We could taste the saltwater on our lips.
In fact, saltwater was all over our face.
Our eyeglasses—yes, both of them—were pockmarked with beads of water. We could barely see ahead of us, and besides, there seemed nothing else to see except the rough open seas ahead.
Our boat carried around 20 tourists—brown-skinned, pale-skinned, black-haired, golden-haired, big-eyed, chinky-eyed. And it was big, just as any good dive boat should.
But the waves were bigger.
It was a sunny day, yes, but for some reason the waves weren’t friendly.
The boat—and we along with it—bobbed up and down as it hit a wave. Apart from the slapping of wood against water, and saltwater against skin, the boat’s engine would stop every time it rides a wave, and then rev up again. And it did so every two seconds. And we went on like this for nearly three hours—engine rumbling, boat bobbing, waves splashing. I wanted nothing but to get out of that boat and be back on solid ground.
Earlier that morning, when the sun was barely even up, we plunged 90 feet deep and saw thresher sharks. Between that and our rocky boat ride from Malapascua to Kalanggaman, however, we probably stood a higher chance of dying from the latter.
But after 2.5 hours in the open seas, we finally arrived to a glorious, sunny day, on an island with waters so clear and sand so white it looked like an apparition.
We were not spending the night on the island, no. We were there for the whole afternoon only, and, seeing as we arrived around noon, had only about 3 hours left before going back.
Kalanggaman Island is part of the town of Palompon, Leyte. When you’re coming from this part, you’re going to take just 30 minutes to get to Kalanggaman. If you came from Malapascua like we did, the trip would normally take a grueling two hours.
Still reeling from the rocky boat ride, I plopped myself down a bench and attempted to sleep under the shade of the many coconut trees on the island. There were kayaks and an aqua cycle for rent, but we thought the boat ride was enough adventure for a day. Lunch was also superb, thank goodness!
Kalanggaman is a beauty, I’d give her that. It was definitely one of the most effortlessly gorgeous islands we’ve ever been to.
Her sandbar is one of the longest we’ve seen, and most certainly its single best feature.
Around this long, thin white assemblage, the waters erupted into a light sheen of cerulean and faded into a shock of deep blue. On one side were strong waves, on the other were placid waters. There was nothing else left to do except to take a dip, and then hope for a smoother journey back.
TIPS FOR YOUR TRIPS:
From Malapascua, you just sign up for a Kalanggaman trip, either from one of the dive shops or from men you see on the beach, who will no doubt offer you as soon as it comes to them that you are a tourist. Offers will come, trust me.
Most likely, you will be joined with other tourists unless you hire the boat yourself, which is going to cost you a lot of money. Get this: we each paid P800 for the trip, which included our lunch. On top of that, we also shelled out P150 each, which acts as entrance fee payable to the Palompon local government.
Also, don’t expect to leave on the same day, except maybe in the summer when there are more tourists and therefore more trips. We went in August and we didn’t leave until two days after agreeing to join (and while we are on that note, it may be worth telling that we did not pay anything in advance to reserve our slot for the trip).
What to do on the island? Camp, dive, swim, kayak. If you want to do any of these, visit this link for the rates.