Starfish Island, Puerto Princesa

As much as I loved exploring the Puerto Princesa Underground River, to do so required me to do a lot of waiting around, which is fine, but it meant that by the next morning I was eager to spend the day up and moving!

The other main appeal of Puerto Princesa is the Honda Bay area – a collection of small tropical islands easily accessible from Puerto Princesa City Proper. You can hire a boat, but unless you already have a decent sized group ready and raring to go, it will be more cost effective to take a day tour. Costing around 1400 pesos ($39) with lunch included, it certainly isn’t an expensive day out!

The first stop on the three island day tour was by far my favourite. Named Starfish Island – it doesn’t take long to figure out how this particular island got its name!


There are so many Starfish littering the shallow waters surrounding this tiny island! Some Starfish preferred to hang out in the water itself, whilst others seemed to prefer hanging out on the sand.


I had heard that picking up Starfish can cause damage to them, but after doing a fair bit of research found that there is no scientific reason to avoid touching these amazing creatures. Obviously I made sure to handle them with care, but it was good to know that holding my new starfish friends would not hurt them.


It sounds strange, but despite how hard these creatures are – you can feel how alive they are too. They have small tentacle-like things inside each of their 5 limbs, which they can pick things up with!


See the lines in the limbs of the Starfish in the above picture? These are where their tentacle things (hello scientific terminology) can emerge and retract from!


I could have spent all day playing with these little guys! I don’t know why, but Starfish just make me happy!




After a while I began to get hot and decided it was time to jump into the water and see if Starfish Island was just as amazing from under the sea as it was from above.

Short answer: Of course it was!


I donned my snorkel and was off exploring more of this quirky little island.




The variety of wildlife was not as varied as it had been in El Nido, but I still enjoyed the snorkel just as much! I was especially happy to see more rainbow parrot fish.


Though there was less fish than in El Nido, there was also no jellyfish (a big plus for those afraid of stings) and the fish that were swimming around the place seemed much more chilled out when faced with humans in weird masks.



Starfish Island had already been amazing and there was still two more islands to explore! I was loving Honda Bay already. Stay tuned next post for more Filipino island adventures!

T H E Β  L O W D O W N
Getting to Puerto Princesa: From Manila – book a direct flight with Cebu Pacific, from El Nido – catch a ‘van’ from the bus station
Starfish Island: Day trips around Honda Bay can be organised through Sheebang hostel and cost 1400 pesos ($39)
Sheebang Hostel: The most popular hostel in Puerto Princesa, this place could improve its cleanliness but is a great place to meet people
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm M.Zuiko Pro Lens and Nikon Coolpix S31
Threads: I am wearing a bikini by Tigerlily Swimwear
Remember: Sunscreen and a few extra pesos for snorkel gear hire

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

81 thoughts on “Starfish Island, Puerto Princesa

  1. Hi Ellen! Seems like you’re having a love affair with the starfish. =D Your photos made me so excited… I can’t wait to visit Puerto Princesa this summer. <3

      1. No, we’ll explore Puerto Princesa alone this time. We’ve already been to El Nido, but will surely go back in a separate trip. =D

  2. It’s amazing how they’re just lying around all over the place. And they’re hard? I always thought that they’d be soft, like jelly I guess, although the back of that one does look like tough leather.

  3. Fun blog, Ellen. I haven’t seen that particular species of starfish before. Amused by the underwater shot of you and the starfish. –Curt

  4. The starfish are so cute! I love that you’re able to be so hands on here. It probably helps that they’re everywhere. Also, that rainbow parrot fish is STUNNING.

  5. I LOVE STARFISH! This is amazing! I’m so glad you got to strap on a snorkel and fins and get up close and personal with them. Gotta love making new friends. πŸ™‚

  6. I have never seen starfish with those big nubby black nobs on them!! Very strange, but cool. Did the swimsuit company give you a discount for modeling, or mentioning them? If not…think about that?

    1. @badfish – I used to have the same kind of starfish in a coral tank I kept. They are chocolate chip starfish. . . And those are the biggest ones I’ve ever seen!

      1. I’m not sure. I’ll have to look it up. The most common ones have five arms and they are usually red, thick, and about eight inches across.

  7. Amazingly! I’ve never seen starfish up close like that and the colors on the fish were very beautiful. Sounds like a great way to spend a day.

  8. I can’t wait until summer, so I can do some snorkeling here in California. One of my favorite activities! Starfish Island looks awesome, wish I could go there too πŸ™‚

    1. Any chance of a Filipino adventure soon? The flights may be pricey but once you get there it is a super cheap place to travel through!

      1. My coworker was actually trying to get me to go to the Philippines with her later this year but we can’t both take off work, and I’m low on funds even for the flight. But, I am definitely planning to make it happen at some point in the future!

  9. I’m so jealous right now, and am following you on Snapchat! If you think about it, it really is cool to have stars in the sky, and stars in the sea. To think that a live animal actually looks like that is mind-boggling sometimes.

      1. I started travelling after a bad break up (typical kinda story) and then started the blog about 18 months later as a hobby – it was a way to document my travels. Now travelling is my biggest passion! I love it!

      2. Thats amazing! I guess after bad experiences something good comes out. Good for you. I hope to follow your footsteps

      3. Absolutely! One door closes and another one opens and all that πŸ™‚
        Have you got any plans to travel soon?

  10. I just found out about your blog while searching for island hopping in puerto princesa. I couldn’t stop browsing your website! Sending love from the Philippines! <3

  11. Great blog. I am thinking of a major RTW trip in a couple of years, at the end of my career. You give me great ideas.

    1. Thank you so much! This is one of favourite types of comments to get! I love to hear that people get ideas and inspiration from my blog πŸ™‚

  12. beautiful photos πŸ™‚ it is nice to know you enjoyed my home country πŸ™‚ we’ve been in puerto princesa in 2012, unfortunately my underwater cam malfunction and water sipped in πŸ™ next year we will go back to philippines and start our asian travels and so as the places in the country πŸ™‚ hope to see you there one day πŸ™‚

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