Region’s tourism crown jewel
TACLOBAN CITY- The Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town, Leyte province is set to open to tourists this August, almost seven days after it was closed due to quarantine.
And initially, the island known for its white powdery sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters, would only cater among residents of the town who will be required to show a barangay certificate stating that they are indeed local residents, Paulette Tuan, municipal tourism officer, said.
“We will strictly observe the health protocols like the wearing of face masks and social distancing,” she said.
Kalanggaman Island is being managed by the local government unit of Palompon and is considered to be the top tourist attraction not only of Leyte but the entire Eastern Visayas region.
While they are excited for the reopening of Kalanggaman Island, they are still a little bit worried considering of the current situation, Raoul Bacalla, municipal environment and natural resources officer, in another mobile phone interview
“It’s more of calculated risk kind of excitement rather than fun excitement we are feeling right now because everything is a whole new ball game. We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” he said.
“The local government unit will be using Kalanggaman Island as a pilot project relative to reenergizing the tourism industry of the locality. Hence, it is not an economic augmentation initiative but rather a strategy to ready tourism sector in adapting the new normal,” he added.
Initially, only 50 percent of the island’s carrying capacity of 500 a day would be allowed to set foot on the island once it open in August, he added.
Tuan said that they hope that by next year, they could fully open to tourists the Kalanggaman Island saying that much of their local income are generated from tourist receipts.
She said that last year, they generated P29 million from the more than 100,000 tourists who visited Kalanggaman Island.
“We are really depend on the coming of tourists as much of Palompon’s local income are derived from our tourism sector. And this will also help our micro- entrepreneurs like those in the restaurant and transportation business and even those in souvenir-making industry,”Tuan said.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA/JOEY A. GABIETA)