Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Kalanggaman Island, Palompon Leyte

There is nothing more relaxing than a quiet moment with the natural world where you hear sounds of the waves lulling you to sleep. It is a stunning contrast of the bustling city full of jostling crowds and piercing noises of vehicles.

A few months ago, I and my former colleagues from work agreed to visit this beautiful beach island called “Kalanggaman” located in the municipality of Palompon in the province of Leyte. Ever since I heard about this picturesque destination, I can’t help but be in awe each time I search for it on the internet. It seems that the list of adjectives describing the place is never ending and the images are an enticement to my vivid imagination. It is said that it was called “Kalanggaman” (langgam a visayan word for bird) because the 2 opposite sand bars resemble wings of a bird hence the name.

The 5-hour boat ride via the Medallion Shipping leaves Cebu to Palompon 9:00pm and arrives at Palompon 2:00 am or 3:00 am depending on the hour the boat leaves Pier 4 due to unforeseen delays. The boat fare is P390 economy and P490 tourist accommodation. It would be best if you are a group of 10, to get the VIP room which can cater 10 persons equivalent to the value of 10 people paying for tourist accommodation.

Once you arrive early at the Port of Palompon (around 3am), you can stay and sleep while waiting for the time or you can opt to visit their “putohan” which is the best place to get puto (sweet sticky rice) at P10 per saucer plate and sikwate (local hot choco drink) at P5 per mug. It’s a perfect way to experience the local life in the raw.  

The first trip to Kalanggaman Island from Palompon Port via a banca is 5:30 am so as early as 5:00 am you need to go to their Eco-tourism office for the orientation and registration including payment of fees prior to riding the pump-boat. There are only 12 pump-boats (bancas) allowed to carry local and foreign tourists to the island since they restrict the number of visitors to 500 persons only per day. The reason is to keep the island from overcrowding so that tourists would be able to enjoy the place at its grandeur.

To promote the local government's solid wastes management program, the tourism office staff will give you 2 black plastic bags for garbage disposal purposes: biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes. The bangkero (boat-man) will ask for it before you leave the island so that they can dispose of the garbage properly. This is in line with the government’s campaign of not littering in the island to preserve its dainty splendor.

Getting here consist already half the adventure of the vacation because the 45 minute to 1 hr pumpboat ride going to Kalanggaman is a bumpy challenge; but it’s all worth it once you see from afar the attractive white fine sands on both ends even if you haven’t set your foot on it yet. 

Due to its powdery white sands, this strikingly attractive islet is said to be a top contender for the most beautiful beach in the Philippines which is home to a plethora of pristine beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. This captivating place brings summer to a whole new level.  It gives a different meaning to “basking in the sun” where you can be officially sun-kissed and time seems to be idle in this heavenly place. While being attracted to the island’s façade that is both remarkably beautiful and immensely eye-catching, the other side of the island is a bit stony and jagged. Nevertheless, it did not lessen the magnificence of the island itself.

There are cottages spread across the center of the island and 2 watch towers to keep an eye on the visitors/tourists. There are toilets cum shower which are not that clean but at least they have available comfort rooms ready for use. Also the whole of the island is powered by Solar Energy.

There is also a place designated only for grilling fish and meat. Activities in the island include kayaking, camping, swimming and strolling.

If you decide to stay overnight, the rate is different and you have to bring with you your own provisions such as tent for camping. No need to worry while sleeping at night because there are coast guards / police that are station on the island 24/7. However, if you opted for day use, the last trip from the island back to Palompon Port is 5pm.

Kalanggaman Island (Entrance / Conservation Fee)

Regular Rate Day Tour:

International Tourist - P500
Palompon Residents - P60
Non-Palompon Tourist - P150
Non-Palompon College Student - P40
Non-Palompon High School Student  - P30
Non-Palompon Elem. Pupil - P20
Non-Palomponganon Senior Citizen - P120

Overnight Rate:

International Tourist - P750
Non-Palompon Tourist - P225
Non-Palompon College Student - P60
Non-Palompon High School Student - P45
Non-Palompon Elem. Pupil - P30
Non-Palomponganon Senior Citizen - P180

Private Pump-boat:

P3000 - 15  capacities below
P3500 - 25 capacities below
P4000 - 30 capacities below



Kayaking Rate: 150 per hour (max of 3 persons)

Important Note: You have to call the Eco-Tourism Office of Palompon ahead of your scheduled trip to avoid inconvenience. Bring water for drinking as well and food.

For Inquiry and Reservation, please call:
Website: www.palompon-leyte.gov.ph              

Contact Persons:

Cleofe Paloma - Rivera
Municipal Tourism Officer
email: cleo_rivera@yahoo.com
mobile: +63 917 303 7267

Christopher Montebon
Booking Service Desk Officer     

Tents for Rent (Available in Palompon)

2P (two-person tent) – P200 / Night
4P (four-person tent)- P250 / Night

Deposit: Any ID (gov, employment, school)
SMS / Call: +639994566998
or message @kalanggaman directly through @Instagram
Meetups: Tourism Office Palompon, Leyte

How to get there:

Via Manila:

There are no direct flights from Manila to Palompon so the best way is via Tacloban which is approximately 2 hour bus ride to Palompon. Bus Fare is P80.

Via Cebu City:

You can either go there via Cokaliong Shipping Lines or Medallion. But since Cokaliong does not have a Saturday Schedule, you can go via Medallion Shipping.

Via Nailon Bogo, Polambato Bogo, Maya Bagay or Malapascua Island.

It would take 2-3 hours to the island from Bogo, Bantayan or Malapascua Island. Bus Fare Cebu City to Nailon Bogo is P120 (2 hrs travel time), Maya Bus Fare is P160 (3-4 hrs travel time) and Malapascua P180 (4 hrs to 5 hrs travel time)