The local government unit of Palompon town in Leyte province is optimistic the visit of Miss Universe Philippines delegates to Kalanggaman Island last week will raise the interest of visitors to explore the town’s picturesque island.
Mayor Ramon Oñate said on Tuesday the tour of pageant candidates on May 3 would help raise awareness of tourists that the island is again open and ready to welcome guests, three years after it was temporarily closed due to pandemic movement restrictions.
“These Miss Universe Philippines candidates’ visit will really trigger the good promotion and we are hopeful that in the days to come, the arrival will increase. We are already preparing the residents of Palompon for the influx of tourists,” Oñate said in an interview.
On May 3, the 38 official candidates spent six hours in Kalanggaman for a break from their hectic schedule. They took a lot of photos for posting on their social media accounts.
Their visit to Kalanggaman is among the mission of the national beauty pageant to help promote and give a mileage to local tourist destinations through the social media posting of their official candidates.
The trip was on the sidelines of the national costume competition in this city on May 4.
Kalanggaman Island, a one-hour boat ride from the mainland, is a postcard-perfect virgin island with powder-white sand and crystal-clear waters and famous for its long sandbar that stretches toward both sides of the island that looks like a flying bird or “langgam” (Visayas term for bird) when viewed from the sky.
Kalanggaman has been contributing a lot to the local government’s income, according to the mayor.
In 2019, the island generated more than PHP25 million in income from guests, but this drastically dropped to only PHP1 million in 2020 due to pandemic.
This year, the local government is eyeing to generate PHP27 million in earnings from Kalanggaman through environmental fees ranging from PHP150 to PHP750 depending on their length of stay.
But even though they are targeting a higher income, Oñate said the natural beauty will be preserved and no major improvements will be implemented on the island.
He added that they will also strongly enforce the allowed carrying capacity of only 500 tourists a day. Those with plans to visit the island are asked to coordinate with the town’s tourism office and make a reservation.
The town mayor added that they are also preparing their residents particularly those who are into tourism enterprise and related businesses like the transport sector to become tourist-friendly to encourage visitors to return and bring more people with them. (PNA)