Monday, January 18, 2016

Better Leyte than Never: Kalanggaman Island

It's been almost two years since I moved here in Tacloban City, Leyte. I hate to admit it but I never had the chance to explore the Eastern Visayas region. I mean, I only had the chance to travel during special assignments or during our company's annual team building activity. It actually took me almost a year before I crossed the provinces of Leyte and Samar through the country's longest bridge - San Juanico.

A good friend of mine from Manila flew to Tacloban a few days ago and planned to visit Kalanggaman Island. Since I was itching to travel to new places, I decided to tag along!

Kalanggaman is an island off the coast of Palompon, Leyte, approximately four hours away from where I currently reside. Going there wasn't that easy if you ask. We arrived at Tacloban's new bus terminal in Abucay around 4:45AM hoping to catch the first bus to Palompon, Leyte - the jump-off point to the island. The sad part was, the first trip to Palompon was around 7AM. We took the alternate route, which is Ormoc and from there, we rode a van to Palompon.

Palompon, Leyte

We arrived at Palompon at around half past nine in the morning. We first bought food and utensils for our island escapade at a nearby market. The boat transfer from Palompon Ecotours Office to Kalanggaman Island leaves every hour and the last boat trip to the island at 4PM. Unless if you're as rich as Ayala-Zobel or Henry Sy, then renting the whole boat for your own shouldn't be a problem. It costs Php 3000 roundtrip, with a maximum capacity of 15 pax. However, if you're feeling kuripot like us, you can arrange your trip with some passengers at the terminal who are willing to share the rented boat. Before leaving, you need to pay Php 150 for the day tour fee and the staff will orient you about the do's and don'ts on the island such as proper waste disposal and segregation.

It took us another hour to reach the famed island. As we neared its shore, we witnessed how the deep blue waters of the Visayan Sea slowly transformed into a shade of turquoise. Then, there it was - an island with a long expanse of verdant coconut trees with blinding white sand coruscating in the azure waters. After three centuries of waiting, I have finally set foot on this island!


Beautiful island.

The classic S-curve.

For years, Kalanggaman was just a secret among the locals. In 2013, a cruise ship - MV Europa Cruise Line - passed through the island and dropped off some of its 400 passengers to get a glimpse of the island. Since then, it had gained popularity both here and abroad, all thanks to the power of social media.

Unlike Boracay, there are no fancy accommodations, shops, or restaurants on the island. A number of native huts are located on the island. I've been to a lot of beaches in the Philippines and I must say that this one is the best I've ever been so far. Recently it was named by Skyscanner, a leading travel advisory website, as the best sandbars in the Philippines. The water that surrounds the island is very tempting to swim, however, there's a portion of the island where swimming is strictly prohibited due to strong riptide. The side where the boats dock is the best spot for swimming. The sand on this part is powdery white whereas, at the opposite side, it is not frequented by people due to its rocky shore.

A few native huts for rent.

Hello from the other side of the island.

Kalanggaman Island is the perfect place to chill, a place where one can find solitude and peace. We only spent four hours on the island yet it felt eternity when we were there. The time was very slow. Believe me, the long travel to this island was really worth it.


How to get there

There are two options: one is via Cebu and the other one is via Tacloban

Via Tacloban

The nearest airport is Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban. There are several flights from Manila and Mactan-Cebu to Tacloban. From the airport, make your way to the new bus terminal in Abucay. There are vans and/or buses plying the Tacloban-Palompon route. But as what I've mentioned earlier, there are only a few buses that ply that route. The chance of finding your true love is even higher than this one. Lol, you get my point, did you? The alternate route is to ride a bus or van to Ormoc, and from there, transfer to a new van to Palompon. The fare to Palompon from Tacloban is Php 150. The same price goes for the Tacloban-Ormoc route. The fare from Ormoc to Palompon costs Php 110.

Via Cebu

If you're coming from Cebu, take a supercat to Ormoc City. The trip will only take less than two hours. From Ormoc, well, you already know that. However, there are also boats that sail directly to Palompon, Leyte.

Tips and Tricks

The earliest boat trip to Kalanggaman Island leaves Palompon at 6AM. When we went to the island last week, we left Palompon at around 11AM and the water was quite rough. Also, there were only a few people on the island when we went there. A friend told me that the island could get crowded during the summer season. To avoid inconveniences, it is best to make a reservation with them, most especially if you're traveling from April to May. You may contact them at these numbers: 0917-3037267 and 0917-3037269.


The following are the rates for the Kalanggaman day tour:
Regular rate
(day tour)
Overnight rate
International tourist
Non-Palompon tourist
Non-Palompon college student
Non-Palompon high school student
Non-Palompon elementary student
Non-Palompon senior citizen
The pump boat rates are as follows:

For boats with a maximum capacity of 15 people: P3,000
For boats with a maximum capacity of 25 people: P3,500
For boats with a maximum capacity of 30 people: P4,000


  1. Okay, "YES!" wasn't so articulate, but yeah, we're so heading this way this year. Thanks for such a helpful post. :)

  2. Hahahaa natawa ako sa yo J. Thanks! :)

  3. I've been to San Juanico bridge before, based on my childhood photos, and I was too young back then to even remember haha I hope I could visit again and explore Leyte!

    The beach setting reminds me of Cagbalete Island in Quezon, since it seems to be very simple with only a few accommodation and no restaurants.

    I hope they'll be able to maintain in because sometimes simple things are more better, than the huge hotels and resorts around.

    It looks really peaceful there, and it feels like good place to take a break from city stress! Haha

    1. Balik na! Leyte is calling you again. Better Leyte than never!

  4. The island looks so awesome and nice along with the nice blue sea.Nice article and great photography as well.

  5. I love this Island! Your photos also tells a story about the island. thanks for sharing

  6. My mom's family has its lineage rooted in Leyte. I've never been there but I'd love to go explore it sometime.

  7. wow this is indeed a paradise and unlike Boracay this place is seemingly unspoiled which is really good! I hope i can travel this far to witness the beauty of this place.. thanks for sharing

  8. It's been ages since I last been to Leyte and Ormoc. The views in Kalanggaman is so refreshing. I think I'll try a quick visit via Cebu next time.

  9. wow, I like that s shape white sand bar...the beach look so clean :)

  10. Ang ganda! How come you always get assigned to the best places? LOL. Baywatching is my favorite photo--it tells some sort of story.

    Ochi | Ochi In The City

    1. My fave photo as well! That photo speaks a thousand paragraphs. Hahaha.

  11. Wow. It is really more fun in the Philippines (tunog foreigner na ba?haha)
    ANo po gamit niyong camera?

    Happy Blogging! God Bless!
    Mac Valdez | Estudyante Travels

  12. Hi sa Southern Leyte po province namin, maybe may barko po going there? haha im planning to go on vacation sa Southern Leyte :)

  13. Thanks for the post. Naghahanap ako ng updated price qng saan pupunta.. mayron naman pala.. thanks..

  14. hello. I have a question, what do you use when editing?

  15. Hi po ask po sna ako if meron bang bus from davao to palompon..ang alam ko lng kac is davao city to ormoc..kakayanin po ba friday then balik ng monday morning round trip davao to kalanggaman?parang sobrang gnda po ng island..kahit weekend getaway lang sana..nindot kaayo imung nga kuha, makainganyo ug adto.

  16. Hi, you can also get a van from us at Haven's Tourist transport, we are accredited by Dept of tourism and we offer safe and convenient travel by van from Tacloban Airport. We have an office at DZR airport and also at downtown tacloban just across Hotel Alejandro. Anyone can access our fb page or call me personally at 0917 806 7275 if you need assistance. you can also email us at or text our booking officer at 0926 649 8009. if you are going to kalanggaman you might as well go to other places in the island para mas sulit and you can only do that if you will rent a car or van, either with or without a driver.That way your travel will not be limited to just 1 destination, you can explore the island to your hearts' desire. :)

  17. Balik mi ni Kezia! Uban ta! :)

  18. Hi
    I just want to add the via Bogo City route from Cebu City

    Guest can book by contacting


    Sea to Summit Travelers Team

  19. How is it in August? what do you think? Thanks!

  20. Kalanggaman island is so cool! I can't wait to go there. Is it advisable to go there during December-January?


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