The sandbar of Kalanggaman Island was filled with several beach frolickers and selfie masters. We deviated and went away from the crowd; we escaped and got lost. And then we discovered another sandbar. But there was a problem; we needed to swim to get there. My buddies dismissed the idea right away as I was prepping for the short swim. Quickly, I ran off the rocky side of the beach and started paddling and treading until I reached the deserted sandbar. I ran like a kid in a toy store and could've done a few cartwheels if I could.
We booked a Tacloban flight not thinking about Kalanggaman Island. It was an impulse decision to include it in our quick trip. We endured the 3-hour ride to Palompon, a town in Leyte, grabbed a few stuff that we needed for the day trip and hopped on to a boat to paradise (you can catch a van going to Palompon at Abucay Terminal in Tacloban City for P150).
We were at the Eco-tourism office on Palompon Port around five in the morning and registered for a day tour. Entrance fees differ depending on your place of origin and length of stay. We also had to pay a 15-seater boat (we’re only six in the group) for it was the smallest one. It was kinda steep, I know, but we had to follow the regulations (I would suggest to share your boat with other groups with the same itinerary as yours so you can save a bit).
If langgam in Tagalog is ant, it is a bird in Cebuano. The island was named as such for its aerial shot resembles that of a bird with outstretched wings (It has two sandbars). Another story was that the island was inhabited with different species of birds before visitors dominated the island. Whatever it was, we were ready to conquer Kalanggaman Island which I heard was one of the best uninhabited islands in this part of the country.
The one-hour boat ride was calm at the break of dawn. We spotted the island early on and enjoyed the great view of Leyte’s mountainous area and the serene sea. The blindingly white sand against the clear water in almost all shades of blue met us as we docked our boat on the shore.
With a day’s worth of food and booze, we scouted for our base camp and started to pitch our tent (as if we needed it). My mom was with us so she took charge of the food prep. No effort on grilling and stuff, we just bought some good old lechon baboy, grilled chicken and more.
The scorching hot early morning sun was starting to set ablaze as I tried to walk towards the sandbar. More and more guests were arriving in big batches.
The contrasting rocky shore on the other side was empty; perfect for those selfie masters around but no one seemed to bother to go there. I left the group, went further and found myself a spot and sat on a slab of rock. I was thinking of swimming but no, it was too dangerous.
I wanted to be alone at the sandbar but I knew it wouldn't happen. I walked away and planned on checking it out when everyone got tired of it (which didn’t happen at all).
My mom was lazily lounged on a day bed while browsing on her tablet (cellphone signals were intermittent). I convinced her to walk around but said she wanted to just stay there and relish the moment, whatever that was. So I went with my buddies as we explore the other side.
We walked passed through a dozen or so tents and hammocks before it hushed. The cool summer breeze and the tall coconut trees were too relaxing. We walked some more and found a paradise.
There's this rocky side of the beach and a number of vines sprawling over the white sand. I passed through those and found another sandbar. It wasn’t as stretched as the other one but it was equally beautiful and strikingly white. I then asked my buddies if it’s a good idea to swim over there to check it out but neither one of them agreed.
I started to prep for the swim and ran towards the shore thinking that they would be following after me. But no, they just nodded in approval of my crazy ideas.
I paddled and treaded my way to the sandbar. The undercurrent was strong (do not attempt this if you don’t know how to swim, please) which made the swim harder. But I reached it, safely. I then ran like a kid, could’ve done a cartwheel if I could and just laid there for a while. Happiness!
We went back to our base camp and started the beer sesh, at nine in the morning. That perfect moment made our almost 30-degreeish beer bearable. We had a little chitchat, tried the clear water, more booze, snorkelled a bit, more booze and swim.
We had lunch, a bit of nap time, more booze and food and then it’s time.
We started to pack away at three in the afternoon. More guests were still coming, and leaving, as we settled on our boat. We had a little buzz from the warm beer so we lazed while we battled the waves going back to Palompon.
And then someone mentioned that we didn’t even get close to the sandbar. We spent almost 9 hours on the island and never went to the stretched sandbar; laughter everywhere.
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