“Kalanggaman” is a double meaning word because this island is located near Cebu and “langgam” means bird. But it might also a tagalog word “langgam” which is ant because the island is home of so many ant colony all over the island.
Lately, Christmas season has become typhoon season in the Philippines, so planning trips has been very challenging. Good thing I overheard my Ate talking about going to Kalanggaman with her friends and needed extra headcount to split the cost of the trip. I have heard/read a lot of great feedbacks and blogs about this place so I decided to go with them. I just contributed P1,500 to the group and don’t know how much exactly we spent for accommodation, food and transportation during the trip.
Before finalizing your plan or itinerary to Kalanggaman Island, call first the Palompon’s Ecotours Office for reservation of pump boat and for other important inquiries, especially if you’re going there on peak season like summer and holiday seasons. You may call their Booking Service Desk Officer, Mr. Montebon at +639173037269 or check Palompon’s website.
Upon arrival in Palompon look for the Eco-tourism Office which is located adjacent to Palompon’s Municipal Hall and in front of Liberty Park.
Where is Kalanggaman Island?
Kalanggaman Island is located in the municipality of Palompon, province of Leyte, Philippines. It is an hour boat ride from the town proper of Palompon.
We came from Catbalogan, Samar so it was a long, indeed (a very long) trip to get to Palompon. For more information on how to get there, click here.
The seven-hour-butt-flattening trip was almost worth it, but we came short because we arrived in Palompon past 5 PM and we were no longer allowed to go to the island. However, the sunset view from Palompon mainland made me forget how sore my butt was. The sunset was just breathtaking! The sky was painted orange and blue that was reflected on the calm sea water. We had a busy background, but a moment standing there felt so serene. The boats on the shore made the whole picture perfect and postcard worthy.
Where to stay
Since there is no available boat to Kalanggaman, we stayed at Pacci House in Palompon for ₱300 per head.
The good thing about staying overnight in Palompon is we were able to rest, bath, had a good dinner and recharge our phones and cameras.
Take note of these things when deciding to stay at the island overnight:
- There are no restaurants, much more hotels/rooms on the island.
- Overnight camping is allowed for a fee. Bring your own tents and camping equipments.
- There is no electricity in the island.
- There is a public restroom with saltwater.
- There is a tourism officer/police assigned on the island 24/7 who maintains order and enforce rules imposed by the local Tourism Office.
- There is mobile phone signal on the island.
Location: Rizal Street.
Available Amenities: Function Hall, Internet, Telephone Services, Air conditioned Rooms/Dormitories
Dormitory type : ₱300/head
Single Room : ₱650/head
Twin Room : ₱800/head
Where to eat
On their public market, there are many barbeque stands and the range of food is from ₱5 to ₱40.
Some of the stores open early in case you want to have a coffee or Choco the next day.
During our brief stay in Palompon, I paid attention to their automated machines. They have ATMs (Automated Tubig Machine) and Videoke-style Wi-Fi? So, if you are in need of internet connection, there will be no worries. Solution is just a coin away.
The Main Event
We woke up as early as 4pm to prepare for our trip to the island. We bought all our food and drinking supplies from the market before we left the mainland.
The public market and food stalls were already open as early as 4 AM so we were able to buy rice (puso), grilled chicken (both pre-ordered the night before the trip) and had a light breakfast before going to the island. We also bought fish for a bargain price from a fish peddler and few kilos of pork meat at the public market, which we planned to grill on the island.
The EcoTourism Office (regulated) arranges the trips to the island and rate is standard. Tourists are advised to call the Palompon’s Ecotours office to book for a pump boat or ask the officer if they can arrange to share a boat with other passengers to save money. I repeatedly mentioned this as there had been cases where tourists were not accommodated the day they intended to visit the island (just like us), or due to influx of tourists they have to plan/schedule extra trips to the island. The commissioned pump boats are anchored at the back of Eco-tours office. The Ecotours Office will also provide you with portable water for P20 per 5-gallons. We bought extra water with us because we were a large group and we also needed water for cleaning the fish and pork.
What I liked most about the involvement of the EcoTours Office is that they also conducted a short orientation about the island (what to expect), the do’s and don’ts (take nothing but pictures, don’t throw or bury your trash on the island), and even provided trash bags( one for biodegradable and another for non-biodegradable.
They will account items lent to you so make sure you return the trash bags and water can when you get back to the mainland.
This is the first time I toured a place/island that enforces this regulation and I think other municipalities/tourist destinations should enforce the same.
The travel time is about an hour, but the sea was ferocious as there was a PLA in the northern part of the Philippines. A day prior to the trip, we checked AccuWeather for the weather forecast and this was the only day of the week free from rain and thunderstorms and thank goodness it was, indeed, accurate. The sea is violent even if it is sunny and no strong winds.
After a seesaw ride and a drizzle of rain and salt water, we finally saw the mesmerizing beauty of the islet – way beyond my expectations!
It looked splendid in photos, but the first-hand experience at the island was overwhelming. The turquoise calm water, the pristine white sand, the long stretch of the sand bar on the right and the island bar on the left. I fell in love with the island instantly and at first I didn’t know where to start our stroll.
What to Do?
Explore the island. We started on the limestone rock formations at the back side of the island; then to the sandbar to the right. It took us a while to reach the end of the sandbar and we might have taken over 50 photos by then.
There is also an island bar on the left side of the island, cross when the tide is low.
Enjoy the breeze of the ocean under the cool shades of the dwarf coconut trees.
Experience a fulfilling (boodle fight) meal. There is a grilling station at the back Ecotourism/Police office. Make sure you bring your own grilling supplies.
Swim, snorkel and dive and swim more.
There are kayaks and aqua cycle for rent (which we never did because we were too busy taking photos and we strolled the whole island)
Take Pictures. Bring a GoPro camera to capture the panoramic view of the island. Take a lot of photos and share! Change your profile photo (Yes, there is a mobile phone signal in the island).
We took a bath at the restrooms on the island, but the water won’t suffice for the whole group so some of us took a bath at tourism office when we got back to the mainland.
The island that I only saw from my friends posts is now real. However his time, it is not the same, there was still evidence of the destruction brought by super typhoon Yolanda.