Kalanggaman Island – A weekend getaway

The Philippines is blessed with thousands of islands with arrays of the best beaches in the world. One is the little island called Kalanggaman Island. Kalanggaman – which means “where birds are” in the bisaya dialect. The island is a small island with an extended stretch of a pure white sandbar. Pairing its famous sandbar are the pristine waters on both ends of the island. The island is located in the Municipality of Palompon, Leyte in the Visayas region of the Philippines.

 

Island life.

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. Lying on the beach, enjoying the sun, caressed by the sea breeze and lulled by the waves by the day, and late night talks with friends or solo meditation and pondering thoughts while gazing at the stars by night. A relaxing and stress-free thought that’s way too different from what most of our daily lives really are.

 

The getaway planned through few bottles of beer.

It all started with a stressful weekday. Corporate stress and all the work-related headaches brought me and my friends to meet on a Friday night. It was all just the casual get-together drinking and eating out kind of night. We laughed and talked for several hours. I can’t remember how but boom, just like that, we then decided to head to the said island on the next few hours. Since we finished our drinks at around 2 AM, we were left with just a few hours to prepare our things. We met back at the city port by 5 AM.

kalanggaman island

We boarded the earliest trip of the fastest craft available, Ocean Jet, that would take us to Ormoc City 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 of walk away from the public market where the van terminal is also located.

 

Kalanggaman Island.

kalanggaman islandFor 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. Patience and communication are the keys. 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 on a 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 pump sea water for the toilets.

 

Meeting the island for the first time.

kalanggaman islandAfter several hours of waiting for other groups, we departed from Palompon at around 2 PM 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 friends said that it is no more the same island he went way back before the island became mainstream. Sadly, there are trash and liquor bottles already scattered on the beach. If you have plans to visit the island, please do your share in preserving the beauty and cleanliness of the island. Practice LNT (Leave No Trace).

Schedule your trip to 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.

kalanggaman island
the criss-cross waves on the tip of the island

There were also cases of drowning and even death on the island.

 

ITINERARY: (Expenses as of February 2016)

  • 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)
  • 15:00   ETA Kalanggaman Island

 

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