Nothing will ever prepare you for the beauty that is Kalanggaman Island.

Even now, as I write, I'm having a lot of difficulties in describing our experience in the island dubbed as Leyte's hidden gem. All I know is if you want to scratch that wanderlust that's been bugging you for days, grab a tent, an overnight bag and lots of fresh water. Are you ready? Let's go. 

Start by grabbing a bus at the North Bus Terminal. Mariel, our haggler extraordinaire (see her work her genius in our Moalboal and Malapascua trips) has outdone herself this time by booking an entire Ceres bus for us. I don't know how she did it, but we had a good 40-seater bus to ourselves so I'm not complaining. From there, it's a 2hr trip to Bogo where we stopped at Nailon port, an out-of-the-way dock where our boat waited.

Traveling to Kalanggaman is the epitome of "the more the merrier". There were about 60 of us on this trip. Yes. 60. That's not a typo. Traveling via Cebu is much faster but you have to pakyaw a boat, so it's better if you have 59 other people to split the bill with. ;) Or you can always take a Fastcraft to Palompon. 


At last, we arrive! Overcast skies threatened to spill rain on our island parade but even that didn't stop us from appreciating the beauty of that long, long sandbar jutting out to that clear aquamarine sea. Whew, what a way to take your breath away.

Tents are cheaper than ever. The ones in Metro Ayala range from around 500-800php

And then there were tents. My favorite part about this trip was there weren't any accomodations. Kalanggaman is the land for many a happy camper. No fancy establishments. Just you, the sand, the sea and a tent. The lack of indoor plumbing is the greatest equalizer of all! 

Ang beefloaf ng parmamahal, as one of our companions called it

And then of course, there's the issue of food. Along with the lack of fresh water, there aren't any carinderias or restos in the island. Be a good scout and mind to bring a portable gas stove (butane, anyone?), lots of canned goods and puso. Since we were a huge group, we also brought gallons of water fo drinking, a mini sack of rice, actual utensils and lots of meat for grilling. Also keep in mind that Kalanggaman doesn't have electricity, so don't forget to pack a flashlight, a portable solar-powered bulb or even some torches

Their bathrooms run on saltwater, so it's also wise to bring in an extra gallon if you can spare one, just so you can rinse off after a day in the beach. Or, you can make do with wet wipes. A lot of wet wipes. 

In the beginning it sure felt like we've gone to a relocation site after a nasty typhoon but when you're in island paradise with wonderful company, it's hard to complain. Just think of it as Survivor: Kalanggaman and you'll be fine. :)

Once we got settled in and fed, it was finally time to explore.

"The island's real cool and all but first let me take a selfie. Of me taking  selfie"

It hasn't escaped my notice that Kalanggaman is quite a popular destination lately, but it didn't prepare me for the number of tourists camped out in the island. And there are a lot of us. Tents are usually pitched under palm trees on the main island. There's an abundance of  selfie sticks and people who love taking selfies. The languages you overhear vary from Bisaya, Tagalog, Waray and the odd German here and there. Funny enough, I didn't find the population intoxicating. Seeing as there wasn't electricity in the island, we were spared from the horrors of  bad karaoke so that's good enough for me. 

Rainbows? Seriously? If this isn't paradise idk what it is.

Kalanggaman has exquisite waters. Clear as glass. A word of warning though, the very tip of the sandbar leads to an 8 to 10 foot drop just steps away from the actual shore so if you're not a very good swimmer, be very careful. I sure had a wonderful time trying to trick one of the friends into riding on a salbabida with me just love leave them in the middle of the deep. Loljk! But partly true. :D
 The island police warned us of some current as well. But other than that, it was a very good place to just float around and swim.

While the sandbar is blessed with picture-perfect, powder-white sand, the other side of the island is full of uneven rocks. Not many people come in here but this is one of the island's quieter sanctuaries. Find an open cottage and lie around while a gentle breeze lulls you too sleep. It is the exact definition of hayahay

 While the sun and sand where stunners, what stood out to be the winner was the sunset. It is every photographer's #nofilter daydream come to life.

As night time draws near, don't forget to keep all your food secure from some rodents. Yes, there are. But it's okay, they're not evil. I think. 

Sleep outside your tent. Count the stars you can't see from the city. Draw a breath of fresh night air and get ready to have fun all over again the next day. :)

I think the beauty of Kalanggaman is that it doesn't offer much to do. You just simply have to relax and enjoy the company of friends and nature. There aren't any ziplines or guided tourist tours or adrenaline-rushing 4x4s or fancy-shmancy bars with drinks with little umbrellas in them. Kalanggaman is, even amidst throngs of tourists, literally down-to-earth chill. And I hope it stays that way. With it's increasing popularity, I'm afraid it will become some weird, commercialized tourist trap and lose its simple charm. It could use a some fresh running water, yes, but I guess that's all the change I'd wanna make from this little island. Aside from that, it is perfect. A little out of the way, but still, all worth your while.

Of course, a good summer get-away won't be complete without a corny jumpshot! Ha! :)

Before long, it was time to say goodbye. This is always the hardest part. Survivor Kalanggaman commenced because we couldn't stand not bathing in fresh water anymore. Haha! But what I wouldn't give to come back and have some good summer fun again!

Visit Kalanggaman with a whole lot of your friends this summer, and see what I'm talking about. :)

Until next time! :)

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