The usual way going to Kalanggaman Island is to travel to Leyte by fastcraft via Ormoc or overnight ferry direct to Palompon. After which, you need arrange a land trip to bring you to the Palompon Ecotourism Office where you can charter a private banca (outrigger boat).
However, there are several ways from Cebu to go Kalanggaman Island without passing by Leyte. The two routes i have tried going to Kalanggaman Island direct from Cebu are the following:
The first time i set foot on this island was way back 2012. We drove all the way to Borbon and then we rode a boat to Kalanggaman Island. It was approximately 3 hours drive to Borbon and we spent another 3 hours banca ride to arrive at the island. Our call time was supposedly 7 in the morning at Borbon but we were complete around 8:30 A.M. already. So we arrived around 12 noon at the island.
We were so enchanted with this island! The clear waters, the sand and whole place is really amazing. The long travel was really worth it.
When we went there, there were only few people. We brought along food and drinks. There’s a mini store at the island but as expected, everything in the island is pricey. There are designated Shower Rooms and Toilet. There are no rooms available at this island but they do have tables and cabanas for rent. Others brought along their tents and stay there overnight.
It was a fun afternoon that was cut short because we have to go back to Borbon since the travel going back is really long.
In a span of four years after my first visit to Kalanggaman Island, i heard a lot of good reviews of the island. In fact, it was in the news that a German international cruise ship MS Europa and MS Bremen of Hapag Lloyd Cruises made a stopover at the island and the tourists has nothing but praises. Me and my friends were also planning to come back because we felt that we did not have much time to enjoy the island the last time we went there but our schedules never met.
As of April 2016, i heard that the government of Palompon, Leyte where Kalanggaman is located has controlled the banca that will enter the island because of the influx of people wanting to have a piece of the island. You cannot just charter any banca to bring you there. There are different start off point in Cebu routes to reach whose banca have permits to dock to the island as as far as i know, When I was there, I have seen bancas coming from Malapascua (Cebu), Bogo (Cebu) and Palompon (Leyte). But there is also a route via Cordova (Mactan, Cebu). We don’t know if bancas from Borbon (Cebu) got the new permits.
My partner saw this Facebook ad that there is a company organizing a shared chartered banca going to Kalanggaman Island with a jump off at Parola in Cordova. It is one of the largest banca i have seen with a capacity of 120 persons. They are selling per seat basis on the banca. No need to charter 1 whole banca. This is very economical for a small group. It is easier to bring your personal food and drinks because of no transfers. Also Cordova is just less than 1 hour drive away from Cebu City and less than 30 minutes from Mactan Airport.
The package we took includes roundtrip boat ride, morning snacks, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner but excluding the entrance fee and cottage rental and it costs Php 1,800.00 per person.
The time of departure was scheduled at 5 A.M. but we were able to set sail at around 6 A.M. already. They served us budbud (a local delicacy made of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves) and a bottled water. At around 10 in the morning, they served the packed lunch which is fried chicken, lechon kawali, rice, banana and soft drinks. Other people still opted to bring along more food. It was a smooth ride and the boat was comfortable. They promised us 3-4 hours trip but the trip lasted for 5 hours. A faster ride gives you more time to enjoy the island.
When we reach Kalanggaman Island we were reminded that we should be back at the boat 3:30pm. It was a Sunday and there were many people enjoying the island.
We had a hard time getting table because unlike before, nobody was there to assist us. We took the initiative to look around for vacant tables and luckily we found one with a perfect beach view. We overheard from the people who rented a cabana behind us that they were the one who cleaned up the place before they occupied it.
We stayed there for more than 4 hours enjoying the beach.
On our way home, they served Mamon and Bottled Water for snacks and dinner was Fish Fillet, Pork, Poso, watermelon and soft drinks. An hour before we docked, the staff gave some key chains and fans to all of us. We arrived at Parola in Cordova around 8:30 in the evening.
Here are some tips if you are planning to visit or re-visit Kalanggaman Island:
- The trip we took was organized by this group http://lokalpages.com/kalanggaman-island-cruise/ . We are generally happy with the outcome of the trip except that the promise travel time was 3-4 hours when the in reality it was a little more than 5 hours.
- There are also other groups who organizes Kalanggaman day or overnight tours from Cordova or Mactan. Important factor to consider which group to take is the travel dates, size of banca use, travel time to the island, and actual capacity / rated capacity of the boat. A full capacity boat is not comfortable. We have not tried the other group so we cannot say which is better.
- Bring chips, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, chocolates and even your own rice and viand because it is very difficult to buy there. Others bring pork and fish for grilling, there is a public grilling area in the island.
- Bring books, playing cards, ebooks, power banks(the boat has limited power outlet), head set(when you are at the boat) and speakers too (when you are in the island)! This is a very long journey so bring along all the gadgets and things that will ease your boredom.
- Make a very, very long play list of songs for this journey. Half of the travel time, there is no signal and once you are in the island, there is a limited or slow access of the internet both for Globe and Smart.
- If you wish to just sleep while traveling (like me!), bring along neck pillow.
- The boat seats are quite comfortable compared to the boat that we rented out 4 years ago, this made the long trip bearable.
- We brought along ice chest to keep our drinks cold and the trip organizer was okay with it because since it was a big boat, it has ample space to accommodate it.
- For coffee drinkers, i brought my coffee inside my Klean Kanteen bottle and it kept my coffee hot for 12 hours. You may opt to use other vacuum insulated containers too.
- However, if you do not want to take this group tour, there are several other ways to go there too just make sure that the operator has a permit from Palompon EcoTourism Office because they are really strict now. Those who did not have permits were just allowed to be at the island for 30 minutes while others were not allowed from going down their boats.
- If you opt to take another route like Borbon, Malapascua or Palompon, i suggest that you start very early for you to enjoy the island more especially if you are not planning to stay overnight.
- You can stay overnight too just bring tents and if you don’t have one, there is tent rental shop named Hinablayan Outdoor Shop located in front of the Palompon EcoTourism Office if you are traveling via Palompon proper.
- Bring lots of sunblock and tanning lotion for those who want to achieve a perfect summer tan.
- Drink a lot of water for hydration, the summer heat is almost unbearable.
- Help conserve water in the island and please clean the island as you go. Let us do our share on maintaining this beautiful island clean. You may ask trash bag from the boat crew as they have readily available trash bags.
- Make the most of the summer heat, visit Kalanggaman Island. As always, bring along your sense of adventure and fun as you enjoy one of the best islands in the Philippines!
I was told that Lokal Pages do not have Kalanggaman Day Trips from Cordova Port. Check out Everyday Summer – Island Hopping and Tours.