Kalanggaman island – take a glimpse of paradise

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View of the island from the boat.
Kalanggaman Island has been all the rave recently, with all the videos and photos that everyone that has been sharing on social media. Thankfully, I am now one of them.

I was privileged enough to have traveled to Kalanggaman Island together with my friends. It took us less than Php 1500.00 to see the spectacular island, with a side trip to another famous island of Cebu, the Malapascua island.

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If you search Kalanggaman island on Google, the usual place people would take photos of is near the white sands and the sandbars. Only a few takes photos in this part of the island.
Kalanggaman is an island located in between Leyte and Cebu. It takes an hour long travel from Palompon or Villaba, Leyte and is 2 hours away if you’re traveling from the northern parts of Cebu (i.e Daan, Bantayan). What makes Kalanggaman amazing is that it has two sandbars. One for each end of the island. According to my friends who are from Ormoc. Leyte. Kalanggaman got its name from its form. If you are looking down the island, it looks like a “langgam” (visayan word for bird) and the sand bars acts as it’s wings.

Here are the things you need to prepare if you want to travel to Kalanggaman island on a tight budget.

1. Long hours of traveling

We took a devious trip to Kalanggaman. It’s not your typical route to Kalanggaman since we didn’t set foot to mainland Leyte (we came from Cebu city). We went to Daan, Bantayan, northern part of Cebu, the tip most part actually and from there, we took a pump boat to Kalanggaman Island.

To reach Daan Bantayan from Cebu city, you need to take a bus or van ride in the North Bus Terminal (info about the terminal here). Since our group consisted of 21 people, we opted to take 2 vans to Daan, Bantayan. If you want a faster trip than a regular bus ride entails (almost an hour and a half trip if you’re taking a van), then you should take a van instead. But I don’t usually recommend taking a van up north of Cebu because:

  • motion sickness

Drivers are reckless especially at night where there are lesser traffic to compete with. Plus if there are rough roads and curve roads, you will more likely to feel it compared to you taking a bus ride instead.

  • not enough leg space

I am not tall. I’m only 5’2″ and a half inches tall (yes, the half part counts). So I’m not one to complain to things such as insufficient leg space. So if by the time I complain about it, for sure it is really a problem.

  • fare is debatable

Unlike buses that have the exact prices when it comes to their fare, vans don’t have the exact prices. Our van agreed to a fare that seems fair. But the other van (the one that some in our group took) wasn’t informed by the agreed amount and insisted to pay a fare higher than what was agreed. Another thing is that if you take vans (especially those that are up for hire) is that there no student’s discount. Guess I’d have to pay the same fare as the rest.

  • no bus stops in between

If you’re taking a van, you don’t really need it because the trip is short enough that you can hold your bladder. But for those who needs to pee every hour, this is a pain in the a**. Unlike buses who have specific areas to stop and take a break.

When you reach Daan, Bantayan, ask the driver or the conductor (if you’re riding a bus) to drop you to where you could possibly take another ride to Maya wharf. Maya wharf is a small portion of the harbor for small pump boats going to Malapascua island or Kalanggaman island.

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Maya wharf.
From Maya wharf, we then took a pump boat to take us directly to Kalanggaman Island (2 hour long trip).

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21 people ready to explore the island.

Here’s a summary of the time schedule we had for the trip:

  • 2:30 AM – Arrived at the north bus terminal
  • 2:50 AM – Departed from the terminal
  • 4:30 AM – Arrived at Daan, Bantayan
  • 6:15 AM – Arrived at Maya wharf
  • 7:45 AM – Departed from the wharf
  • 9:20 AM – Arrived at Kalanggaman island

2. Bring extra cash

This actually is a general rule when you travel. Even though you’ve limit your expenses to a certain budget, you have to bring extra money to assure yourself in case there are unexpected changes in plans.

Our budget on our trip was at Php 1500.00. That includes the fare of the bus (back and forth), the contribution for the pump boat (which includes our lunch and dinner for the day), the entrance fee for the island and the rent for the tent since we’ll be staying the night on the island.

Here are our breakdown of expenses:

  • Php 160.00 – Van ride from North Bus terminal to Daan, Bantayan
  • Php 130.00 – (student price Php 163.00 for non student)Non-aircon bus from Daan, Bantayan to Cebu City
  • Php 700.00 – contribution for the pump boat (inclusion of food for lunch and dinner)
  • Php 225.00 – Overnight entrance fee in Kalanggaman island (lesser for day use only)
  • Php 200.00 – budget for food and drinks not included by the pump boat.
  • Php 400.00 – Tent rental (4-6 person)

Note: the initial payment for the pump boat was at Php 900.00 per head, but since we were 21 people in the group, they lowered down the payment of each person.

In case you don’t have any contact nos. for the ride, here are the numbers of the boat man and van driver:

  • (0906) 927 0401 – Kuya Intoy (the boat man)
  • (0916) 388 9054 – Kuya Rimon (Van driver)

3. Pack light and bring dry cover for your bags

With all the different trips you’d have to take, packing lightly will be for your convenience. I brought 2 bags, one for my clothes and another one for my gadgets. It works for me since I know where to keep things that are fragile and important with things that are okay to place anywhere or get wet.

Also, since you’d be traveling by boat at some point, you have to pack a dry cover for your bags so that it will stay dry until the end of the trip. I brought a garbage bag to cover my bags and it was enough to keep it dry from the sprinkle of sea water.

4. Charge everything you own

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Lampposts on the islands have solar panels to light the island at night.
Kalanggaman island doesn’t have a direct source of electricity. They however have solar panels, enough to light lampposts at night. It would be wise to charge all your gadgets like cameras, cellphone and flashlights ahead of time. Bring extra batteries and power banks if you think it’s needed.

5. Buy munchies before traveling

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Thankfully, the boat we’ve rented also offers food to it’s accommodation. That means we don’t have to cook our own and food and just relax on the island.
There are only a few mini stores that are on the island. Most of them only sell water and it is not cheap (they sell a bottle of water for Php 30.00). So whatever you think that you forgot like your necessities or snacks, buy them before you take a ride to the island.

6. Bring your own tent

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Brought my own tent =)
There are only a few cottages on the island. Most of the people who’d stay for a night either brought their own tents, or rented one. But there are only a limited number of tents available. So it’s best to bring your own in case there are no tents left to borrow. Tents for rent will cost you about Php 400.00 per tent and can fit 4-6 people.

7. Expect a lot of fellow travelers

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Kalanggaman island has a lot of visitors during the day.
With all the social media hype, Kalanggaman island quickly became a tourist destination especially this summer. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the island? With that being said, expect that like minded people like you, who loves the island and the things it offers, will also be there. Be friendly with them. They don’t bite. Well, unless if you want them to. *wink* *wink*.

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That’s not me, although I wanted to have shot like him. But he took the spot first. Might as well take a shot of him.

8. Relax. You’re in Kalanggaman already.

Words can’t describe how it feels to be in paradise. So I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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Tip most part of the sand bar. The boat man told us not to swim near the sand bars because of the strong current there.

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Taking a break from playing cards to eat our lunch.
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9. Be mindful about your trash.

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The other side of the island, away from other people on the island.
Lately I discovered on Facebook about trashes scattered over the island. There were only a few of it scattered around the island when I went there. I’ve learned that big things usually starts small at first. If these small trashes, because of the left overs of people coming to the island won’t be treated as early as now, it might become a problem later on as the island becomes more accessible to more people. (more info about the post I’ve read)

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Tip most part of the sand bar.
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