DISCLAIMER: This article entry is for those who are planning or researching about this island for future travels. Those who’d want to seek another opposing view so they’d be able to comb thru different information.
If you’ve been to Kalangaman Island and find it perfect, as you post photos on your Facebook or Instagram feed so people would be in awe and be jealous that you’ve been to ‘paradise island’. You stand true to this subjective bias. DO NOT CONTINUE READING. If you easily get offended that another person has an opposing tangent as compared to your opinion about this place. DO NOT CONTINUE READING.
All accounts are based on personal experience presented in the most honest way. My point of validations would be:
1. Literal descriptions from available travel blogs using the following terms:
- ‘Powder Like Sand’
- ‘Comparable to Boracay’
- ‘The BEST island in Visayas’
- ‘White PERFECT sand”
2. Capitalization due to tourists influx: Supply VS Demand ratio of price of goods
If you’re a local of Polompon Leyte, and you stand with the current available opinions of most and would cringe at any negative comments. DO NOT CONTINUE READING.
3.The BEAUTY of the island is not in question. Only the over use of superlative connotations to describe the place. Again, aesthetics can be interpreted in different levels. Given the above stipulations. Please read with an open mind.
Since last year the Kalangaman Island hype had been all over various travel blogs, social media post as slated to be “pristine”, “fine white sand”, “quiet”, and “beautiful sandbars” would be all the operative word. When you Google image searches the island it is so photogenic that you’d want to hop on the next plane to Leyte immediately.
Mid this summer a few friends of mine decided to head to Palompon, Leyte and we rented a motorized boat to Kalangaman Island. Much to our excitement, we thought that it’s going to be serene, good plates of seafood and that fine white sand that I’ve been wanting to see for almost a year.
How to go first this island. You need to go to Palompon, Leyte via Tacloban Airport or via Mactan Int’l Airport in Cebu. Fastest, of course, is via Tacloban then you’d need to ride a 3-4 hour van ride going to Polomponon that’ll cost you 150-200php one way then you’d ride a boat going to the island. If you’re coming from Cebu, you will need to go to Pier 3 and ride either Supercat that’ll take you to Ormoc or a ship en route to Palompon. Best bet is to take a Roro ship that’ll take you straight to Palompon. I know so much hassle just to go to an island where we will need to pitch our tents. Told myself what the heck regardless of the travel hours coming from Manila- Cebu- Leyte if it’s worth the travel then I will go. So from Cebu, we took the latest Roro ship ride so 1st thing when we wake up we’d be in Leyte. Come morning our tour facilitator greeted us escorted us to the waiting area for where we’ll be embarking our boat ride. Took us an hour and a half boat ride. As the boat approaches the prestige island and as the image became clearer to me what stumble upon us is an “Okay” beach.
Bloggers describe it in verbatim:
- “Kalanggaman Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines”
- “the water so clear and blue, the sands so white like powder”
- “The island has everything you ever dreamed of an ideal island vacation.”
It is either they haven’t traveled to other better places just yet then misused superlative words like MOST and BEST.
First and foremost the sand is NOT at all like powder. Quality and color and wise. If you look closely, you will see crushed corals and sea shells that are rigid when you walk barefoot, its better to wear your slippers or aqua shoes if you are planning to go around this island. We’ve opted to pitch our tents, but the weather is bipolar bringing random drizzles to heavy rains in the afternoon so we opted to rent one of the Atipi huts for an additional 500php/head. It is made up of wood and there is a vinyl mattress that covers the whole floor area. 2-3 people could fit comfortably inside too much of our surprise the linen is not covered with the cost and the managing person was charging us an additional 300php for the mattress cover. So hello NO to that. So we use our clean clothes to cover the mattress.
Don’t get me wrong I am not attesting to the beauty of this island only an objectified observation based on people’s experience and statements. How the island is comparable to Boracay and El Nido. This article is a comparative narrative only.
Normally, prior to going to the island you’d get offers from inland tours that will arrange everything for you including your boat transfers. So for our group 6, we were charged 2,500php/head with the promise of freshly cooked meals from breakfast-dinner for our overnight stay. They served us food for lunch one big grilled fish, take out grilled pork from their local Mr. Liempo and come dinner what was left over from our lunch meal was served then again to us during dinner. Pretty bad experience. We were promised of good locally sourced seafood, but there was a scarcity at that time to even purchase from the locals.
There are activities available and you could rent equipment. One comment though that the prices are a bit of a ripoff. Actually, every merchant and small stores are all rip offs. I understand that its a challenge to transport goods from the main town then bringing it to the island, but man the prices are 3-5x more expensive. We’ve been to El Nido’s neighboring virigin islands, Calaguas in Camarines Norte, Siargao but never have I experienced this kind of skyrocketed prices.
Kalangaman is supposedly known for its magnificent sandbars that stretch from both ends of the island. While we were talking to a local boatman and he shares his sentiments towards the local government because they sell Kalangaman’s sand to resorts like the Plantation Bay in Cebu harboring and cutting down kilometer stretches of its sandbars.
As an avid fangirl of Philippine Beaches and I can safely say that for the past 5 years I have been traveling and going to known and secluded beaches and islands around the Philippines, but this island is rather disappointing considering the effort that I needed to travel far and long. If you are coming from Luzon or Mindanao this is NOT worth the effort and monetary cost. Your best bet for beach campings are those in the Camarines Norte region i.e Calaguas Island, for reasonable accommodation and really pristine shorelines go to Bantayan Island in Cebu, Siargao Island. Not here.
I managed to take a few photos, but the island is too photogenic to a fault that it lies behind the lenses and lures us like an overused Instagram filter.
With our series of “Beach Purveyors” we’ll write more island and beach reviews and recommendations for our readers. We will cover beaches from Luzon, Visayas and Midanao. Much of our considerations would be the cost, location, accessibility and source for basic needs I,e food, accommodation.
This article may be different than most write ups available and published, but nevertheless giving another perspective an honest experience based review. AGAIN. This is based on our EXPERIENCE. Regardless if we got ripped off or not. It is not primarily about the money spent. It’s more of like saying to yourself; this place is worth the travel.
In any travel plans do your research well, allocate your funds accordingly by choosing the best experiences and places. One more thing, never trust too much with all things that are hyped. Be your own curator.