I know I’m prone to hyperbolic descriptions of most all beaches and islands I’ve written about here, but I need you to believe me when I say that Kalanggaman Island is the most beautiful, magical, heavenly place I’ve ever stepped foot on.
This little sandbar island is closest to the island of Leyte, but you can also visit it on a day trip from Malapascua Island off of Cebu. I went there for some R&R right after I completed my Advanced Open Water diving course on Malapascua.
My dive resort, Evolution, sometimes runs dive trips out there which daytrippers can hop on even if they’re not diving, but since it was the low season they didn’t have any dives scheduled near Kalanggaman. Instead, they made some calls and got me onto another boat heading to Kalanggaman from Bounty Beach, not even a 10 minute walk away from the resort. Too easy!
I was a little concerned about the cloudy sky as we headed out in the morning. Even as the island came into view, I felt a little underwhelmed by what I was glimpsing from afar.
Then as we were about to anchor, Kalanggaman opened for business. HOLY WHITE SAND BEACH!
Really there aren’t any words that can do this place justice, but I will feebly try.
The boats anchor right by the sandbar portion of the island, which you’ll see immediately if it’s low tide. Once the tide comes in it starts to disappear, so better to get out there sooner for your selfie! You’ll likely have to wait your turn though because Kalanggaman is very popular with the locals – and you know how Filipinos feel about their selfies, right?
It was tricky as a solo traveler to get the shot I wanted without the tripod that I forgot to bring along with me. I eventually asked some locals to take some pictures of me on the sandbar, but they took that to mean that they should take turns posing *with me* for photos. So I put up with the local paparazzi for some time before breaking away and insisting that they use my camera to shoot me by myself.
Once you get your sandbar selfie, I recommend wading straight out from here into the clearest water you may ever see in your life and doing continuous 360-degree spins to fully take in your incredible surroundings.
If the sun gets to be too much for you, you can retreat to the woodsy part of the island and seek refuge under the trees. This is where you’ll be served lunch, which for us was BBQ chicken and rice, aka the standard filipino meal.
I probably should have kept out of the sun at this point, but I was a woman with a mission: to spend as much time as possible frolicking in the water and sand of Kalanggaman Island! Shade is for pansies! (And also for smart people who don’t end up with thoroughly burnt arms and legs at the end of the day like I did – yikes!)
It was totally worth the horrible sunburn and rough boat ride back to Malapascua for the time we spent in paradise. I’m still not over the glorious Kalanggaman Island. I mean, woud you be?
As of September 2016 —
From Malapascua Island, the boat trip to Kalanggaman Island costs 1200-1500 PHP (US$25-31) depending on the season, and includes lunch. You can either book with your resort or ask one of the locals on Bounty Beach about booking a trip. Upon arrival, there is a 100 PHP (US$2) admission fee for the island.
The trip takes two hours if the water’s calm, but longer if the water’s choppy (which it usually is on the way back to Malapascua).