As a city dweller, I face tall buildings, city pollution, crowd noises and work stresses for at least five days a week. I try my best to allocate at least the weekends to shrug the stresses away and reconnect with nature.
Island life. Lying on the beach, enjoying the sun, caressed by the sea breeze and lulled by the waves by day, and late night talks with friends or solo meditation and pondering thoughts while gazing at the stars in the sky by night. A relaxing and stress free thought that is opposite to what most of our daily lives really are. The Philippines is blessed with thousands of islands which comes with the best beaches in the world. One is the little island called Kalanggaman Island.
Kalanggaman – means “where birds are” in the bisaya dialect. The island is a small island with an extended stretch of pure white sandbar. Paired with its famous sandbar are the pristine waters on the both sides of the island. The island is located across the Municipality of Palompon, Leyte in the Visayas region of the Philippines.
‘Twas friday night with few drinks with my friends and boom, we then decided to head to the said island on the next few hours since we finished our drinks at around 2AM. We met back at the city port by 5AM. We boarded the earliest trip of the fastest craft available. We boarded Ocean Jet that would take us to ormoc within 3 hours.
Upon arriving at the port of Ormoc City, we assaulted straight to Palompon where we had our brunch. Visitors must drop by Palompon eco-tour to register and it is also where you can avail a boat that would take you to the island. Palompon eco-tour office is just 2-3 minutes walk away from the public market, where the van terminal is also located.
For boat rentals, the minimum rate is 3Kphp/15pax back and forth. You can reserve in advance for your whole group, just contact the eco-tour office before your trip, or you can get there and wait for other small groups to share and divide the rental fee. We did the latter.With boat rental sharing, you have to wait for the other groups and agree with the time you go back to the town from the island, and you really have to be patient with the other groups. While waiting, you can maximize your time by buying your supplies at the market. Potable water is very important for there is no drinkable water on the island and no restaurants available.
On the island, there are cottages available for rent, but these cottages are in first-come-first-serve basis, no reservations, but you can bring your tent and pitch on the area you spotted on the island. The locals also built shared grilling area, where you can cook and grill your foods. There are also public working toilets available, but do not expect city-quality toilets. There are water pumps that pumps water from the sea to be used for toilets.
After several hours of waiting for other groups, we departed from Palompon at around 2PM and arrived on the island an hour after. Expect big waves on the way to the island.
I got a mixed feeling when we arrived on the island. I was in awe when I saw the island but a bit disappointed when I saw the crowd. One of my friend said that it is no more the same island he went way back before the island became mainstream. If you have plans to visit the island, please do your share in preserving the beauty and cleanliness of the island. Sadly, there are plastic trash and liquor bottles already scattered on the beach.
Schedule your trip on the island on the days where the weather is good and the moon is on leave, and you’ll be blessed by the heart melting view of the glitters in the sky. The island also features stunning sunset and a majestic sunrise.
On the following day, we got up early and roamed around and enjoyed the island. Expect crowds taking selfies on the sand bar. The waters are crystal clear and the sand is clear white. Be careful though when swimming because there are riptides on the island. There were also cases of drowning and even death on the island.
05:00 Assembly at Cebu City Port
06:30 ETD from Cebu to Ormoc via Ocean Jet (500php + 25php terminal fee)
09:30 ETD from Ormoc to Palompon via van (110php)
11:00 ETA Palompon (225php tourist fee)
14:00 ETD from Palompon to Kalanggaman island (220php)