roam around. Though I felt bad for the tigers who are super huge and they are in small cages. They were deers and more animals. Some are just walking around freely. They also have a butterfly garden and live animal show which we did not get to see because they did not have any schedule that day. This is a nice place to take the kids around.   

If you're coming from Manila and would want to commute to go here, I suggest that you take the Partas Bus. They have regular buses and special ones too that has only 3 spacious and reclining chairs in a row. It might take you 9 hours to get here and I strongly recommend you do a night trip as it takes longer in the day where there are traffics as the route will pass on the towns of each province.  You can also go by air via Laoag International Airport.

Brings you to Jumanji

Reminds me of Little Foot

Makes me feel like singing "If we hold on together...I know our dreams will never die"  =)

If you can't beat them, join them.
I wonder if this is true if they're really alive :P

Free is good!!!

Our horse's name is Dagul

Hello Bambi!!!

Who knew they would be friends!

huge tiger but small cage  :(

Gorgeous birds