Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour with Kids

January 26, 2011

Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour with Kids

What Kids Will Learn
1. This is where my kids first experienced snorkeling. The advantage of snorkeling in the islands of Honda Bay is that the snorkeling site is very near the shore. Unlike snorkeling at Balicasag island, the snorkeling site at Honda Bay is deep and undercurrents are strong. 

2. Aside from learning to snorkel, we discovered that swimming in the sea/bay is very different from swimming in the pool. Knowing how to swim in the pool does not guarantee your safety at sea/bay. Because of the strong undercurrents in deeper parts of Honda Bay, the technique that our boatman used to move from one point to another is to use a walking motion with his legs underneath the water rather than staying horizontally on the water and kicking with your legs on the surface of the water. You stay in the same place when you use this technique at sea.

Word of Warning
Do not allow your kids to take off their life jackets while wading in water in the islands of Honda Bay. There are  parts of the  of the islands that suddenly deepens just a few meters from the shore. The undercurrents are strong and could easily pull you into the deep parts of the bay. As I mentioned above, the swimming technique learned at the pool is not very helpful when swimming at sea with strong undercurrents.

Our Itinerary
6:00 AM           

  •  what to bring to the island hopping:   

    waterproof backpacks, extra change of clothes, cellphone, swimsuit, sunblock, off lotion, coconut oil, hand sanitizer, underwater camera case, underwater plastic case for gadgets, cellphones, wallet, toilet paper, emergency medicines, slippers, bottled water, cookies or biscuits
My tip: for feeding fish, tear the white bread in small pieces and place it inside an empty mineral water bottle. Then while snorkeling, fill the mineral water bottle filled with bread then feed the fish so you can see them up close. It's easier to hold the mineral water bottle than the plastic bag containing a loaf of bread. See pictures below:
Mineral water bottle filled with bread for fish feeding
This is how it is used to feed fish

7:00 AM          
We were picked up at Casa Linda Inn by Wildrock Tours. Before proceeding to Sta. Lourdes wharf, we made a stop to pick up the cooked food that we were supposed to bring with us during our island hopping. Our lunch was included in the fees we paid Wildrock Tours

8:00 AM 
Arrival at Sta. Lourdes Wharf. Sta. Lourdes Wharf is the place where we take the boat to go island hopping at Honda Bay.

Customer service center at Sta. Lourdes Wharf. 

Waiting for our turn to board the boat

This is the boat we used. 
Note the orange lifejackets ready to be used. Palawan is strict on the use of lifejackets.

Boarding the outrigger boat

8:30 AM 
Arrival at Pandan Island

11:00 AM-1:00 PM 
Buffet lunch at Pandan Island

This is where we ate lunch at Pandan Island. A tent was reserved for our use.

2:00 PM 
Arrival at Starfish Island for more snorkeling.

3:00 PM 
Arrival at Snake Island

Approaching Snake Island

Huts at Snake Island

Walking the sandbar of Snake Island

This is what a sandbar looks like

4:00 PM         
Leave Snake Island  and head back to the wharf

5:30 PM      
The Vietville restaurant is along the route going back to Puerto Princesa city. So we requested our guide to stop over at Vietville restaurant to take out Vietnamese food and view what used to be the refugee center of the Vietnamese boat people in Palawan.

6:00 PM 
Arrival at Casa Linda Inn

7:00 PM 
Dinner at Casa Linda Inn

How to go from El Nido (Lio Airport) to El Nido Town

January 24, 2011

How to go from El Nido (Lio Airport) to El Nido Town

Distance from El Nido Airport to El Nido town: 
around 4 kilometers

Travel time from airport to town: 
10 minutes

Ground transportation: 
Only tricycles are availble for hire when you arrive at El Nido airport. Tricycle rental costs 200 pesos per way from El Nido airport to El Nido town, or 400 pesos roundtrip. The tricycle has a maximum capacity of 2 persons.

See my post " El Nido (Lio) Airport: How to get a tricycle to El Nido Town"

My tip: If you're 6 or more in a group, ask the resort you booked how much are their airport van transfers. We were charged P600 per way for airconditioned van transfers. Since we were 6 in a group, the cost is already equivalent to hiring 3 tricycles. So for our situation, hiring a van  is the better option. The additional advantages of hiring a van if you are a big group are:

1. If the 6 persons in your group is composed of a couple and 4 kids, you won't have to think about who among the 4 kids will have to be together in 1 tricycle.  Remember that I tricycle can only accommodate 2 persons. By hiring a van, you can be together in one vehicle.

2. Since the van will be hired by your resort, you are sure that the driver of the van knows the location of your resort even before the driver picks you up.

3. You don't have to look for a tricycle and haggle the price upon arrival at the airport. Price is already fixed before you arrive at the airport.

The map below will show you the distance from El Nido airport to El Nido town. 

Henna Tatoo at Alona Beach

January 22, 2011

Henna Tatoo at Alona Beach

In the Philippines, a beach vacation is not complete without getting a henna tattoo. It's part of your outfit as much as your swimsuit is. It's a form of self-expression.

First, you choose the motif from several pages of sample designs. The price depends on how complicated the design is. The cheapest is at 100 pesos

Then you choose where to place it.
On the arm
On the chest
On the hand
Where to have it:
There are a lot of places along Alona Beach where you can get a henna tattoo. But we got ours at Baywatch Divers. 

Baywatch Divers is at no. 12. Check out for more details. Thanks to for the map

How long does the henna tattoo last: 
One week

When my daughter was 8 years old, she got an allergic reaction from the henna tattoo. The part where the henna touched the skin became inflamed. So even after the black tint was gone, the motif remained and showed on the inflamed skin. I suggest you test the henna first on a small area of the skin to find out whether or not your child is allergic to it. Years later, my daughter outgrew her allergy and was able to have a henna tattoo on our Bohol trip.

Bohol Bee Farm

January 21, 2011

Bohol Bee Farm

Where it is located
Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol

Unique Experiences at the Bohol Bee Farm:

1. Eating homemade ice cream of unusual flavors like malunggay, pandan, tisa, durian, spicy ginger. The more common ones that they are those we usually encounter in Philippine supermarkets are buko, mango, langka, avocado and ube.

2. Free tasting of their products. My personal favorite is the pesto spread and the native chocolate tablets sweetened with honey. The latter is easy to cook. You don't need a batirol to achieve a smooth consistency. To see what you can taste inside the shop, see

3. Dining in their restaurant. To check out the menu, see

Note: Since we were accompanied by children, Tatsky didn't bring us to tour the bee farm because the farm is not a controlled environment. He went on tour with a family once, and the child was bitten by a bee, suffered severe allergic reaction and had to be hospitalized. Ever since that experience, Tatsky doesn't bring his guests to the bee farm anymore, especially when children are part of the tour group.

See previous post:

Hinagdanan Underground Cave

January 20, 2011

Hinagdanan Underground Cave

Where It Is Located
It is located in Bingag, Dauis. Dauis is one of the 2 towns of Panglao Island. The other town is named Panglao

What Kids Will Like
If you want your kids to have a taste of how it's like to be inside a cave without intimidating them, this cave is a perfect place to introduce them to caves. The cave is not too deep or very hard to navigate. But it has the same air of mystery that bigger caves have. 

For the elderly: They will not find it difficult to enter the cave because there are no slippery steps. But you have to be very careful since the cave entrance is not well lighted.

Note: Tatsky, our guide for the city tour, hired another person to guide as through the cave. He is very adept at adjusting our camera to the right settings to be able to capture photos inside the cave. 

Entrance of Hinagdanan Cave

Stairs going down to Hinagdanan Cave

The cave opening

Inside the cave

The belly of the cave

Drawings made by a movie production who shot a movie inside the cave

This is the cave stairs that leads to the entrance of the cave

Dauis Church

January 19, 2011

(Photo taken from Original uploader was Pinay06 at en.wikipedia)

Dauis Church
(known as Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption)

Where it is located
Panglao Island is the island where Alona Beach and most of the beaches of Bohol are located. Bohol is a province and Panglao Island is part of the Bohol province.

The island of Panglao is divided into 2 municipalities: Panglao and Dauis. Because the island is named Panglao, it is often forgotten that Dauis is also located in Panglao island and is one of its municipalities. 

In Panglao Island, there are 2 major churches, each one located in each municipality. They have Panglao Church and Dauis Church. If you are staying at Alona Beach, Panglao Church is  around 15min tricycle ride from your location. Dauis Church is nearer the bridge linking Panglao Island and the main island of Bohol

In 2009, Dauis Church was declared a national historical landmark by the National Historical Institute. The historical marker above is translated as follows:

"Dauis Church Complex: It is composed of the church, the convent, the watch tower and the belltower made of corals. 

1697: It was built by the Jesuit priests as visita of Baclayon and became the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption.

1753-1758: The convent was built by Fr. Joseph Nepomuceno, S.J., which became the official residence of the Jesuits from Loboc from . 

1768: It came under the Recollects. 

1774: The belltower was built by Fr. Santiago del Corazon de Jesus, O.A.R.

1885: The fences was strengthened as defense against the invasion of the Moro.

1863-1879: The present church was built by Fr. Julio Saldana, OAR.

1919-1923. The church was finished by Fr. Natalio del Mar with paintings by Ray Francia and Canuto Avila.

August 23, 1923: It was inaugurated by Msgr. Juan Gorordo of Cebu.

During World War II: The convent became the shelter of nuns from Tagbilaran City.

August 15, 2004: The church was declared the Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption.

This is an example of neo-gothic and neo-classical architecture.

The convent

The side of the convent

The back of the convent, also at the back of the Church.
The land beyond the waters in the foreground is the main island of Bohol.
Remember, we are at Panglao Island right now.

The large tree forms a huge canopy. Wedding receptions and parties are held here underneath the tree. Lamps are hung on the tree to illuminate the guests dining underneath it.

See our next stop: Hinagdanan Cave

See previous post:

Ivan Man Dy's January/February 2011 Festival Tours and Manila Walking Tours

January 16, 2011

Ivan Man Dy's 
January/February 2011 
Festival Tours and Manila Walking Tours

The BIG Binondo Food WOK: Nibbling Our Way Through Chinatown
February 3 (Thursday) 
@ 8:00 AM- 2011 Chinese New Year Edition Tour*
@ 2:00 PM-
 2011 Chinese New Year Edition Tour*

Oh yes, its that time of the year again when we BINGE ourselves silly as we welcome the the Lunar New Year with a BIG, BIG BITE! It's the BEST time of the year to do the BIG Binondo Food WOK as the year of the tiger whimpers away and we HOP-ON to the year for the Rabbit!

So what are you waiting for? Let us paint the town RED, join in the festivities
(while filling up our stomachs!) as we usher in the Lunar New Year in Chinatown!

Rate: P1,300.00/head (inclusive of tasting menu and lotsa fun!)
      **Slots limited.Book early!


In partnership with our brother outfit ULTIMATE PHILIPPINE TOURS:

Pampanga in a Plateful! 

Journey to the central heartland as we immerse ourselves in things Kapampangan! From Baroque to betute, its fun-filled day as we poke around and get intimate with the very best of Pampanga's cultural and culinary offerings. Gawk at the jewel-box of church in Betis while wading through the lahar-buried town of Bacolor.
We'll stuff ourselves silly with the best Kapampangan fare by one of the regions celebrated culinary icon. An experience to satisfy your stomach and your soul!

The Tour Experience
Betis Church * Town of Bacolor *Everybody's Cafe * Pampanga Specialty Shops* Atching Lilian's Kusina ing Matua

Date: February 12,2011 (Saturday)9:00 AM - 6:00PM time approx.
Rate: P2,500.00/head (inclusive of tour, all meals, transportation and lotsa fun!)
      **Slots limited.Book early!


the ULTIMATE Pahiyas and San Isidro Labrador Festival Experience!
It's fiesta time this month of May and what better way to drink, eat and be merry as we head south to explore charming Quezon province. It's the best time of the year as we join in the revelry and celebrate the feast of San Isidro de Labrador!

First off to Lukban and the Pahiyas Festival where we'll feast our eyes over a smorgasbord of food, music,artistry and local color in one of country's most spectacular fiestas!  Then its off to  Sariaya, a charming little period town known for its gracious colonial homes. We'll stroll around and admire these treasures as we revel in its traditional Agawan Festival.

Finally, on to San Pablo, Laguna to dine at a restored period home, a great way to cap-off our Quezon experience!

You will discover the best way to experience the San Isidro Labrador festivalsas well as a lovely dinner at the artsy Sulyap Gallery Cafeand anything and everything about Quezon's Tagalog heritage with the best guide in town, Tina Decal!

Date: May 15,2011 (Sunday) 
Rate: P4,800.00/head (inclusive of tour, all meals, transportation and lotsa fun!)
      **Slots limited.Book early!                               
      **The Pahiyas Festival falls on a Sunday this year, the next time it falls on a weekend will be in the year 2021.

Our Regular City Walks 

the BIG Binondo Food WOK: Nibbling Our Way Through Chinatown
5 (Saturday) @ 2:00 PM*
22 (Saturday) @ 9:00 AM*
(Saturday) @ 2:00 PM*- Chinese New Year Weekend

*Rate: P1,000.00/head inclusive of tour and tasting menu

05 (Saturday) @ 9:00 AM*
12 (Saturday) @ 2:00 PM*
19 (Saturday) @ 9:00 AM*
Rate: P1,000.00/head inclusive of tour and tasting menu


Power, Palace and a SHOT of Beer! A San Miguel-Malacanang Palace Walk

January  28 (Friday) @ 9:00 AM*

25 (Friday) @ 9:00 AM*
Rate: P1,100.00/head (inclusive of tour, entrances and fine-dine merienda)
Very important! Names need to submitted at least 10 days before the actual tour. For non-Filipino citizens, please include a clear scanned image of the passport
Walls of THIS Content: An Intramuros Interactive Walk

February 12 @ 9:00 AM

* Rate at P1,000.00/head inclusive of entrances and tour

Step by step,
Ivan Man Dy
Old Manila Walks
"Your First Step to Knowing Manila!"


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