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Kalanggaman Island in Leyte to reopen in August to town residents

/ 03:59 PM July 14, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY –– An island known for its powdery white sand beaches and crystal-clear sea waters will reopen to the public in August, about five months since it was closed due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town, Leyte, however, would only cater to residents of the town, who would be required to show a barangay certificate to prove that they come from the municipality, said Paulette Tuan, municipal tourism officer.

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“The health protocols like the wearing of face masks and physical distancing shall be strictly observed,” she said.

Kalanggaman Island is managed by the local government of Palompon and is considered to be the top tourist attraction not only in Leyte but the entire Eastern Visayas region.

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While they are excited for the reopening of Kalanggaman Island, Raoul Bacalla, municipal environment and natural resources officer, said people are a little bit worried since COVID-19 is still present.

“It’s more of calculated risky 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 prepare the tourism sector in adapting the new normal,” he added.

Bacalla said only 50 percent of the island’s carrying capacity of 500 persons per day would be allowed to set foot on the island once it opens in August.

Tuan hoped that they could fully open Kalanggaman Island to all tourists by next year, saying that much of their local income was generated from tourist receipts.

Last year, she said they generated P28.19 million from 1.16 million tourists who visited Kalanggaman Island.

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“We are dependent on the arrival of tourists since much of Palompon’s local income is derived from our tourism sector. And this also helps our micro-entrepreneurs like those in the restaurant and transportation business and even those in the souvenir-making industry,” Tuan said.

Edited by LZB

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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus disease. COVID-19, island, Kalanggaman Island, Leyte Philippine news updates, Regions, Tourism
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