I‘ll give it to you straight now. Kalamansig has some of the most beautiful island beaches I’ve seen my entire island hopping life. Its well preserved, pristine marine fauna has yet to be discovered by many non local divers. Above all, Kalamansig is home to the most peace loving, humble and shyest people I’ve met in this part of the country.
Balet Island (Pungol Danawan) as viewed from another Island in Brgy. Paril Kalamansig
There’s a catch though and I must warn the touristy travellers. Kalamansig’s island beaches still lack the conveniences most tourist destination have- electricity, potable water, cellphone signal or a red carpet welcome. That ironically, gave Kalamansig its enigmatic beauty for me. Try to sleep for one night, without your gadgets in Balet Island “Long House” and you can hear the splash of waves and the smell of the sea right under your bed.
Oh, have I told you there’s a perfect sunset view from almost everywhere in this costal town?
And that crabs are considered ordinary food here?
Kalamansig pristine natural resources is not exempt from threats of destruction. Mining industry have intensified their campaign to operate in this area. Good thing the local executive Mayor Rolando Garcia filed a case to the supreme court, barring these mining companies from starting their operation. A Kalamansigueno told us the town isn’t fully ready yet for the influx of tourists. Without adequate tourism infrastructure or sustainable ecotourism program, Kalamansig’s natural resources will be overwhelmed. Kalamansig has been peaceful as far as many years back, but the surrounding areas continue to be hotspots of conflicts. This understandably repelled visitors and tourist from coming over.
Thus if you’re going to ask me, is it “ok” to go to Kalamansig, keep in mind the things I’ve stated above. Kalamansig is beautiful no question about that. Just don’t expect a red carpet welcome and complain about cellphone signal, electricity or potable water in some island beaches there.
The rugged beach in Balet Island (Pungol Danawan) is more appealing to this author
If you are the touristy type prince/princess expecting to be served conveniences in this beautiful island, Kalamansig is not for you. But if you’re the rugged, non picky outdoor enthusiast with a shallow comfort level, be ready to be amazed!
Here are my suggestions if you want to go to Kalamansig. These are basic outdoor courtesies actually:
- First, have a trusted contact person from kalamansig to coordinate everything you plan to do here. Coordinate with Kalamansig LGU – tourism of your plans.
- Research about the place. This is a must if you are are an outdoor photographer.
- Reserve a seat and take note of the transportation schedule to and from Kalamansig. Mode of transport in Kalamansig is by tricycle. Going to islands require a motorized banca.
- There’s an inn in the nearby town of Lebak, but none in Kalamansig. Poral beach offers huts and cabanas for overnight use. Couch surfing isn’t available in Kalamansig either.
- Do not wander alone in Kalamansig. It’s either you tag along your contact person or get a guide. And No, you cannot just hike to the pier and hire boats for island hopping on your own.
- Spend time with the indigenous people first before doing anything else. Mingle, giggle, listen, or even share stories, knowledge to them. The Manobos are one of friendliest IPs I’ve met. Makes your adventure more fun!
- Get permission from owners of private lands/ near coast where you plan to go ahead of time.
- Take nothing but pictures but observe proper courtesies when photographing people. A kid cried when I aimed my camera on her. She’s unconsolable.
- Leave nothing but goodwill.
- Do not try to alter anything in the environment. Bring your trash with you.
- If you wanna go snorkelling near the shore, please please, do not step on the coral reefs. This town strictly impose laws to preserve their marine fauna.
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing. Expect to be baked in the sun or get stung by the spine of a sea urchin.
My personal itinerary suggestion is you start exploring the town on your first day capping it with a sunset shoot at the pier. Sleep over Poral beach for the silhouette sunrise in the nearby Tayandac Beach. Well, there’s no sunrise in Kalamansig actually but the sunset in Tayandac Beach is heavenly . In the morning head on to Brgy Paril for the boat ride to Balet island. I suggest you get to Balet Isand first and stay at the Long House. Then head on to Balet island and wait for the sunset there. Just snorkelling around Balet Island is an amazing experience already. When you go back to the town center or Poral Beach, ride a motorized banca and drop by the three islets fronting the pier. There’s a shallow portion near one of the islets (the one with an abandoned watch tower) where you will see a floor of coral reefs just by looking at the clear waters. Its very good snorkelling site though. Lastly, try to catch the fiery orange sunset at Tayandac Beach by late afternoon. Then drool at the view of a perfect sunset facing Celebes Sea.
Leave nothing but goodwill
Now, are you interested? Wait till I enumerate the TOP TEN PERSONAL DISCOVERIES IN KALAMANSIG in my next post!