Contributed by Camera and Cheese
Does Kalanggaman ring a bell to you? This island has been getting a lot of attention recently. I’m here to tell you that yes, THE.HYPE.IS.REAL. I am an avid fan of this virgin island having been there five times already. It was only recently when I realised that I haven’t written about it yet. So beach, please! If you want to plan a trip to Kalanggaman, this will be the perfect travel guide for you.
Kalanggaman Island is the pride of the municipality of Palompon, Leyte, and it is managed by the Palompon ECO Tourism Office. It has a length of only 753 metres according to Sea Explorers Philippines, and it is uninhabited. It is a small white sand island and is surrounded by beautiful and crystal clear waters.
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Pre-registration can make or break your would-be great vacation in Kalanggaman especially on peak season a.k.a. summer. This is a very crucial step. You have to call the Palompon ECO Tourism Office to make sure that you can get a boat to the island. The management is also trying to limit visitors to only 300 a day.
If you showed up on the spot, or you were told that the island is fully booked yet you decided to go anyway, you might still have a chance of getting accommodated but you will be a chance passenger. If other groups would agree to let you ride the boat with them, you are lucky.
Landline: +63 (053) 555-9731
Mobile: +63 917 303 7269 or +63 917 303 7267
Tip: There are only fifteen cottages in the island as of today. Reservation of cottages are not allowed and you can only get one on a first-come-first-serve basis.
- There is no hotel, resort or inn in Kalanggaman. It is too small of an island to accommodate such buildings.
- There is only one small store on the island with very limited supplies – beer, soap, shampoo, and more beer!
- There is no electricity on the island. However, solar lamp posts have recently been installed.
- Bonfire, loud music, generator and sound system are prohibited on the island.
- Yes, smoking and drinking liquor are allowed.
- There is no fresh water (for bathing) except for a limited number of about three to six water jugs that the boatmen can lend your group. Use the water wisely. I usually use the water to bathe because I hate the sticky feel that salt water leaves on my skin. On the other side, if you don’t use the water, you’ll get that beach hair that you’ve always wanted!
- There are six decent unisex bathrooms/toilets on the island. Do not expect too much, the island is not a resort.
- There are caretakers and policemen stationed on the island. Safety has never been an issue for me.
- Swimming in the area near the sandbar is prohibited because it is deadly, no joke.
How long should I stay?
To maximise your stay, I highly suggest that you spend a night or two on the island. Although many people visit the island for a day tour, I think that you would be able to appreciate it more if you stay and camp overnight.
What should I bring?
Food and Utensils
The amount of food that you will bring should depend on the duration of your stay. If you will not spend the night, then you can prepare breakfast (if you are to arrive early) and lunch. If you plan to stay overnight, I suggest you prepare for at least four meals – lunch and dinner for the first day, and breakfast and lunch for the day after. You will, of course, have to bring more if you plan to stay for two nights. I highly recommend that you buy food items before arriving in Palompon. Do not bring foods that are easily perishable. Instead, bring foods that you can reheat and that will survive for at least 24 hours. If you have time to spare, you can also explore the local market for spices and seafood. As for water and other drinks (wink for the booze lovers), you can buy them when you get to town. Also, to increase the “shelf life” of your food, bring a cooler and buy blocks of ice. Here are some food items that I suggest you can bring:
- Fresh fish from the local market in Palompon
- Marinated pork or chicken for barbecue
- Shrimp and/or crab
- Canned goods for breakfast
- Cookies for dessert
- Uncooked rice
Do not forget to bring utensils for eating. It would be best to buy disposable so you do not have to worry about washing dishes. Also, I always bring my portable stove so we can cook rice and breakfast, and reheat our food. If you have one, make sure to bring at least two bottles of butane. And do not forget to bring cooking utensils especially a knife! You do not need to worry about grilling food because the island has a facility for it. You just need to buy charcoal.
Clothes and other personal items
Bring out your swimming suits and beach attires! Do not forget to bring your sun screen. You do not have to worry about mosquitoes as there are not many in the island. I would also suggest that you bring a first aid kit and personal medications. And of course, bring other personal items such as underwear, other clothing, toiletries and towel.
If you plan to stay overnight, a tent is your best friend. You can also bring a sleeping bag, hammock and mat (optional). I have a sleeping bag that doubles as a hammock so that is what I always bring with me. You can literally sleep under the stars, in fact, you can skip the tent if you are feeling adventurous. However, keep in mind that it gets really cold at night. Flashlights and power banks have also proved to be extremely helpful at night.
So many people ask me how much they will have to prepare to go to Kalanggaman. The amount you will need will depend on the number of people in your group, assuming that you are with a group. I estimate that you would need more or less Php 2,000.00 for everything – food, entrance, cottage, boat and transportation. I have spent almost this amount on my last two trips when I travelled with friends (ranging from 10 to 13 people). Details on the budget will be shared below.
There are many ways you can get to Kalanggaman Island. I’d like to talk about a few of them here. I might not be able to note directions from where you are coming from but feel free to ask me questions and I’ll try my best to answer you.
From Tacloban City
Most travellers pass through Tacloban City first before going to Palompon especially if they are coming in from Luzon and Mindanao. From Tacloban, you can either commute by bus or van (more convenient) and ride at the New Bus Terminal, Barangay 91-Abucay or rent a van all to yourself. One seat costs Php 150.00 if you commute by van. If you decide to rent a van, you will have to pay that price times the number of seats (18) so that’s Php 2,700.00 per trip inclusive of fuel and driver. Other companies outside the terminal will charge you for about Php 3,000.00 to Php 4,000.00 depending on your bargaining powers. If you have your own car, it is faster to travel via Matag-ob. Travel time ranges from two to three hours.
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I suggest that you leave Tacloban around 5:00 am. You will arrive at Palompon around 8:00 am and leave to the island at 9:00 am so you can do some last-minute shopping. By showing up early, you will be prepared in case of unexpected events and you will have higher chances of scoring a cottage!
From Cebu City
You can ride a slow boat overnight and arrive at Palompon at around 3:00 am. Or you can ride a fast craft from Cebu to Ormoc then ride a van to Palompon. Travel time from Ormoc to Palompon is about an hour and a half.
#5 Arrival in Mainland and Travel to Kalanggaman Island
When you reach the port, you will see a building especially made for tourism. Staffs are there to greet and orient you. And there is a lounge for people who are waiting for their boats to arrive. Before anything else, you have to check-in at the counter and list the names and other details of your companions. A staff will then let you know if your boat is ready. When you are set to sail, a staff will orient you about rules to follow. They give emphasis on proper waste disposal to maintain the cleanliness of the island.
Travel time from mainland to Kalanggaman Island ranges from 45 minutes to an hour. On the way, watch out for flying fishes and if you’re lucky, you might even see dolphins! If you ever get bored, take pictures, listen to music or take a short nap.
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Entrance or Conservation Fee (Philippine Peso)
|Regular Rate (Day Tour)||Overnight Rate|
|Non-Palompon College Student||40||60|
|Non-Palompon High School Student||30||45|
|Non-Palompon Elementary Pupil||20||30|
|Non-Palompon Senior Citizen||120||180|
Private Pumpboat (Philippine Peso)
|Price||Capacity (Max. no. of persons)|
Cottage (Philippine Peso)
This travel guide would not be complete without a price list so you can come up with your budget. You’re welcome.
I will assume that you are travelling with at least ten people, that you are coming from Tacloban City and you commuted (because it’s the cheapest option).
|Boat||350||We always book the 25 capacity boat because it is big enough to accommodate our other things and it is relatively safer than smaller boats|
|Entrance Fee||225||Assuming that you are an adult from the Philippines and that you are staying overnight|
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I hope I have all the important information that you need for your trip to Kalanggaman Island. As always, if you have questions, you can ask me by commenting below. Let me know how your trip went! Chao!