Travel

Why Kalanggaman Island Has The Best Beach In The Philippines

I have been to Boracay, Coron and El Nido to name a few and I could pretty much say that these islands are powerhouse when it comes to pristine white beaches. But after seeing this tiny island, my mind changed… I found the cherry on top!

I have already heard of Kalanggaman island before and it was off my radar as I have surrendered to the fact that the best beaches could be found in Palawan.

Since the island is quite an adventure to reach and would take hours and hours by air, land and sea travel to get there, why would I waste that much effort for a tiny island?

When I had this random irresistible impulse to travel (also due to the fact that my skin needs a hefty top-up of Vitamin D), the first island that popped into my mind is Malapascua in Cebu. Little did I know, it was one of the jump off points to Kalanggaman island.

Upon learning about it, I thought I would give it a try to see what’s all the buzz about.

Sailing off from Malapascua island

Getting on a boat for a roughly 2 hour open sea journey was wearisome. It doesn’t help that halfway through the ride, the tiny island is already visible (can you believe that?!) and it makes the agony much longer.

Kalanggaman island from a distance

But as we approached closer, the deep blue sea was slowly turning into divinely different shades of turquoise water. All our weary faces swiftly brightened up and everyone’s in pure bliss. Who wouldn’t be when this heavenly island came into your sight?

Right after the boat docked, everyone excitedly get off and basked into enticing crystal clear water.

I initially thought of spending my whole time in the sandbar but I went first on the west side of the island as there were no people around.

There’s a gorgeous sandbar separated from the island that I wanted to walk on. However, the seaweed-filled and waist deep sea water prevented me from doing so for silly reasons. But nevertheless, it was a satisfaction even just by looking at it!

Updated on April 07, 2016: On my second visit to Kalanggaman Island, I was finally able to cross to the detached sandbar! It wasn’t quite as easy as I thought — we had to brave through the chest-deep water with manageable current for about 5 minutes. Bring life jackets, and wear slippers or aqua shoes as there are some small sea urchins according to my friend. On our first attempt, we crossed on the right side, but after realizing the current was too strong, and it was already neck-deep, we traversed back to the island. On our second attempt, we crossed on the left side adjacent to the sandbar which we found easier to get to the sandbar. It was worth risking our lives crossing to it — we were the only ones on the sandbar, and definitely felt like nirvana!

The northern side of the island is charmingly filled with stones along with different patches of turquoise water.

As I drew closer to the east side, the glistening water around the sandbar under the radiant sunshine is like a pathway to paradise!

The beauty of the beach is hypnotizing, as if you were worshiping its divine holiness.

Walking on the sandbar up to its end was just pure perfection; every direction has its own slice of beauty.

A beautiful island like this should come with a feast after surrendering your soul to the Gods of Paradise. We weren’t let down, our tour guides prepared a sumptuous meals.

Our group of 20, came from different parts of the world, have all agreed that it was one of the best meals we have ever feasted on.

After having the feast, it was inevitable not to back to the sandbar for a few more dips. The south side was calm and perfect for snorkelling, while the north side has calm waves but with vast shallow water. I chose the later as I find it captivating.

The south side is gorgeous especially for snorkelling

The north side is charming and perfect for dipping and swimming

My trip to Kalanggaman island was pressed for time due to weather condition as the sea may get rough in the afternoon.

I left the island with a bagful of happiness in my soul. This is the kind of place where I would never mind ‘wasting’ my time and I would never mind going through hours and hours of journey that leads to this beautiful destination.

I am glad that I followed my intuition that led me to set eyes and feet on the best beach I have ever been in the Philippines.

I may not have been to all the beaches in the Philippines nor I have the qualifications to critic, but believe me, once you set foot in this island, you would say the same.

Go and plan ahead before it becomes a mainstream destination!

How to get there

Via Cebu city: Catch a van (200PHP/4.25USD) or bus (190PHP) at North Bus Terminal that goes to Daanbantayan-Maya route (3-4 hours) and ask to be dropped off at Maya Port. From Maya port, ride a boat (100PHP) to Malapascua (30 minutes). From Malapascua, there are friendly touts that offer the Kalanggaman tour (lunch included) that costs 800PHP (17USD) and additional 150PHP for island entrance fee, both for foreign and local tourists. However, it needs at least 15 people (or 10 people but for a higher fee) to push through. I would highly recommend Kuya Bembo (0926-864-3431) as not only he and his company are very friendly but they are great cooks as well!

Updated April 7, 2016: Kuya Bembo also offers full-board Kalanggaman Island overnight tour for 1,500PHP, minimum of 12 persons.

Via Tacloban: Catch a van (150PHP) at tacloban New Bus Terminal that goes to Palompon, Leyte (3-4 hours). From Liberty Park Eco-tour office, pay the island entrance for fee for 150PHP (local) and 500pHP (10.50USD) (foreigner). The round-trip rental for pumpboats are 3,000PHP (63USD) for 15 people and below, 3,500PHP  for 25 people and below, and 4,000PHP for 30 people and below. The boat ride would take about 1 hour to get to the island.

Best time to go to Kalanggaman Island

It would always be best to avoid the rainy season (June-October). However, with erratic and unpredictable weather due to global warming, you would just hope for a sunny forecast. LOL! But the best tip I could share to you is to avoid the weekends and holidays. It’s always pandemonium during those days as our tour guide described to us. Better plan going there on weekdays.

Should you plan to stay there for a night, which is more ideal, it is advisable to bring your own tent and food as there aren’t any accommodation or food stalls in the island. However, do note that the overnight island entrance is fee is 250PHP for local and 750PHP (16USD) for foreign.