Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)

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erika

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Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« on: April 24, 2015, 07:46:28 AM »
The seven-hectare paradise that has tourists flocking to Leyte—and boosting the tourism of the beleaguered province

Our shirts are soaked, our hair sculpted like a bird’s nest. The dark lenses of my sunglasses are flecked with a smattering of saltwater splashes. The sun is hammering its heat as our boat approaches a long strip of white sand in the middle of the sparkling cerulean waters. If diamonds were liquid, it would look exactly like this. I stand staring at the gorgeous sandbar for a moment with my legs braced against the bobbing of the boat. Kalanggaman Island is definitely back.

LOVE ON THE SANDBARS


I must admit, it wasn’t love at first sight when I saw this island in the western shores of Leyte early last year. Its best features, the sandbars on both sides, were washed away when Haiyan wrecked havoc on Eastern Visayas in November 2013. The coral reefs in the shallows were disfigured. Many coconut trees were uprooted, others stood bald like lampposts on a barren soil. Now, Kalanggaman Island has regained its beauty and vibrance, leaving my visitors from Manila, Joyce and Enzo, speechless for a while. The long and thick sandbar seems to glow from afar. Picnickers are having a swell time under the lush Talisay trees, their laughter drowned out by the sighs of the sea breeze and the occasional squawks of the sea gulls. “It’s beautiful. I’m glad you introduced me to this island,” Joyce turns to me, a big smile plastered on her face.

Langgam is a Visayan word for “bird.” The island is called Kalanggaman because the sandbars in its eastern and southern ends resemble the wings of a flying bird when viewed from above.

















If you don’t live nearby, getting there can be quite a challenge. Located 15 nautical miles from the municipality of Palompon, the seven-hectare island can be reached through a butt-numbing three-hour van ride from Tacloban City, followed by a 45-minute boat ride from the town’s jetty port.

With all essentials found only in the municipality, venturing to the island can be a real burden on your shoulders. It is a good thing that Palompon’s wet market never runs out of the freshest seafood and other camping must-haves. Awkwardly balancing our weight as we climb on the boat’s narrow wooden staircase, we carry not just our backpacks and sleeping bags but also baskets of food and large coolers filled with ice and, of course, the all-important beer. “If you’re lucky, you can buy fresh catch straight from the local fisherfolks who sometimes drop by the island,” says Kuya Lito, the boatman. According to him, there are a few dirty kitchens available in the island. Perfect!

UNDERNEATH THE STARS


I read somewhere that there could be more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on earth. I find it difficult to believe, but not tonight, as I am lying motionlessly on the sand under a canopy of infinite stars, unmindful of the pebbles clinging to my salty hair and sunburnt back.The rustle of the Pandan trees behind me harmonize with the delicate splashes of the sea and the chirps of the crickets.

On impeccable summer nights like this, Kalanggaman Island is usually strewn with camping tents and overnighters who don’t mind giving up the comforts of a typical island vacation. Besides the celestial bodies, solar-powered lamps and torches illuminate the pristine island at night.There are no hotels, just rudimentary thatched cottages to cover your head. “I hope they don’t build resorts here soon. I love the island the way it is now,” says Joyce, obviously savoring the tranquility and the nothing-but-the-basics vibe she never finds in the big city. I couldn’t agree more.

The garlicky aroma of grilled pork, chicken, and seafood interrupts our stargazing. “Mangaon na (Let’s eat),” my sister Lor, our group’s reliable cook, calls from one of the grilling stations.

The flat grayish rocks on the other side of the island welcome me with a gentle pinch under my feet.The water is calm and clear; a sheen of turquoise that eventually fades into a dark shade of blue. One does not have to wade in it to see the abundance of corals, but a snorkel would be useful to observe a wide variety of fish in its natural environment. Not wanting to miss the spectacle, I find myself floating in the shallows, marveling at the starfish littered at the bottom and frisky creatures frolicking among the sea grass.

Besides snorkeling, kayaking is another favorite activity in the island. Rental of water sports facilities such as kayaks and stand-up paddleboats are at one’s disposal.

Sunbeds are also available for those who want nothing more than to laze in the sun all day. After all, getting to the island is grueling enough. Wouldn’t it be nice to just lounge by the beach with an ice-cold beer in hand?

Kalanggaman Island is no longer a secret these days. Virtually unknown for decades, it is now suddenly on the list of every traveler who sets foot in Leyte. Be prepared though, not only because this vacation would strip you down to the basics, but also for the heavy-heartedness you might feel when you depart from this dreamy island the following day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

« Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 07:47:27 AM by erika »
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felix

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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 10:34:11 PM »
The seven-hectare paradise that has tourists flocking to Leyte—and boosting the tourism of the beleaguered province

Our shirts are soaked, our hair sculpted like a bird’s nest. The dark lenses of my sunglasses are flecked with a smattering of saltwater splashes. The sun is hammering its heat as our boat approaches a long strip of white sand in the middle of the sparkling cerulean waters. If diamonds were liquid, it would look exactly like this. I stand staring at the gorgeous sandbar for a moment with my legs braced against the bobbing of the boat. Kalanggaman Island is definitely back.

LOVE ON THE SANDBARS


I must admit, it wasn’t love at first sight when I saw this island in the western shores of Leyte early last year. Its best features, the sandbars on both sides, were washed away when Haiyan wrecked havoc on Eastern Visayas in November 2013. The coral reefs in the shallows were disfigured. Many coconut trees were uprooted, others stood bald like lampposts on a barren soil. Now, Kalanggaman Island has regained its beauty and vibrance, leaving my visitors from Manila, Joyce and Enzo, speechless for a while. The long and thick sandbar seems to glow from afar. Picnickers are having a swell time under the lush Talisay trees, their laughter drowned out by the sighs of the sea breeze and the occasional squawks of the sea gulls. “It’s beautiful. I’m glad you introduced me to this island,” Joyce turns to me, a big smile plastered on her face.

Langgam is a Visayan word for “bird.” The island is called Kalanggaman because the sandbars in its eastern and southern ends resemble the wings of a flying bird when viewed from above.

















If you don’t live nearby, getting there can be quite a challenge. Located 15 nautical miles from the municipality of Palompon, the seven-hectare island can be reached through a butt-numbing three-hour van ride from Tacloban City, followed by a 45-minute boat ride from the town’s jetty port.

With all essentials found only in the municipality, venturing to the island can be a real burden on your shoulders. It is a good thing that Palompon’s wet market never runs out of the freshest seafood and other camping must-haves. Awkwardly balancing our weight as we climb on the boat’s narrow wooden staircase, we carry not just our backpacks and sleeping bags but also baskets of food and large coolers filled with ice and, of course, the all-important beer. “If you’re lucky, you can buy fresh catch straight from the local fisherfolks who sometimes drop by the island,” says Kuya Lito, the boatman. According to him, there are a few dirty kitchens available in the island. Perfect!

UNDERNEATH THE STARS


I read somewhere that there could be more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on earth. I find it difficult to believe, but not tonight, as I am lying motionlessly on the sand under a canopy of infinite stars, unmindful of the pebbles clinging to my salty hair and sunburnt back.The rustle of the Pandan trees behind me harmonize with the delicate splashes of the sea and the chirps of the crickets.

On impeccable summer nights like this, Kalanggaman Island is usually strewn with camping tents and overnighters who don’t mind giving up the comforts of a typical island vacation. Besides the celestial bodies, solar-powered lamps and torches illuminate the pristine island at night.There are no hotels, just rudimentary thatched cottages to cover your head. “I hope they don’t build resorts here soon. I love the island the way it is now,” says Joyce, obviously savoring the tranquility and the nothing-but-the-basics vibe she never finds in the big city. I couldn’t agree more.

The garlicky aroma of grilled pork, chicken, and seafood interrupts our stargazing. “Mangaon na (Let’s eat),” my sister Lor, our group’s reliable cook, calls from one of the grilling stations.

The flat grayish rocks on the other side of the island welcome me with a gentle pinch under my feet.The water is calm and clear; a sheen of turquoise that eventually fades into a dark shade of blue. One does not have to wade in it to see the abundance of corals, but a snorkel would be useful to observe a wide variety of fish in its natural environment. Not wanting to miss the spectacle, I find myself floating in the shallows, marveling at the starfish littered at the bottom and frisky creatures frolicking among the sea grass.

Besides snorkeling, kayaking is another favorite activity in the island. Rental of water sports facilities such as kayaks and stand-up paddleboats are at one’s disposal.

Sunbeds are also available for those who want nothing more than to laze in the sun all day. After all, getting to the island is grueling enough. Wouldn’t it be nice to just lounge by the beach with an ice-cold beer in hand?

Kalanggaman Island is no longer a secret these days. Virtually unknown for decades, it is now suddenly on the list of every traveler who sets foot in Leyte. Be prepared though, not only because this vacation would strip you down to the basics, but also for the heavy-heartedness you might feel when you depart from this dreamy island the following day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


very nice discovery....love to be here someday!!!
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erika

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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 04:57:03 AM »
someday i can visit there
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tricia_nikki

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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 07:44:53 AM »
really beautiful
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felix

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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2015, 01:01:06 AM »
kaya kaau na ninyo girls makapunta pohon ani nga place..
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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2015, 05:43:05 PM »
wow sand sand sand.!
kinsa tong mag pa pintal sa ilang balay etc., just inform me, naa koy kaila nga d best.09487352092

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erika

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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 05:44:46 AM »
looks like the Virgin Island
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felix

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Re: Island of the birds (Kalanggaman Island)
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2015, 01:07:39 AM »
makapunta din sana ako dyan someday
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