Early one Sunday morning, about 20 of us headed out on the promise of a beach day. John and Carlo, two of our volunteers, knew of a fantastic and seldom visited island off the coast of Leyte but it would be a bit of a chore to get to. A rickety hour bus ride took us up through the winding green and lush hills of Leyte before depositing us in Palompon, a small coastal city where we would catch a pump boat to Kalanggaman Island.
Another bumpy and wet hour in the sea and Kalanggaman slowly came into view. A row of palm trees jutted out from the blue ocean, a small strip of white sand below. As we got closer, we could see this beach more than lived up to its promise. Sand as white as sugar, ombre turquoise seas gently lapped the shore, a white sandbar stretched lazily into the ocean. It was paradise found.
We lazed in the shade of the palm trees while John, Carlo and Brett prepared us a beach feast. Fish, mussels, pork belly, chicken, rice from the market in Palompon was all devoured with our fingers. It was some of the best food we had in the Philippines, and probably some of the best food ever.
After lunch our group disperesed a bit. Some laid in the shade in a food coma. Some walked around the island, you could probably lap the whole thing in 20 minutes. Tom climbed a palm tree. A spirited game of volleyball broke out.
As the sun sank low, we loaded up the boat that would take us back to shore. Sunburned, sandy, and salty we rode home as the sun sat on our perfect beach day.