TEXT & PHOTOS: Kaycie Gayle
Part of my island hopping experience on Honda Bay, Palawan is known among the locals as Tabuan island but famously known as the Starfish island among tourist. Clearly, it has derived its popular name from the abundance of starfish in the island. It is surrounded by blue-green waters, filled with white sand, few palm trees and mangrove forest on certain part of the island. At the moment I have visited it, the island lacks commercial conveniences hence, it is primarily good for nature appreciation.
Starfish Island lifeguard
Mangrove in the island
Without any plans of what to do while I am on this island. I just decided to be spontaneous of what will I do based on what will I see as I walk around the island. During my stay, these are the things I enjoyed doing.
Marvel on the camera tricks snapped by the locals
One fun part of staying on this island is having some souvenirs to take with me may it be in the form of pictures documenting my good times here. There are some life-sized frames installed in the island which can be used as a background for picture taking. There is also a small sand castle, shells and coconut fruit readily displayed in the area where locals voluntarily offered to take my picture with. Thinking they will be used as props, I was not really enthusiastic to be photographed with it, but still, I tried even I am wondering with what camera trick they said they would employ. Upon seeing the result of the photos taken I have been convinced that they are good. The props have been made to appear life-sized in the pictures though, in reality, they are just as big as what they normally are. These locals didn’t ask money for taking my photo. But any amount for their service is just reasonable to give them a donation as a means of helping them, so I did. These locals are so nice that they would still take your picture even if you don’t give them at all.
Huge frames as a backdrop for picture taking
A Local doing the camera trick
This island is a snorkeling location, hence I have sought for the sea creature that this island is known for- the starfish. Others opt for fish feeding with bread, some, however, are looking at the trivia displayed along the island. One interesting detail I learned from it is that starfish have no brain and blood. Moreover, while I am looking at one of the starfishes I have seen a jelly-like liquid being secreted by the starfish, and they shrink when they are not in the water for a quite long time so it’s best to put them back in the water quickly. While it is okay to pick them up and take a photo, visitors are advised to be careful, so as not to damage the gentle creatur
Starfish’s jelly-like substance
Starfish facts trivias
Picnic while on the island
There are stilt huts available in the area, hence island -hoppers can stay on these few cottages to have their picnic should they brought food to share. Whereas with me, I have stayed in one of the stilt huts after exploring around the island to rest, relax, feel the nature while drinking water to rehydrate.
Huts in the island
After an hour and a half of loitering in the area, we have to leave the island and go to the next island (Luli island) hence we have ridden the boat and start sailing away from it. Though I have left the island, the memory of seeing starfish up close for the first time will be my take home from this island. Definitely, my first encounter with a starfish is on starfish island.