I must admit that I had a second thought on going to Kalanggaman Island after reading some negative reviews about it – that the water in the island smells bad… that one could not walk on the sand barefoot because it’s not powdery like that of Boracay, among others. But since I had my plane ticket and I had filed a vacation leave already, I finally decided to give it a go. It turned out, those issues they were talking about were, well, to me, not an issue at all. Those who made negative reviews about the island either: (1) had set their expectations so high or (2) they just failed to see the real beauty of the island, for some reason.
Damn! I had a piece of heaven on earth when I visited the island, guys… (Note: that judgement’s based on my own standards)
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KALANGGAMAN IN A NUTSHELL
Kalanggaman is a small island that lies about 15 kilometers off the shore of the (main) Palompon, a municipality located in the northwestern part of the Province of Leyte (about 30 kms west of Ormoc City). My own estimate says it’s about 5 to 7 hectares in size; it’s elongated in form, stretching like a bird when viewed from above, hence the island’s name. (“langgam” means bird in Cebuano language)
With its smallness, it is understandable that ground water is scarce in the island; it has just enough of it to allow some greens, including coconut and talisay trees to grow… but not enough to be able to draw some fresh drinking water for people.
There is also no electricity in the island; visitors have just the moon and the stars as their source of light in the night, apart from, of course, their portable light devices that they bring into the island.
Indeed, to some extent, the island can be considered off the grid. But because of its natural allure, it continues to attract many tourists, local and foreign alike. No surprise there. Who can say NO to its awesome sandbar? Who can resist its crystal clear water? Who cannot give in to the tranquility and the sense of peace the island brings? 😀
THINGS TO DO IN KALANGGAMAN ISLAND
- Camping – You can bring your own tent and set it up anywhere you want in the island; please note that there is a designated area for cooking, so you cannot just make fire anywhere.
- Take a walk on its sandbar – There is a wide stretch of sandbar in the island; you can walk anytime you want, take some photos, and savor the moment of serenity it brings.
- Snorkeling – You can bring your own or just rent a snorkeling gear in the island; there are also available at Eco-Tourism Office in Palompon.
- Scuba diving – There are designated scuba diving sites that you can try, particularly on the side of the island facing north.
- Sunbathing – There are plastic lounges available for rent. At 50 pesos, you can have it used to sunbathe by the shore (other use it as a sleeping lounge under the shades)
- Or just take a dip in and enjoy its turquoise, crystal clear water.
And a whole lot more. You just need to be creative to make memorable moments in the island. But of course, in everything you do, follow the imposed rules.
Amenities in the island are pretty basic, which is not surprising considering how small it is. Take a look at some of the photos below.
HOW TO GET TO KALANGGAMAN ISLAND
Leading local airlines have direct flights from major Philippine cities, including Manila, Cebu, and Davao to the Province of Leyte.
Via Tacloban City. Fly to Tacloban Airport and then ride a public transport to Tacloban Terminal, which is located in front of Robinson’s Mall. From there, hop on a bus (or shuttle van) to Palompon, and then disembark at the terminal. After that, head straight to Eco-Tourism Office, which is just a walking-distance away, to register and arrange a boat that can ferry you to the island.
Via Ormoc City. Fly to Ormoc Airport via Mactan-Cebu International Airport and then ride a public transport (bus, van) from the city to Palompon. Disembark at the Palompon Terminal, and then head straight to Eco-Tourism Office to register and arrange a boat that can ferry you to the island. (Note: As of this posting, only Cebu Pacific has direct flights to Ormoc City, and only from Cebu aiport)
Via Cebu. From Cebu City, get to the North Bus Terminal and take a bus ride bound for Polambato Ferry Terminal. From there, take a ferry ride to Palompon Proper. Then, head to Eco-Tourism Office to register and arrange a boat that can ferry you to the island.
If you are travelling to Cebu for vacation, going to Kalanggaman Island could be part of your Cebu tour. For instance, if you are visiting Malapascua Island, might as well visit Kalanggaman, which is just about 2 hours by boat from Malapascua. Please note than this could be more expensive than going there via Palompon.
WHERE TO STAY (ACCOMMODATION)
If you are going to Kalanggaman Island early in the morning, chances are that you will be staying the night before so that you will not lag behind your schedules. Now, the question you might have in mind is – where to stay? The municipality of Palompon offers a number of budget accommodations for visiting tourists and some of the most popular are the following:
- Travellers Inn (053) 555 9174
- Pacci House (053) 338-2880
- Grants Building (Check current price)
- Diana’s Guest Rooms (Check current price)
- Sergi’s Resort and Hotel (Check current price)
- Palompon Orange Villa (Check current price)
KALANGGAMAN TOUR RATES AND FEES
Kalanggaman Island Entrance/Coservation Fee
Regular Rate (Day Tour)
International Tourist = PHP 500
Non-Palompon Tourist = PHP 150
Non-Palompon College Student = PHP 40
Non-Palompon High School Student = PHP 30
Non-Palompon Elem. Pupil = PHP 20
Non-Palompon Senior Citizen = PHP 120
International Tourist = PHP 500
Non-Palompon Tourist = PHP 225
Non-Palompon College Student = PHP 60
Non-Palompon High School Student = PHP 45
Non-Palompon Elem. Pupil = PHP 30
Non-Palompon Senior Citizen = PHP 180
Private Pumpboat Rate
PHP 3000 = 15 Persons and below capacity
PHP 3500 = 16-25 Persons capacity
PHP 4000 = 26-30 Persons capacity
Cottage Rental Fee
Plastic Lounge Rental Fee = PHP 50
Source: Palompon Eco-Tourism Office
For inquiries and reservations, please call: (053) 555-9731 / 09268164005 / 09268164007 / 09985551421
SAMPLE BUDGET – DAY TOUR (Airfare not included)
*For Non-Palompon local tourists
SOME TIPS FOR YOUR KALANGGAMAN TOUR
Tip # 1: As mentioned, it is recommended to be in Palompon the day before your scheduled Kalanggaman tour. This is so that you can make the most out of your travel (you can roam around the municipality the day before) However, the main reason is #2 below.
Tip # 2: Be early. The first boat leaves at 6AM so make sure you are at the tourism office before that. Going there as early as 5:30 in the morning gives you better chances to secure a joiner tour since most tourists go there that early as well. Plus, you can make the most out of your day tour; you’ll have more time in the island before your boat heads back to Palompon Proper.
Tip # 3: Necessities in the island are scarce, so make sure you buy your food, drinking water, and other personal items in Palompon Proper. Make sure you bring at least 4 liters of drinking water so that you have enough to stay hydrated.
Tip # 4:There are rules and regulations strictly implemented in the island (e.g. you are not allowed to leave your trash on the island); take time to read them and follow religiously.
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