Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Island of Calanggaman

Where is Calanggaman Island, you wonder? Checked the map (or several maps) and couldn't find it? I googled for maps showing where the island is and after so many links, finally found one that has teeny tiny Calanggaman on it.
Calanggaman Island is located between Cebu and Leyte

Now that we've spotted the island, what's the shortest route? Looking at the map, I'd say via Nailon, in Bogo, if you're in Cebu, or via Polompon, if you're in Leyte. True enough. But, coming from Cebu, we didn't pick Bogo, instead opted to take a pumpboat from Maya (where you can also hop on an outrigger to Malapascua Island) at Daanbantayan (contact Seri PaƱares at 0915 835 7011). Reason: the pumpboat we contacted in Maya was bigger (26 cap.) and had lifevests. Am I a worrywart? Prudent, more like. The waters between Cebu and Leyte can get real rough.
The day we set off for Calanggaman, the sea was calm. Very calm. It was like sailing on oil. (According to the warden of the island, rough waters are more normal.) Another plus was spotting dolphins on the way, and sea turtles on the way back!

What can you find (and cannot find) in Calanggaman Island:
1. Clear turquoise waters, yes.
2. Sandbars on the east and west ends of the island. Do not attempt to swim here unless you want to get swept away in no time.
Sandbar on the east side
3. Cottages for day use are available for Php 250.
4. Cottages for sleeping? None. Bring a tent or sleep on the sand and pray it won't rain.
5. No freshwater for bathing, washing, drinking. Bring gallons of drinking water.
6. Drinks are sold by the LGU but there are times only the lifeguard is available (and so the store is closed). Better bring your own supply.
7. No restaurants, sari-sari stores, markets, etc. (It is a small island!) Bring your own food if you don't want to starve.
8. There is an area for grilling. Bring charcoal.
9. No trash bins. Please bring garbage bags and take your trash back with you to the mainland.
10. There are two toilets on the island. Flush it down with seawater from a barrel outside.
11. A changing room is available.
12. No electricity. Bring flashlights (and batteries!).
13. Nearby is a pawikan (Philippine sea turtle) sanctuary.
14. You will find many giant clams on the waters off the north side of the island. Don't forget your snorkel and mask.
15. Seasnakes come out at night and rest on the rocky part of the island. Stay away!
 Photo by: Zeigfred Tumala

Our "itinerary", if you will:
Day 1
4:00 AM - Meet at North Bus Terminal
4:30 AM - Head to Maya via Ceres bus
8:00 AM - Arrive in Maya
8:30 AM - Sail for Calanggaman Island
10:00 AM - Step foot on Calanggaman Island

Day 2
9:00 AM - Goodbye Calanggaman Island
10:30 AM - Back in Maya
11:00 AM - Hop on the Ceres bus back to Cebu
2:30 PM - Arrive in Cebu

Okay, so I obviously don't do itineraries. My "itinerary" usually just shows travel time and the rest is up to me and my companions, whatever we feel like doing. If we're hungry, we eat. If we feel like playing games, then games we do. Feeling tired, then it is time to sleep.
Eat. Play (cards). Sleep.

How Calanggaman bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Cebu to Maya (nonAC Ceres bus) Php 163
26 cap. pumpboat Php 5000 (overnight)
Calanggaman Island overnight fee Php 225 (for nonPalompon residents)
Maya to Cebu (nonAC Ceres bus) Php 163

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