Kalanggaman Island

The Philippines is famous for the island beaches all over the archipelago, not to mention Boracay, Palawan, Bantayan Island and so much more. Not known to many is Kalanggaman Island which is located in Palompon, Leyte, Visayas.

However, getting there wasn’t easy – and being there wasn’t either. My friends and I traveled for 3 hours to get to Maya, Daanbantayan, North of Cebu from North Bus Terminal riding a van. From there, we hired a pump boat for 7,000 PHP (about $150 USD) overnight rate which took us to the island in 2 hours and a half. Since we were staying overnight as local tourists, we also had to pay 225 PHP ($6 USD) each for the environmental fee.

The Beaches in Kalanggaman Island

But as soon as we had a glimpse of the island from afar, we knew it’s paradise and felt like being in the Castaway TV Show. It is an isolated area – no electricity, no water, no food, no phone signal and no shelter so we had to bring our camping necessities. Our tour guide/boatman gave us tips on how to survive on the island.

One side of it is powdery sand, and on the other side are big rocks. The most beautiful part of Kalanggaman is the beach near the tip of the sandbar. Tempting as it seems, since the island is surrounded by open seas, the tip of the sandbar is the most dangerous part due to the rip current.

Because the island is very small, we had the chance to tour around. We’ve learned that Kalanggaman was named after the Bisaya word “langgam” which means bird because it is a bird sanctuary. We just don’t understand why the “Kalanggaman” sign advertised dolphins when we didn’t see any there.

The only cemented structure that you will see aside from island sign was the toilet – which is not sanitary. In the absence of clean, fresh water, we had to fetch water from the sea. Good thing there is a toilet, but there’s no fresh water. Nonetheless, I’d rather have the toilet than nothing to use!

Due to the distance of the island from the town, electricity is also unavailable, so we had to bring our power banks and flashlights with us. And of course, our own tent as our shelter for the night which should be among the palm trees. Even at night, the island is so hot. There’s not much wind to keep you cool.

Another stunning scenery is the sunset and the sunrise. We were able to see both of the views on the beach, which never happens in the city. And as fine as the sandbar may look on photos, it is mixed with shells and crushed dead coral-skeleton which aren’t safe for your soles. Some of it may be sharp and might hurt. But once you immersed into the crystal water, it soothes everything.

But our journey was cut short because it’s not safe to travel during the late afternoon due to the big sea waves. The castaway experience was fun, and sometimes it’s good to wander where the phone signal is not available.

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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