Friday, September 16, 2016

My Solo Trip to Kalanggaman Island

If you are fond of travelling to beaches with a spectacular sandbar, this is the place that you probably want to visit. Just in case you have a drone with you, you are lucky. This island is best viewed in the air! Since im poor and cant afford to buy a drone yet, I'll settle with these pictures for now. The place is pretty much amazing to me. Amazing enough to go even when you're travelling alone! Welcome to Kalanggaman Island. I'l show you my journey to this wonderful piece of land. Tara! Biyahe tayo!

This is actually a group trip. Unfortunately, all of em backed out. I cant blame one of em coz she got really sick and even got rushed in the hospital. This is actually my first time to travel alone. It's different when you travel with a group tour like the ones in group trips. There, even if you're a solo traveller, you are still travelling with a group. Sometimes you even get lucky bumpin with some of your old friends... sometimes even your ex. This one is different coz you are on your own. You buy your own ticket, You ride the plane alone. You go hitchin a van and a tricycle all by yourself. You have to use your brains and wits to endure this trip. By that, it's something challenging. Im'ma tell you I was afraid at first coz my effin conscience tells me a lot of what ifs... Damn i just got out of my bed, packed my bags and went to the airport! I got to do this coz we only live once! 

A lot of things great things happened! Things that normally dont happen when your travelling with someone. Like, my pair of nose hair trimmers got confiscated...i didnt know its illegal to bring those on a carry on... Things like sitting beside a window. When I was with.... :(  Most of the time I gave her the window seat coz she likes it there even though i really like to sit there as well. Im not complaining or anything. I just want her to enjoy the flight.  Now that Im all alone, i have the window seat all by myself. I took the early morning flight which is a good thing coz you'll see moments like this! Sunrise at 30,000 feet! It's such an awesome view! 

When the plane was above Bicol region, I saw Mayon Volcano in its most epic view! It's really amazing. I never saw Mayon like that... It's really spectacular! I'm like a kid who just went on his 1st airplane ride! I was also thankful back then that the weather is really good. Back in Manila, it was raining really hard. Maybe thats one of the reasons why some of my travel mates backed out. Sayang coz the weather going to Leyte was really smooth. 

Her name is Blanch. She's the head flight attendant of this trip. I have to admit shes pretty. Wait what?  Why am I checkin her out? Well I dunno... Maybe because we were given eyes to see the beauty of God's creations? hmm.. anyways. On with the trip! 

I have reached Tacloban at around 7am and when I got out of the airport, a crowd of testosterone filled van drivers rushed towards me asking me where I'm going... I said I'm going to Palompon City. One driver asked me to rent his van all by myself by 3,500 pesos! Hell no! One guy took me to his tricycle and took me to Abucay Terminal where the vans and busses are located going to Palompon. That guy charged me 250 pesos! I could have just rode a jeep for less than 10 pesos! Oh well. Charged to experience!

At the van, I took shotgun and paid for the seats in front! I was really comfy along with my bags beside me. I saw the winding roads of Leyte! The rice fields. The different towns that is used to be  devastated by Typhoon Yolanda. I saw their fast development and recovery. A lot of buildings are newly built but you can still see some structures ravaged by the typhoon. It was a long ride but I enjoyed it! 

I arrived at Palompon and I registered at the Eco Tourism Building. Thats the place where you can schedule a boat ride going to Kalanggaman Island. The staff there also briefed me about what to expect in the island. They told me that there are no stores in the island. There are no freshwater to drink. Theres no electricity. But phone signal is strong. Ok.. They also told me that the boat going to the island costs 3,000 pesos! Good Lord! I have to wait for some people to split the fair with. I waited for 3 hours and I almost lost hope. Good thing 3 couples arrived and there it is! With that stroke of luck, we we're on our way! But before left, I  already bought some food. I also bought a litter of drinking water for myself. I should have bought two!  Im'ma stay overnight at the island. Im going to pitch my tent there. I just bought a couple of noodles, some bread, crackers and coffee to live... 

I met these really nice people! All of em are actually travellers in their own way! One couple actually owns an online travel website and they'r doing an ocular visit to Kalanggaman! The guy at the back, Kiko, loves to travel around the country like theres no tomorrow! He really uses his Vacation leaves really well coz he travels for 2 weeks straight!!! Amazing... How I wish I can do that as well! Its great to meet all of them! 

Kalanggaman is not really that far from Palompon. If you're a seasoned swimmer or a freaking triathlete you can just swim your way to the island! I'm neither and I'm freakin fat and slow so riding a boat is probably a better idea for me. This is my favorite shot everytime I travel by boat. I just hope someday my go pro wont go diving ahead of me. I'd have to punch myself if ever that happens. From this photo, you can see Kalanggaman Island peeking! I am actually excited right at this moment! 

We're here! The beach is really nice! The best thing about this trip is that theres almost nobody in the island! During peak season, this island is packed with tourists! And that sucks. Locals said that there are times, international cruise ships once anchor docks  beside the island bringing people at the beach! Man thats crazy! I guess I came in a good day or am I? Imagine hot semi naked latinas playin beach volleyball... Ugh anyways.. Thank goodness! I cant believe  I'm really here! Its like I was sitting by my couch early that morning  contemplating on going or not and by a thrust of self encouragement from my crazy conscience, Im here!  Kalanggaman! You have been conquered by my crazy self!  Haha.  I'm so happy! 

The sand is white! Its not that fine though like the ones in Boracay, Bohol or Palawan. But I dont give a flying fck! Its a beach!!! Its my place of zen! I missed this! I missed it a lot. Took my slippers off and jumped onto the sand.... That feeling of sand hugs your feet is one of those things that I really really like.  

 I grabbed my stuff and I didnt even pitched my tent yet unlike the others. I just placed my stuff beneath a tree and went straight to Kalanggaman's famous sandbar! I just have to congratulate myself for travelling with a light camera! I love my Fuji XT1! Its not bulky and it makes awesome photos! I also brought along my GoPro for some wide shots like this. Of course like any other freaking tourist, I took a selfie! Theres a huge sign saying that swimming is prohibited around this area since the current is really strong that it may pull you down. You can swim at the middle part of the island though. As of the moment, i think my skin tone got 3 shades darker and its all good! 

I really need to have a moment at this monument (that freakin rhymes). According to the scripture at the bottom, this is the only remaining man-made structure standing after typhoon Haiyan. Can you just imagine every house, or shelter here is wrecked and wasted!  Ok... it deserves a photo! Got this on timer.  I look like a freaking dork here.   

Like they said. The island is pretty much untouched. No hotels, no stores. No booming loud music. No freaking dogs shitting  around. None of all that stuff. It's very quiet and peaceful! Some people dont want this kinda setup for a trip. But I do dig this! I can live with it. Its quite an experience! One positive note about this island is that it has a nice comfort room! Ceramic tile flooring.. reasonable height toilet. It's better than my toilet actually.  Theres even a bathing / changing area! The boatmen usually brings a gallon of fresh water for each individual for consumption. 

 I noticed though that there are solar lamp posts around! Thats a good thing coz when night came, its not dark. The place is well lit. It's easier to pitch a tent. It's easier to move. It's easier to get drunk! Yeah, we drank emperador with Royal Tru Orange as chaser! Haha!  Then the canned tuna that i bought, I mixed it with my crushed crackers! Galawang tambay lang eh no?! Hahaha! We had a great time goofin around. Talking about work. in general. Im enjoying meeting new friends. Conquering fears. Sand between your toes. Milky way visible by the naked eye...  This is how life should be. Simple. No complications.  We just lived by the moment and it felt good... 

Would you believe a sandbar woke me up? I slept with an open tent and there.. that view woke me up. Its freaking amazing to wake up with a view like that! I got a little hungover from lastnight's under the stars drinkin sesh with my new found island friends! I just asked from the locals for some hot water for my coffee and I was...fine. Unfortunately we have to leave a little early coz my friends have other plans. So I have no choice go with em. Unless i wanna swim back to Palompon...  It's all good anyways. I had enough of sand and tan all over.. I'm good and we took off at around 7am. By 11am I was already in Tacloban and stayed at Yellow Doors Hotel which is a pretty cool place by the way. Just look for  it via Trip Advisor and it has good reviews...

I'm gonna end this blog with this photo...The thought of travelling alone is something anyone should experience once in our lives.  Just remember that dont be afraid to try new things. You'l never knew what you will discover. You'l discover new things. You'l discover strength within surprisingly. Being alone, travelling is actually fun! Always remember that people can be really friendly if you smile a lot. Always start your conversation with a smile. Just be good. Be nice. Dont be an ass. Be polite and people will treat you well. 

This is life! Feeling alive! Doing things that you normally don't do! Now I'm cringing for another solo trip! Hmm where to next? Siargao? Batanes? Romblon? Wherever it may be, Im up to it! I really enjoyed my stay here in Kalanggaman. It's short but sweet.  I will definitely go back and I hope to the one who reads this blog should explore this one beautiful piece of land...

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