MS Europa, an international cruise ship, dropped anchor at Kalanggaman Island, Palompon, Leyte with more than 300 tourists on board. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)

PALOMPON, Leyte – For almost half a day, about 300 European tourists did nothing but enjoy the raw yet stunning beauty of the Kalanggaman Island, this town.
The foreign tourists, on board of MS Europa, a cruise ship owned and operated by a German company, Hapag-Lloyd, arrived at the famed island on Thursday(March 21)from their visit in Bohol.
“I’d been in this island for a couple of times. What we love in this place, aside from the beautiful white sand beach and the water, are the facilities that are basic needs of tourists like the toilets and dressing area,” Sacha Ritcher, MS Europa said.
For 10 hours, tourists ate barbeque and stroll the island’s sandbar, swim on its clear and clean water; do some snorkeling. Others simply had their sun bathing in the island.
And during their brief stay in Kalanggaman, they were entertained with folk dance performances like curacha and singkil by the students of the Palompon Institute of Technology and from the local government unit.
After Kalanggaman Island, MS Europa sailed to Boracay Island where they stayed for 10 hours before leaving for Hong Kong.
Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said that they prefer small cruise ships like MS Europa visiting the island destinations of the region.
“This type of cruise ship is the most appropriate type for our tourist destinations because we don’t want our islands to be overwhelmed. They will only leave minimal footprint when they leave the island,” she said.
Tiopes added that only two cruise ships had informed their office of doing port call in the region, one was MS Europa 2 that also visited Kalanggaman last January.
“But this doesn’t mean that there are only two cruise ships for this year, because there are instances that we receive surprise call from cruise operators in Manila that there is a cruise ship coming to Eastern Visayas,” she added.