Kalanggaman: A Paradise in Leyte

The ostensibly white sandbars on both ends of Kalanggaman Island from a distance look like paradise waiting to enfold you in its bosom. The island is distinct because one end of the sand bar obtrudes towards the eastern side and the other at the southern end. Kalanggaman Island, which is situated north of Cebu and Leyte, belongs to the town of Palompon, Leyte. An hour away by boat from Palompon, Leyte, Kalanggaman Island is a leisure destination for those who seek a genuine sense of escape. The island shines like a gem - so beautiful and so alluring.

In April 2011, my buddies and I took the chance of discovering this paradise island. From Tacloban City, it took us almost three hours to get to Palompon. Since we are not residents of Palompon, Leyte, we paid an entrance fee of P150 per person, paid P3,500 for the boat ride (Palompon-Kalanggaman-Palompon), and P150 for the tent. We brought with us our cooked food (baon) since there is not a single restaurant and convenience store on the island.

The pristine setting when we docked took our breath away - an amazing natural formation of white sand beach, the relaxing sounds of nature, and the thought of being on our own, in an island, doing all the basics. We experienced relaxation and paradise in the truest sense of those words in our own space and pace. We took to the blue-green water as often as we could, cavorting like children at play. Before sunset, we found ourselves strolling on the shore, waiting for the sky to change its hues and for darkness to descend.

The sands on the shore were shaped like a bird in flight - soaring, seeking, like a white shadow of what you usually see in the sky. We could sense the synergy with nature in this island that undeniably gave us enough time to fully enjoy the grandeur of nature in a one-of-a-kind seaside experience.

In the absence of five-star amenities, we found ourselves enjoying life's simple pleasures. We also discovered that by walking around the island for more than an hour, we were able to savor nature's beauty - dwarf coconut trees abound in the island, while lush and vibrant marine life is quiescent underneath the clear turquoise water surrounding the island - ideal also for snorkeling and diving.

As we explored the island, we realized that it is also perfect for campers and backpackers who are willing to have a taste of paradise without electricity and the contraptions of the modern world. My friends and I decided to go back to Kalanggaman for our next adventure - camping - because we felt that there are a lot more to discover in the island.

Everything about this island is about communing with nature and with the Creator who made it possible. We also found ourselves again through soul-searching, meditation, and reflection.

Admittedly, this awe-inspiring paradise island has the power to make us feel a comfortable sense of fulfillment. It could relieve you of stress and anxiety by merely looking at it.

Kalanggaman Island is considered one of Leyte's treasures. I have never felt richer than when I experienced this treasure. I shall definitely return.

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