Guess what? Yep, we went back to Kalanggaman last weekend. Couldn’t say no to friends. ;)

So here are additional photos taken at the island gem.

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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.

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We attended an island wedding recently at Calicoan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

It was quality bonding time for the family. Time to unwind and destress. And definitely an opportune time to shoot anew the island’s teeming natural resources.

The island is still unspoiled and very tranquil.

Most photos were taken at the Surf Camp Resort.

View more photos and slideshow: http://gerryruiz.callezaragosa.com/p883649808

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We had visiting guests from California over the weekend and it was an opportunity for us to finally get to visit and see for ourselves a not-so-open secret anymore of a quiet hideway in Southern Leyte.

Traveling straight from the US of A, our guests arrived at NAIA early Saturday morning, then took a connecting flight for Tacloban. So after lunch at Rafael’s Farm in Babatngon we were off for the 3 1/2-hour drive to Macrohon, Southern Leyte.

We had a brief stop-over at the country’s tallest bridge, the Agas-agas Bridge in Sogod, So. Leyte, and we finally reached Kuting Reef around 7PM just in time for a sumptuous dinner.

After a long day, most of which was spent on the road, Kuting Reef was simply a cozy, relaxing haven to dig into.

The food was great; service was good and the staff are friendly and accommodating.

Those wanting to escape from the usual routine of web surfing and mobile phone SMS would love it here – mobile phone signals are almost non-existent, save for a few spots where one can freeze and do FB sneaks using the cellphone.

I had no doubt I would survive a weekend without the internet… and I was right. ;) What I was more worried about was when they turned on the huge projector screen and started showing “Just for Laughs” video…

Uh oh… could videoke be not far behind and ruin an otherwise quiet, perfect evening???

Well, the gods heard my prayers: no videoke here. Great. I hate videoke.

With special thanks to Raquel Nazario Espiritusanto who made this visit happen. ;) Thanks, Rocky!

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