Leyte: Kalanggaman Island and Danao Lake

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Story by Lovel Aniag / Photos by Lovel Aniag and Angela Go

Being an archipelago in South East Asia, the Philippines is definitely #blessed with natural wonders. Visit any of its 7, 641 islands and you are almost assured of a beach to laze around, several mountains and hills to climb, a number of waterfalls to chase, not to mention lakes, streams, river systems, sandbars, caves and maybe even a volcano or two.

The Island of Leyte, located in the eastern region of the Visayas group, is not only brimming with natural wonders, but is also the setting of significant historical events: from the institution of Christianity in the country, to the defeat of the Japanese forces during World War 2.

Kalanggaman Island
Kalanggaman Island got its name from the Bisayan word ‘langgam’ which translate to ‘bird’. Ironically, ‘langgam’ in means ‘ants’. Goes to show the diversity of each region in the country.

It is famous for its pure white sandbars, found on both ends of the island. When seen from above, the sandbars appear like wings, making the island look like a bird (hence, the name).

To reach the island, visitors need to sign up at the Palompon booking office. The office was pretty impressive. It was clean and roomy and located right next to the dock. The attending officers were knowledgeable, answering all of our queries and even suggesting the most efficient way to maximize our time in the island. They also have a set system to ferry tourists to and from the island.

I was really looking forward to this part of the trip. But high expectation almost always leads to big disappointments. While the sand is indeed white, I have seen better beaches up North.

There was also too many tourists. Campsite was crowded and there were music booming from several speakers from throughout the night.

The sunset on the other end of the island was the only redeeming sight during our stay.

Lake Danao
After spending the night, my friend and I decided to check out Lake Danao, a guitar-shaped lake within the mountains of Amindiwin.

We arrived early in the afternoon. A path opens up to the view of the majestic mountains draping the scenery, casting shadows on the calm, green lake.

There was only one other group already settled in their floating hut in the middle of the lake. Other than that, it was only my friend and I enjoying the peace of the place.

It was only Day 3 of my 9-day Leyte trip, but I already knew that this was the highlight of my entire trip. I had no idea this place existed and the last time my friend was here was decades ago. And yet the lake still looked pristine, untouched by modernity and tourism influx outside.

Between the two, I am definitely going back to Lake Danao. I can already imagine how awesome camping and stargazing here will be. Kalanggaman Island was okay, but it was too expensive for me and I’ve been to better and more isolated beaches.

How to get there
To Kalanggaman
From Tacloban, catch a shuttle to Palompon.
Get off at the market and ask for directions to Kalanggaman Booking Office.
Log in and wait for the ferry that will take you to the island.
Prepare Php 1,500 – 2,000 each, plus your own tent if you plan to stay overnight. No showering allowed in the island.

To Lake Danao
From Kalanggaman Island, take a shuttle to Ormoc.
Get off at the supermarket (you can buy your lunch here for less than 100php. ¼ kilo of lechon is 90php, good for 2 persons).
Look for the jeepney going to Lake Danao.
Get off at the jump off point and walk to the lake.
Prepare: Php 400 – 600 each

Thank you to my good friend, Angela Go for touring me around Leyte! Follow her on instagram: @ladysuadersz

Ingat and see you on the road!

Know a place I should discover? Or want to travel together? Email me at emaileatpraylovel@gmail.com

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