Monday, June 27, 2016

Weekend Love at Kalanggaman Island (Palompon, Leyte)




My friends from Borongan, Samar would always mention this beautiful island called Kalanggaman. I have heard of them tell tales of wonderful adventure in this island that they also claimed to be one of the most beautiful island they have ever set foot on. It was easy for them to plan on visiting the island since its much more accessible to them given the fact that their locations are all in the Visayas area. Me, on the other hand find it quite a challenge since I still have to fly from Manila. But distance won't hinder my thirst for good adventure so upon knowing that my friends are planning to go to Kalanggaman, I never hesitated and book a flight from Manila to Tacloban. 


Good Morning, Tacloban! 

Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport Tacloban

I took the earliest Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Tacloban that left at 4:20 in the morning and arrived 45 minutes after. For Manila folks, this is the best flight to take if going to Kalanggaman. Anyway, I met up with my crazy friends at Jollibee to have our breakfast. We've never really done any planning for this trip but we thought we can get away with it since 2 of my companions were not first timers. 

After having breakfast, we then head to Tacloban Bus terminal and took the Tacloban - Palompon van. The journey took us almost 3 hours to complete and costs us Php 150 per head. A quiet town welcomed us. 


Pot Pot going to the Eco Tourism Office :)


The beautiful St. Francis Xavier church which was built in the year 1784. What a beauty! 


We then went straight to the Palompon Eco Tourism Office where we booked our pump boat and paid our entrance and conservation fees. Here are the rates. 


Image taken from kalanggaman-island.com

Some Tips:

- Call ahead of time before the dates of your visit and make reservations. There are a lot of tourists visiting the island not just from Palompon but also from Cebu so make sure you reserve your slots beforehand. 

- Share an outrigger boat with other groups if traveling with a small group. This will lessen the cost per head. Travel time from Palompon to the island is around 45 minutes

- There are no electricity in the island so better bring your powerbanks and make sure all your gadgets are fully charged. For those spending the night in the island, the only light source are around 3-4 solar powered light posts all throughout the entire island. 

- Bring your own tents and other camping paraphernalia. There are no tents for rent in the island and weather can be a bit unpredictable during the night. Bring blankets and jackets since it gets a little bit chilly during the night and early morning. 

- Cooking in the island won't be a problem since there are available BBQ pits. However, you have to make sure that you purchased all the things you need for cooking at the market which is a stones throw away from the Eco Tourism Office. We were too lazy to cook for our food so we just opted to ask someone from a rotisserie chicken shop in the market to do the cooking for us which they surprisingly do! We bought pork, fish, sausages, and rice and then asked them to cook it for us. Of course we made sure we bought one of their delish inihaw na manok. Brought it to the island and viola! Lunch and dinner! 

Palompom Port / Eco Tourism Office 


Off we go! 

The gang decided to do an overnight stay in the island. We bought everything we needed in the market and made sure that our food will suffice till the next day since there are no restaurants or any accommodation in the island. We also bought with us a tent and other camping things that we will need. After 45 minutes, here's what welcomed us. 


Hello, Kalanggaman Island!




The sandbar, which is what Kalanggaman island is famous for, stood out from the emerald waters of the ocean. I am at awe of the island's beauty and it was majestically overwhelming, I can't stop praising God for this wonderful gift! 


Fist groupfie in the island! 

I literally plunged into the clear waters of the island as soon as we arrived! I can't contain my excitement! But first, we chose a cottage where we would pitch our tent and relax. 


Tent pitched and we are all set! 


Coconut trees lined up to give shade. The cottage that we chose gave us a terrific view of the sea. 

All set? Now let's relax! 

Food that we bought from the market back in Palompon. They even lend us their rice pot! :) 

We were lucky enough to chance upon an uncrowded island. It was a relief to know that it was like that the time when we visited. I heard that it has been always pretty crowded quite recently. 

The gang spent the afternoon eating and drinking and catching up on stories. By the time the sun is setting, we decided to walk around and take a dip in the crystal waters of the island. 


Chillin by the beach! It is indeed gorgeous! 


With the gang! 

The sand is not as fine in the sandbar but it gets finer in the front part of the island facing Palompon.

The rocky part on the other side. 

What a way to end the day!

We were the only group staying in for the night and it was such a blast! We truly enjoyed the peace and quiet. No electricity, no rowdy tourists, just pure relaxation. It got very windy from midnight till dawn, so it is best if you really have blankets with you. The group had a very relaxing sleep and re-energized for the next days activity. 


Good morning, sunshine! :) 

We started the day by having breakfast of some left overs we had the previous day and some breakfast food we bought from Palompon. As soon as we are all ready to take the day, we then explored the other part of the island which the caretakers and the kuya policeman manning the island said that there is a small chapel that we can pray to. 


Path to the other side of the island. 

The chapel


Thank you, God for this beautiful island! 


After strolling and the obligatory group photos, we head back to our cottage for some more R&R, swimming, and of course, early morning drinking and dancing! 


With the very nice policeman who made sure that we are always safe in the island. Thank you so mucho!

In one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, with some of the most beautiful friends I have in my life! To more travels and more fun times with you all! 


It has indeed been one of the most memorable trips I had so far. Nothing beats good company and a gorgeous beach. I just wish that people would really take care of this gem, I heard from some friends who went back that the island is starting to become dirty because of the influx of visiting tourist. I wish to go back again but I am hoping that I would still experience the same serenity I had the first time I went there. You should visit Kalanggaman too. It's a place that you shouldn't miss. :) 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Blissful Bantayan (Bantayan Island, Cebu)



Cebu would always have a special place in my heart. My family and I have spent countless celebrations in Cebu and this time, I went back to visit one of the places I have always dreamed in visiting. The beautiful island of Bantayan! 




Bantayan Island is situated at the northern part of Cebu. From Manila, my friend and I took a 45 minute flight that landed in Mactan International Airport. We then took a Ceres bus from the Cebu North Bus Terminal going to Hagnaya Port that costs around Php 180 per head for an air-conditioned bus that journeys for around 3-5 hours, depending on the traffic. We arrived at around 12 midnight and only traveled for around 3 hours going to Hagnaya port since there were no stop overs and traffic jam to lengthen the travel. However, the reverse journey from Hagnaya to Cebu took us around 5-6 hours. The bus from Hagnaya leaves the terminal every hour.




Upon arriving at Hagnaya port a few minutes before 3AM, we hurriedly purchased our ferry ticket from Hagnaya to Sta. Fe port that also costs around Php 180 per head. Travel time is around an hour and a half.




We were picked up by our hotel service as soon as the ferry docked. If staying in a hotel, you might want to inquire about their pick up service. We stayed in two different hotels in Bantayan. Both I think are splendid. :)


Anika Island Resort




We booked Anika's Sunset Villa for two nights via Agoda.com which costs us 2,000 PHP a night. The rooms in Anika are all container vans. It is simple but comfortable, with basic stuff such as cable tv, air-condition units, toilet and bath, and comfortable beds. 


Kota Beach 




My friend and I also booked a Deluxe Aircon Cottage via Agoda.com which costs PHP 1900 a night. We were picked up from the previous resort and checked in early, which they allowed with no extra cost. We arrived in the resort full of guests having their brunch. It is evident that the resort is a little bit old, but not really run down. Maybe a little renovation here and there could help uplift the place but nevertheless, it is still a good one. The property is pretty huge with villas scattered all around the resort.  


These two resorts are situated in Barangay Sta. Fe which is a coastal barangay where all the awesome beach front resorts are situated. 


Bantayan Town Proper

A few kilometers away, you will find the Bantayan Town proper which is also a charmer. There, one can find Sts. Peter and Paul Parish which is the oldest Cebu founded by Augustinian missionaries that was founded on June 1580. 


Our ride around town!








The church is the heart of the town. I love the old town vibe which was greatly highlighted by more old architecture seen around. 





When visiting a town, I would say that the best place to visit is their local market. There, one would really see how the locals live, plus, one would be able to sample some local delicacies! Look at those delicious seafoods for sale at a very affordable price! 


















We also had the chance to stop by their local "pantalan" and go go biking around town, which is by the way lovely. 







 Going around town, we also saw their government offices. The town is very laid back, sleepy I would say, and really clean. 







 We enjoyed roaming around Bantayan's very laid back and relaxing town. Everything is affordable and fresh! The food that we ate both in Bantayan town and back in Sta. Fe are both delicious and satisfying. I would say skip the meats and indulge in seafood for everything is fresh! 

I fell in love with Bantayan Island and swore that I will be back again. Ideal days to spend there is from 3-5 days. I would  give Bantayan a 5/5! Great experience!