Whew!

Kalanggaman Island!

Finally!

I first heard about this island in the late 90′s when the family used to spend Holy Week at Duwahon Island in Villaba, Leyte. I remember Jun Burgos, a close friend, mention Kalanggaman (also spelled, Calanggaman) but not without a forewarning – the island, he said, is farther west and crossing can be dangerous during non-summer months when the sea gets rough. Moreover, the island is bare, with hardly any vegetation or trees for shade; no water source, nothing but white sand and crystal clear waters around it. Jun hastened to add, Kalanggaman then was a mere stop-over point for fishermen…

On two occasions on a trip to Malapascua, Cebu (first, coming from Villaba and on the second trip, from Tabango, Leyte) the pumpboat we took passed by near Kalanggaman, but not that close – all I was able to see from afar was the white sand, and yes, there was vegetation after all – a couple of coconut trees.

Years later, I would hear stories about more and more camping enthusiasts able to get to Kalanggaman and they all had common things to say: Paradise. Unspoiled and crystal clear waters. White powdery sand.

I was full of envy.

I knew it, though, that someday I would have the chance to see for myself Kalanggaman.

And the day finally came, unplanned like out of nowhere, and I was invited to go with an assessment team commissioned by the Department of Tourism Head Office from Manila to go visit the island.

We went there yesterday, Tuesday, February 22, 2011.

Indeed, the island is simply beautiful.

Kalanggaman Island is a sitio of Palompon, Leyte and its LGU (Local Government Unit) led by the mayor currently manages the place.

It lies about 15 kms from Palompon, which is on the western coast of Leyte, and less than midway between Leyte and Bogo City of the island of Cebu.

We took a big enough pumpboat which was a good thing as the water started to get rough 10 minutes out from Palompon. It was an hour’s trip – a rough ride most of the time, but nothing to be scared of. It was a “normal” thing, as one of the boat’s crew members sheepishly remarked.

The island is still bare although there are now structures built on it.

There are no provisions for accommodation/overnight stay in the island.

Those who stay overnight come ready with their tents and all.

There are a couple of picnic kiosks for rent, with tables and chairs.

There is a public Restroom.

Be forewarned though that there are no commercial stores, no restaurants there. So one has to bring own food and water provisions.

There is no electricity power in the island but we were told that it now has battery-powered lights at night and that solar panels, which would charge the batteries, have just arrived and would soon be installed.

Security is not a problem: there is a Police team assigned there 24/7.

Mobile phone signal from the major phone providers is good, so one is in touch with the rest of the world.

To those who love taking the less beaten path and being away, literally far from it all, nothing can be better than Kalanggaman Island.

It is nature at its island best!

GETTING THERE:

If coming from Manila, one needs to get first to either Tacloban City, Ormoc City (both in Leyte) or to Cebu City.

Palompon, Leyte is the jump-off point to Kalanggaman. Palompom is a 2-hour drive from Tacloban City; about 30-40 minutes drive from Ormoc City.

If coming from Cebu City, one can either take a slow boat or a fascraft to Ormoc City, or motor first to the northern part of Cebu (either to Bogo City or to  Malapascua Island), then take a boat or pumpboat to either straight to Kalanggaman or to Palompon.

There are daily boat trips plying the Cebu City-Palompon route; also Bogo City, Cebu-Palompon. If coming from Malapascua, Cebu, it’s a 1.5-hour pumpboat ride to Kalanggaman.

For more info on how to get there and other travel arrangements, please contact Ludette Ruiz of Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours:

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