I was staying in Puerto Princesa and one of the top 2 things that are recommended online is a trip to Honda Bay; so I decided to jump on my scooter and go and have a look up the east coast.
I was hoping to find something similar to what I found when I went from Padang Bai to Amed By Scooter back in Indonesia… beautiful scenery with picturesque sandy bays and little fishing villages…
I planned to do a 150km round trip.
I set off at 10:00am and stopped at the start of the North Road just after Rizal Avenue to fill up with petrol. From 1/4 full, it cost PHP70 to fill up the tank. A full tank costs about PHP100.
GETTING OUT OF PUERTO PRINCESA CITY:
The traffic is busy and congested for the first 5-10 kms.
By 10:25 I had hit open road.
The main road almost hits Honda Bay about 10kms north of Puerto Princesa.
There is a road down to the harbour (where everyone catches the boats out to the islands for their ‘Package Tours’); I didn’t take it – I will do that Package Tour another day…
You drive through untouched countryside.
The road is in excellent condition and is easy to drive.
You pass clusters of houses now and again and the odd roadside shop and the odd school; but no quaint villages.
At 11:15, I hit the turn off to Sabang. By 11:45, I got my first view of the coastline.
There is surprisingly little access to the coast itself.
You pass fenced plots of land and the odd resort, but there are few ‘open to the public’ tracks down to the beach.
I drove down a driveway that I thought was a public area with massage huts. It wasn’t. It was someone’s home.
It was 12 noon by the time that I found the first open access to the waterfront.
I found a group of young boys playing on the fishing boats.
They befriended me and we walked the beach together holding hands.
Again, I drove for several kms without finding any beach access.
I parked my scooter and asked if I could look around. They said yes.
There was a small homestay on the waterfront with what looked like 6 or 8 rooms. A couple of young men were lazing in hammocks.
I watched the Fisherman fixing his nets for a few minutes.
He and his wife lived in a tiny 1 room hut.
The first swimming beach that I found (with access) was near the Mangrove Resort about 10kms south of South Verde Island.
This is about a 2-2.5 hour drive from Puerto Princesa (approx 60kms).
As I drove down to the beach I found one other scooter parked there. Two girls were sitting topless in the sun with the beach to themselves… until I turned up…
I did a bit of body surfing and, then, went for a walk to each end of the beach.
I found another small Homestay on the beachfront with 2 adjoining Double rooms. There were 2 European girls sharing one of them. I was going to ask them about how they rented the place but, when I got there, they were swimming and I didn’t get the chance.
So I packed up and headed back towards Puerto Princesa.
You pass over some rivers with nice views.
About 40kms from Puerto Princesa I was low on petrol, so stopped and bought half a litre for PHP22. I knew that there was a Petrol Station about 10 more kms down the road… I got there and filled up for PHP95… I was very close to empty… perhaps I should have bought a 1 litre bottle up the road to stay safe.
But, as with the journey north, it is otherwise uneventful and just open road.
It took me 2.5 hours to get to a beach worth stopping at for a swim.
I was there for only 30-40 minutes but got about 30 sandfly bites. These things are nasty.
You know the difference between a mosquito bite and a sanfly bite… sandfly bites swell up into hardened lumps of about 1cm in diameter and about 2cm in diameter for the really nasty ones. After a day or two they can develop a ‘white head’.
It can take weeks for them to go away… they can also turn infectious… so you need to get on to treating them with suitable lotion immediately. I carry my own ‘remedy‘ with me.
If you like cruising open roads in the countryside for hours, then you will enjoy this trip.
If you are looking for cute fishing villages and hidden bays, you will be disappointed.
Either way, you will return home to Puerto Princesa at the end of the day with a very sore bottom.
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