Kalanggaman Island and Sand Bar

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Sunrise at Cordova, Cebu

The sun was already up as we waited for the boat to arrive at the RORO (roll-on roll-off) port in Cordova, Cebu. It would be the boat’s maiden voyage from Cebu to Palompon’s Kalanggaman Island. We booked ourselves for this epic trip. Epic may not be the correct word to describe our journey (it was more of a disappointment actually) but in the course of telling you about my Kalanggaman experience, I rather not include the story of how the boat’s maiden voyage consumed most of that one fine Sunday of April 2016.

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Epic journey with this boat

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E is for Eastern Samar

There are places which needed proper planning and schedule of visit or travel because it is very far and the option for transportation is close to none. Stories of isolation and the lack of available information could deter anyone from trying at least to schedule a trip to these unpopular land.

But for me, Eastern Samar is not one of those places. This province is just biding its time to be made known to the rest of country, or to the travelers, and perhaps to the surfing world.

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Sidlangan Samar or Eastern Samar is my 63rd province to visit. This province occupies the eastern section of Samar Island, facing the Philippine Sea, which is a part of Pacific Ocean, to the east. It is bordered by Northern Samar to the north and the province of Samar (Western Samar) to the west. The Leyte Gulf is at the south.

Typhoons often come to Eastern Samar. Its southern town of Guiuan was one of the many places where super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made landfall. Almost 3 years had passed since it was ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda, Eastern Samar is now back on its feet and has since moved on to face new challenges in the present time.

One of the challenges it might be facing is how to draw tourists and travelers to its shores. The province has a long shoreline and several islands which promise significant swells or waves that can attract surfers or the thalassophiles. Although the main roads going through Borongan City, the provincial capital, is good, options for transportation is still limited to mini-buses, vans and the tricycle.

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My visit to this province was focused on Borongan City. How to get there?

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Volcanic Biliran

Biliran is one of those provinces which started off as part of a bigger province. Relatively new as a province, tourism has just started to roll at this side of Eastern Visayas. In no time, this island province would be a welcome option for those who would like to visit places other than Boracay, Palawan among others.

Biliran is my 60th province to visit.

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This province is very much accessible either from Tacloban or Ormoc, if you come from Manila or Cebu. Travel time could be from 3-6 hours. From Cebu, hop in a fast craft to Ormoc City. If you take the 6:30am trip, you’ll reach Ormoc by 9am. Just across Ormoc City Pier is the integrated bus-van terminal. You can either take the bus or the air conditioned shuttle van, just look for “Naval” sign board.

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L is for Leyte

Resilient Leyte. That province which was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and was put into the limelight and gained the sympathy and the hearts of people all over the world, is slowly picking up itself and painfully rising from the horrors of it all. Leyte, the anchor province of Eastern Visayas, is rebuilding itself.

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Leyte Provincial Capitol

Even before the tragedy that was Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda), Leyte has been on-track for progress and development. The province’s major cities – Tacloban and Ormoc had seen the rise of economic activities with businesses opening up, malls, hospitals, hotels and restaurants.

Just before Typhoon Haiyan, Tacloban was elevated to an HUA (highly urbanized area) status which made it an independent from the provincial government. Tacloban hosted several regional offices for decades until they were transferred to the adjacent town of Palo. Tacloban serves as the transportation and tourism hub.

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