Cruise ship revives tourism in Leyte town after ‘Ursula’

Published January 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Marie Tonette Marticio

PALOMPON, Leyte – An island often hit by typhoons is now becoming a top cruise tourism destination in Eastern Visayas.


“The World” is the 6th cruise ship that has visited Kalanggaman Island here Thursday (January 9) since Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ (Haiyan) hit Eastern Visayas in 2013.

It is a residential cruise ship registered in Nassau, Bahamas with 129 passengers on board comprised of retired doctors, lawyers, and businessmen. Seventy percent of its 200 crew members are Filipinos.

Kalanggaman is a captain’s choice destination for the cruise. It was recommended by one of its crew members Jerome Dayon who is a native of Palompon.

Dayon expressed pride that his hometown was chosen because of its picturesque view and pristine waters.

Raoul Bacalla, Palompon’s Tourism Officer said the cruise ship’s visit is a big boost in the tourism industry not only in their town, but for the whole Eastern Visayas which was battered by Typhoon “Ursula” in December, 2019.

“We hoped for a cruise ship to come after Typhoon ‘Ursula’ because it is a pattern. Right after ‘Yolanda’ hit us, a cruise ship came which brought a ripple of interest to all tourists that will be visiting Eastern Visayas,” he said.

He added that sixty percent of their soft infrastructure on the island was damaged by the typhoon, including lifeguard stations, restrooms, and cottages, but they are not disheartened because such adverse weather condition brings back the sandbar–a natural process on the island.

Bacalla shared that it is their dream for Kalanggaman to be the top cruise tourism destination in Region 8 despite being constantly hit by disasters.

“We hope that Kalanggaman will be one of the springboard areas for tourism. There’s nothing we can do because we are a typhoon path area. It is not our option, it is an imposition because of our geographical location. We just need to adapt, and the best way to adapt is to prepare,” he stressed.

The tourists feasted on barbeque and explored the long white sand coastline of Kalanggaman, from the famous longer sandbar on the eastern part of the island to the shorter sandbar on the western side before heading to their next destination in Tagbilaran Bohol.