By Restituto Cayubit
TACLOBAN CITY–A German cruise ship with 300 European tourists visited Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte, last Thursday.
Karen S. Tiopes, Department of Tourism (DOT) director for Eastern Visayas, told Manila Bulletin the MS Europa, operated by Hapag-Lloyd, docked 10 hours in Kalanggaman before sailing for Hong Kong.
Tiopes said that during their brief stay, the tourists enjoyed the native food and delicacies, strolled the island’s sandbar and snorkeled and swam in its pristine water.
They were also entertained with folk dances like singkil and curacha by the local government unit of Palompon and the students of the Palompon Institute of Technology.
Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla said Kalanggaman, which is considered as the Leyte’s top island destination, has been attracting droves of local and foreign tourists.
The tourism revenue enabled the island to rebound from the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon Yolanda in November, 2013.
DOT records show that Kalanggaman earned R22.189 million from the 113,556 tourists who visited the island last year.
DOT said local tourists numbered 104,203 and domestic tourists 9,353.
Petilla said that in 2016 there were 95,677 tourists who visited the island, increasing to 101,312 in 2017.
Tourist revenue for 2016 reached more than R16 million and R18.5 million the following year.
Kalanggaman Island is about an hour by boat from Palompon town proper. The six-hectare island is considered as one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines.
The island features the powdery white sand beach surrounded by clear blue water.