This time, I planned to surprise my badi with a trip to Kalanggaman Island, Leyte. It recently circulated around my social media and I thought, maybe we should go. The island looks great, and I hope he will like it there. I didn't tell him where we'd go, though. He threw a bunch of guesses, and he actually got it right(but i just put on a poker face).
The boat ride going to the island from Palompon costs 3,000 php for the round trip. The boat can accommodate 10 people, so it would be better if you can find other people to join you and split the fee.
NOTE: This trip only accounts our adventure. It is not the best way to go there. For a guide, please click on the TL;DR button below.
Kalanggaman Island is found in Leyte. So the first step is to go there. We went there by getting on a Roble ship bound to Ormoc. Roble has several sections to choose from depending on your budget. The Economy class tickets are around 400 php. The double bunk beds for this section are found on the deck and in open air. The whole deck is shared by the passengers, so there's no privacy. The next section, the tourist class, is at 550 php. These are similar to the economy but on an airconditioned room. The cabin section is at almost 1,000 php per ticket and it is good for six people. The V.I.P. Room is for two and costs 2,000 per room. We bought tickets for tourist before hand. In the port, we paid for the terminal fee at 25 php each.
The whole duration for the trip going to Ormoc is 6 hours. We decided to just kick back and relax. The beds in the tourist section were a bit small for comfort, but the soft rumbling of the ship and the cold air lulled us to drowsiness. It was already 10 P.M. when the boat departed and most passengers on board were sleepy as well. After securing our stuff, we rested and closed our eyes. The ferry was scheduled to arrive in Ormoc at 4 A.M. When we arrived, we decided to stay for an hour since vans going to Palompon start appearing at 5 A.M.. We were on our way to the ship's canteen when we found a dear friend aboard.
On the other side of the Ormoc port is the terminal. There were already food stalls open outside where we ate breakfast and bought a canister of butane. You can can bring your portable stove with you to Kalanggaman island but remember, when boarding from ports, you're not allowed to bring the gas-filled canisters.
We then took a van going to Palompon. The fare is at 110 per person for the 1 hour 30 minute ride. The van will stop at the terminal which is right next to the public market. You can buy meat, fish, bread and drinks there. We bought 2 kilos of pork (one for Korean-ish style barbecue and the other to be grilled), some junk food and bread, coal, and drinks. The market is already bustling with people in the early morning.
After buying food, we took a pot-pot(pedicab) to the tourism office for 5 php each. But the funny thing is, the Tourism office was so close! You can just walk there for less than 5 minutes.
We entered and were greeted by the staff. They were friendly so you can go ahead and ask them your questions. The entrance fee for the island differs between a child, an adult, a senior, a local, and a foreigner. You can check our TL;DR for the rates. As for an overnight stay of 2 non-local adults, it costed us 225 per person.
There were people already around when we arrived. A group of 6 had the same plans; staying overnight and going home early in the morning. We were lucky!
We merged and split the 3,000 php pump boat fare for a round trip. Remember, you can't group up if you have different plans. If you are staying overnight, then you cant join other people that will go home on the same day. If it had only been the two of us, we could have paid 3,000 php, but between 8 people, we had a huge discount: 375 php each! Before leaving, the staff oriented us with what to do. They gave us 2 garbage bags: clear for biodegradable and black for non. She said that we need to bring those bags back when we get back to the island. They will look for it and collect it for proper disposal.
Going to the island from the main land takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.
You'll gradually see the island grow in front of your eyes as you approach the island. Just moments before we arrived, we saw the gorgeous white sand beach with it's tail-like sand bar. The sky was so clear and blue, it was mesmerizing. It was worth the wait.
We got off with our stuff. The staff also gave our group 2 5-gallon containers filled with tap water. This water is not for drinking. It's for washing hands, plates and the like. It is not enough to use for bathing too, so we used it sparingly.
There is no potable water on the island. There is no electricity as well. There were bathrooms with seawater if you want to bathe and remove annoying sands and for your flushing needs. There were cottages for rent. An open cottage costs 500 php. They also rent out plastic recliner chairs for 50 php each and tables, and chairs. They have grilling areas at both sides of the island, a volleyball court, and a small store where you can buy sodas and alcoholic drinks(no ice sold).
At 9:50 A.M., there were already people around. I'm guessing that they stayed the previous night. We hurriedly looked for a perfect spot to set up our tent. The camp-able area is a few meters way from the seashore. There were a lot of potential camp sites that are under trees. The trees are scattered around the place. There are Talisay trees, tall coconuts and the short stumpy ones. They are your main source of shade. The weather was too nice to us. The sun was glaring above , so the trees' shades were very welcomed. We chose the spot between two coconut trees.
There was a security staff on the island and other staff assigned to help the guests.
After setting up the tent, we prepared the meat for lunch and dinner.
After everything was prepared, we took a powernap under the shade.
From here on, the fun begins.
The night was clear...at first. The stars were amazingly visible. We began stargazing with the SkyView app for iOS. There were a lot of people who stayed on the island and camped with us.
We ate a late dinner because we were still full from lunch. At around 10 P.M., we saw that the sky was transforming as well. It darkened. We decided to call it a night and went to rest inside the tent. The next day we took a quick dip in the neverending sea. The sandbar was all ours.
We were picked up by the boat at 8:30 A.M. We found out that there was a Ferry from Palompon port going straight to Cebu. It was scheduled to depart at 9:00 A.M., but when we got there, they said that it would wait until 10 A.M. So we went to take a quick shower in the Tourism Office(for free). We hastened up, hoping we could still reach the ferry, but when we found the ticketing office, it started to move.
Our only option was to go back to Ormoc and take a SuperCat to Cebu. We went back to the terminal(which was in front of the Palompon Port) and took a van going back to Ormoc. When we got there, we bought tickets for 600 php each going back to Cebu.