August 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Surrounded by strong currents and rip tides, no wonder this unspoiled island has remained hidden for a long time, until now.
Yes. We ventured the long road to paradise.
From the rough and very rough roads of Camarines Norte and Sur, to the paved stretch of concrete and asphalt highway in the hinterlands of Albay, Sorsogon and Samar, we endured the 20-hour roadtrip to Tacloban City in Leyte — our final takeoff point to Kalanggaman Island, the most talked-about, Instagrammed and Twitted piece of pristine, unadulterated real estate in Palompon, Southern Leyte.
The trip may have been bum-busting and looooooooong, but the views and sceneries were majestic!
An imperfect paradise
Gaining popularity only in 2013, when M/V Europa Cruise Line – with almost 400 passengers – did a pit stop on the island for a couple of hours. Photos of its powdery white sand beach and its sparkling blue waters, accented by a crescent sandbar, posted on various social media sites sparked a frenzy among beach lovers and adventurers.
I must admit, Kalanggaman Island is not without flaws. For one, the treacherous currents surrounding the famed sandbar prohibited the swimmer in me to enjoy its teal blue waters. Moreover, the local tourism office in-charge of the island’s upkeep was not entirely prepared for the sudden influx of sunworshippers and selfie fanatics crowding the beach, especially during weekends. I actually fear that one day soon some parts of Kalanggaman Island will succumb to trash. Let’s not let that happen. Please.
When in Kalanggaman
There are no privately owned resorts in Kalanggaman, but overnight camping is allowed. Don’t worry if you don’t own a tent; the Eco-Tourism Office in Palompon rents them out.
Aside from baking under the sun and snorkeling, there are a few other activities one can actually enjoy on the island. You may want to try your hands at kayaking (PHP150/hr) and stand-up paddling (PHP200/hr); just approach any of the “Island Relations Officers” roaming the island. They’d be easy to spot, ‘coz they’re usually dressed in colorful island-inspired polo shirts: Yeah. Channeling their inner Lito Atienza. Harharhar!
And, for a complete Kalanggaman Island experience, go SCUBA diving! There are no dive shops on the island, so you may have to bring your own or rent it from the Palompon Eco-Tourism Office.
To Get There
As earlier mentioned, we chose to go the long way to Kalanggaman, braving the 20-hour roadtrip; albeit, there are a lot more options to choose from. Here are a few that may fit your traveling style… and budget.
Take the 2GO Ferry to Cebu. From Cebu, you can travel to Palompon, Leyte either by bus or RORO boats.
Ceres Liner buses bound for Manila via Maharlika Highway leaves Cebu North Bus Terminal every 8AM and arrives at Pulangbato Port in Bogo City, Cebu at around 12NN. From there, you can catch a RORO boat bound for Palompon.
Of course, you can always opt to travel by air to Tacloban City. From there, you can get on a GT van to Palompon or, if you’re in a hurry, just hire a van.
Once in the town of Palompon, take a pedicab (locally called “potpot”) to the Eco-Tourism Office – the yellow building within the municipal office complex.
A trip to Kalanggaman Island requires prior “booking” with the local tourism office, as the local government limits the number of tourists per day to preserve the beauty of the place. Make sure you made a reservation before going.
Travel time from Palompon to Kalanggaman Island is about an hour.
Upon reaching the island, you’re free to find your own sweet spot to pitch your tent for the day – sit back, relax and chew in the scenery.
SCHEDULE OF FEES
- International tourists PHP750
- Non-Palompon tourists 225
- Palompon tourists 75
- Students and senior citizens enjoy a much lower entrance fee.
Outrigger bancas range from PHP3,000 to 4,000, depending on the number of passengers.