(News Feature)European cruise ship passengers get the taste of Leyte’s Kalanggaman Island

January 3, 2016 7:35 am 

By Vicky C. Arnaiz

TACLOBAN CITY, Dec. 31 (PNA) – The MS Europa 1, an international cruise ship of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruise Company in Europe, made a stopover on Tuesday in Kalanggaman Island, Palompon, Leyte.

This is the second visit of the cruise ship. The first was on April 26, 2013.

The ship made a historic first stop, where a crew member planted a marker at the welcome sign of the island.

Its port call ushers the arrival of tourists in the famed island with powdery white sand and sand bars. It also opened doors for Kalanggaman as cruise destination according to Raoul Bacalla of the office of Mayor Ramon Oñate.

There were close to 400 guests, mostly Europeans that were met by Palompon’s officials led by Vice Mayor Georgina Arevalo, Tourism Officer Cleofe Rivera and Bacalla. The officials noted that the tourists came mostly as family.

The town’s employees feted and welcomed with songs and dances.

Arevalo said that MS Europa’s visit means so much for the locality’s tourism industry. She is grateful that among other destinations in the Philippines, the company chose Kalanggaman.

The island was destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda’s fierce winds that hit the Central Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013.

The beautiful island, with an area of 8—hectares is 45 minutes from the mainland of Palompon.

MS Europa I was the first international cruise ship that brought cruise tourists to the island.

This was followed by MS Breman, MS Europa II among others bringing close to 2,000 tourists to the island in the last two years.

The tourists had the time of their life to eat sumptuous food, kayaking, swimming, frolic in the sand, scuba diving, snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding.

They also went shopping as the local government of Palompon brought native bags, wallets and other locally produced items.

For their entrance fees and use of kayaks, boats, paddle boards, the group paid nearly P200,000. Not bad for a one-day income, according to Bacalla.

The cruise ship arrived at 6 a.m. on December 29, and left at 7 p.m. on the same day.

After Kalanggaman, MS Europa made a port call at the world-renowned Boracay island also in Visayas.

Kalanggaman, the jewel of the northeast tourism corridor has welcomed 44,000 local and foreign tourists from January to November 2015. (PNA)

RMA/SQM/VICKY C. ARNAIZ

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