Kalanggaman Island is a two-hour boat ride from the more renowned Malapascua Island. Barely a stretch of sand emerging from the blue of the Visayan Seas, and relieved by a spread of relatively young vegetation, Kalanggaman still deserves the distinction of being a main destination, especially for the nature tripper who would not have the island any other way.
The ride to Kalanggaman from Malapascua offers an opportunity to encounter the majestic cetaceans of the Visayan Seas. Dolphins are a regular sight in these waters and offer much-needed distraction from the long, seemingly endless ride to the heart of the ocean. You can also savor the sight of school of flying fishe during the long, drowsy boat ride.
Kalanggaman, typically part of package tours to Northern Cebu, belongs to the province of Leyte and Municipality of Palompon. It is actually closer to the western coasts of Leyte by an hour. During low tide, it emerges on the horizon as a dazzling white line capped by a row of coconut trees on one end. As you get closer, the sea turns to dark blue, to turquoise, to sparkling aquamarine (dotted with a darker shapes of coral reefs), to crystalline off the sand bars.
Kalanggaman’s sand is pure and white. There are entrances fees for visitors. A police team from Palompon regularly monitors this area, which was declared a marine sanctuary in 2009.
Amenities are limited to nipa huts designed for basic shelter, a public restroom, and non-potable water from a deep well. Other than these, the island is bare of man-made structures. Bring sunblock and shade to enjoy the expanse of sun-bleached sand. Young talisay trees recently planted provide little shade-very helpful if the huts are occupied.
Off the main islet are beaches dotted with flat rocks, which serve practically as dicks for Kalanggaman’s snorkeling areas. Otherwise, the sprawling coast is sandy. Typical of sandy islets and shallow coral beds, there less fish, but visibility is assured. You can find in these waters pristine hard corals and gorgonian fans. I hear that wall diving is good at the drop-offs surrounding the island.
On both end are sandbars-ledges cutting into the sea, winding out far into the horizon. The water on one side of the sandbar would normally be choppy and on the other, glassy. Wondrously, the waves rise up on both sides of the sandbar when the tide comes in-wait for this moment and have your picture taken as a sort of tropical Moses parting the sea. At low tide you’ll see sand, sand and more sand, with occasional wave pools.
The sandbars, formed by water turbulence, change their shapes throughout the seasons. Kalanggaman Island will always have something new to offer to returning visitors. It can’t get any better than this. (J.L.)
(Story courtesy of Side Trip Travel Magazine and the article written by Jo Lontoc)