Let me first share a little trivia. Did you know that the Cebuano term "langgam" means bird? I was browsing the web when I chanced upon this islet located in the western part of Leyte. The islet have sandbars on both tips resembling the wings of a bird. Probably the reason why it got the name Kalanggaman.
After more research, I invited some friends to explore the island last May 2012. We rendezvous at the municipality of Palompon. After registering with the tourism office and securing our boat, we went around the market to buy our supplies, food and water.
Approaching Kalanggaman Island
We were overwhelmed as we approach the island. The turquoise sea and crystal water was so inviting, I wanted to jump even before we reach the shore. The white sand extends from one sandbar to the end of the other sandbar. Is this paradise or what?
Docking at Calanggaman
Registration in this cottage
One of us ran on the beach immediately after docking on the front side of the island while the rest of us carried our stuff down from the boat. One of the caretakers approached us to check if we have registered with the tourism office and to see if we wanted to rent a hut. After settling everything, we started to pitch our tents and prepared our food. There are no accommodations available and no electricity there. It was a perfect getaway from the stress, the noise and the pollution one has to endure in the city.
White Sand Beach
The powdery and pearly white sand reminded me of Calaguas Island. The islet is inhabited and maintained by the municipality of Palompon. There are only a few structures in the island, namely, some huts and a big cottage where the caretakers stay. The influx of tourist is controlled to retain the beauty of this natural wonder.
The dwarf coconut trees, lined up 15 meters from the shore provided enough shade and a steady trunk to tie a hammock. The east side which leads to the first sandbar is flat and wide enough to play beach volleyball or "patintero" . There is also a wooden watchtower so the caretakers can see the activity on this side of the island.
It was the longest sandbar I have seen. It took me a while to reach the end. Turbulent waves push the crystal clear water on one side while the other side was unexpectedly calm.
Back Side of the Island
Flat limestone covered most of the shore on the other side. This goes all the way to the shorter and narrower second sandbar on the other tip of the islet. The other side is also less frequented by tourist. If you intend to be by yourself, this is probably where you would want to stay to swim or watch the sun make the sand shine like pearls when hit by its rays. Just make sure somebody knows you are there.
Other Activities at Calanggaman
There are kayaks and aqua cycle in the island, though we did not ask how much the rent was.
Sunset facing Cebu Province
The island boasts of a magnificent sunset which made my day.
We spent another day in the island and savored its unspoiled and unique charm. It was an excellent and off-beat destination to clear my mind and recharge my soul. The island is also a haven for birds hence the name Kalanggaman Island.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Palompon, Leyte (see map) is the jump-off to Kalanggaman Island. Register and pay the fees at the tourism office. They will also assist you with your boat. Check rates here. It is a 1-hour boat ride from the mainland to the islet.
The nearest airport is in Tacloban City. Take the van going to Palompon. Fare is Php 150. The ride takes approximately 2-3 hours. Alight at the van terminal and ask for directions going to the tourism office.
If you are coming from Cebu City, take the SuperCat or Weesam Express going to Ormoc. Fares can be check here. The ferry ride takes 2 hours. From Ormoc, take the van going to Palompon. Fare is Php 110.
There are also trips from Malapascua Island. For a minimum of eight persons at Php 800 each, there are boats trips going directly to Kalanggaman. You will probably be joined with other tourist just to complete the minimum number. Trip is around 2 hours
There are rental boats from Bogo City, if you are coming Bantayan Island or somewhere in North Cebu.
Go all the way to Tacloban City or drive to Palompon via Northern Leyte. Check the road map here.
For more info on how to get to Calanggaman and other travel arrangements, you can contact:
Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours
Tel: (053) 325.8582
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- The island is bare. There are a couple of wooden cottages for rent, with tables and chairs.
- Bring your tents and camping equipment. There are no rooms for accommodation/overnight stay on the island.
- There is a public restroom with saltwater. Request from the tourism office to provide you with portable water for Php 20 per 5-gallons.
- Buy all your food and drinking supplies from the market before you leave the mainland.
- There is no electricity in the island. So conserve your batteries and bring a power bank. Bring cook sets and burners to cook your food. There are areas in the islet to grill your food.
- Mobile phone signal from the major phone providers is decent.
- The coast guard does not allow boats to leave the mainland in the late afternoon. Make sure to be in Palompon in the morning.
- There is one decent restaurant where you can eat before you go to the islet and when you get back in the mainland.
- You can take a bath at the tourism office when you get back in the island.
- Security is not a problem, there is a tourist police assigned here 24/7.
- The tourism office will give you two trash bags, one for biodegradable and another biodegradable. Make sure to bring both when you get back to the mainlad, the tourism office will ask it from you.
- The last trip going back to Tacloban City is 12:00PM (noon), so be sure to be at the terminal before by 11:30AM. If in case you miss the van going to Tacloban, you will need to hire a van (if you are a group) or go to Ormoc City. The last trip from Ormoc is 3:00PM. It takes an hour to get to Ormoc, just ask from the locals how to get a ride going there.
WHERE TO GO NEXT?
Check out this options north of Palompon:
Chasing Waterfalls: Tinago Falls of Biliran
Chasing Waterfalls in Almeria, Biliran: Ulan-ulan and Recoletos Falls
Sambawan Island: The Pride of Biliran
The Unchartered Dalutan and Capinahan Islands of Almeria