Biri Island – Northern Samar (Travel Guide)

Biri Island - Biri Rock Formations

Biri Island is located in the province of Northern Samar. It is known for its 7 rock formations (Magasang, Bel-at, Magsapad, Caranas, Macadlaw, Puhunan and Pinanahawan) carved beautifully by the waves and time.

Biri Island - Northern Samar
Biri Rock Formations

I was planning to take this off of my list because of its distance from Biliran. It will cost me a lot of time, money and energy. But the thought of not going keeps bothering me. The next day, I decided to continue the trip… and it was worth it.

This was my last destination for my Eastern Visayas Trip and this is probably one of my favorite places I’ve visited in my life.

GOING THERE

This trip took me a lot of van transfers. I left Biliran at 7 AM for Tacloban. Upon reaching Tacloban, I took my lunch, then rode a van going to Catbalogan. There are no rides going straight to Allen. So, I did transfers from Catbalogan to Calbayog, then Calbayog to Allen.

When I reached Allen it is almost 4 PM. From the van terminal, I rode another tricycle going to the waiting spot for tricycles going to Lavezares. It took a while before we leave as we were waiting for other passengers. I arrived Lavezares around 5 PM. I was planning to stay at Lavezares but my feet led me to the port. A boatman approached me and he asked me if I’m going to Biri. He offered if we can divide the fare between me and another passenger. Without thinking of the consequences faring the seas at that time, I accepted his offer and decided to go for Biri.

Biri Island - Northern Samar
Boat ride going to Biri Island

I will never forget that boat ride.

The sun was setting and the waves were getting stronger. I saw the waves strongly crashed into a nearby island. The boat was shaking as if we’re going to stumble. I was nervous but my companions were calm as if everything were normal. After that life threatening ride, we arrived at the island safe and sound. The other passenger, Deo, asked me if I have a place to stay in. He suggested me his friend’s homestay.  I didn’t have any reservations, so I accepted his offer. We rode a habal-habal going to Poblacion where his friend is located.

Finally, after 11 hours of travel, I arrived at The Garcia’s Homestay.

BIRI ROCK FORMATIONS

BEL-AT

I was planning to go to the rock formations before sunrise but I forgot to inform my driver, Kuya Obet, about the pick-up time. We were able to start the tour at 6:30 AM. We fetched my guide, Kuya Eddie, at his house then proceeded to Bel-at rock formation.

Before reaching the rock formations, we crossed a bridge surrounded by mangroves. From there, I can see the ocean and the rock formations.

Biri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern Samar

The rock formations have intricate designs and you’ll wonder how it was formed. The combination of the strong waves, strong winds, and the scenery made the landscape surreal. It was like being in a dream world where magical landscapes exist. I stood there in awe.

Biri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern Samar
Caranas Rock Formation

The locals are very thankful for these rocks because it also serves as their protection from storm surges.

Biri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island - Northern Samar

Biri Island - Northern Samar

There is this pool just in between of Bel-at and Caranas where everyone is allowed to swim. I took a dip and appreciated the clear and cool waters.

Biri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern Samar

MAGASANG

Next, we visited Magasang, located on the far left of the rock line. We rode the habal-habal and reached the far end of the beach. The tide is rising so we have to cross the waters. There is a bridge that is supposed to reach Magasang but the plan changed to just being a short one. According to Kuya Eddie, there was this Enchanted Lady that protects the rock formations. The builders saw her and just after a few days, they died of unknown reasons. Fear surrounded the area, so the construction of the bridge was put to an end.

Biri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern Samar

Biri Island Rock Formations - Biri Island - Northern Samar

 

Biri Island - Northern Samar

Biri Island - Northern Samar

The formations in Magasang are more detailed and strange-looking. At the edge of the rock formation, a better view of Magsapad and the Pacific can be seen.

Biri Island - Northern Samar

Biri Island - Northern Samar
Pacific Waves
Biri Island - Northern Samar
The view of Magsapad Rock Formation

Biri Island - Northern Samar

BRGY. POBLACION

After visiting the rock formations, I took my lunch and explored the town. It was peaceful and simple. I happened to meet Kuya Eddie and Kuya Obet at a basketball court where I tried to rest. They shared stories about the history, recent events, legends, and myths in the island, including one story wherein a mysterious Japanese suddenly stayed in the island. Rumors say that he had a treasure map given to him by his World War 2 soldier relative. When the guy left, they all thought that he have found the treasure and brought it back to Japan.

In the afternoon, I took my last stroll in Poblacion, then returned to my accommodation to prepare my things for my return tomorrow. I sat at the port and watched as the sun sets. My journey to this part of the country made an impact to me. It made an urge to me to discover, to explore and to experience more this country I called home.

Biri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island - Northern SamarBiri Island - Northern Samar

Biri Island - Northern Samar
St. Vincent Ferrer Church

 

This concludes my Backpacking trip in the Visayas. I returned back to Tacloban for my last roam and for my flight back to Manila. I’ve learned so many things during my travels, met new people and gained unforgettable experiences. I didn’t have a proper itinerary but somehow I happened to finish the trip and returned back home. I haven’t visited a lot of destinations, but the highlights would be the experiences and the memories I’ve accumulated throughout the trip.

 

ITINERARY

DAY 5 (BILIRAN-Naval-LEYTE-Tacloban-SAMAR-Catbalogan-Calbayog-NORTHERN SAMAR-Allen-Lavezares-Biri Island)

7:00 AM
Rode van going to Tacloban
9:00 AM
Arrived in Van’s Van Terminal in Tacloban/Lunch
10:00 AM
Rode van going to Catbalogan
11:00 AM
Transferred to van going to Calbayog
1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Arrived at Calbayog/Transferred to van going to Allen
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Arrived at Allen/Rode Tricycle going to Lavezares
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Arrived at Lavezares/Road Boat Going to Biri Island
6:00 PM – 6:15 PM
Arrived at Biri Island/Rode Habal-habal going to Garcia’s Homestay in Brgy. Poblacion
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Explored Town/Dinner/Socials
9:30 PM
Sleep

DAY 6 (NORTHERN SAMAR-Biri Island)

5:30 AM
Woke Up
6:30 AM
Registered for Biri Rock Formations Tour
7:00 AM
Started Biri Rock Formations Tour
10:30 AM
Back in Poblacion/Logged out
11:00 AM
Lunch
12:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Explored town and talked to locals
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Back to Accommodation/Rest
4:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Explored town/Dinner
9:00 PM
Sleep

DAY 7 (NORTHERN SAMAR-Biri Island-Lavezares-Allen-SAMAR-Calbayog-LEYTE-Tacloban)

5:30 AM
Rode Habal-habal going to Sto. Nino Port
6:00 AM
Road Boat Going to Lavezares
7:00 AM
Arrived at Lavezares/Rode Tricycle going to VS Grandtours Terminal in Allen
7:30 AM – 8:00AM
Arrived at Allen/Rode Van going to Calbayog
10:00AM
Arrived at Calbayog/Rode van going to Tacloban
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Arrived at Tacloban/Lunch
2:00 PM – 3:30PM
Bought Pasalubongs and visited Sto. Nino Church
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Rode Jeepney going to Airport
6:00 PM
Departed Tacloban
7:05 PM
Back in Metro Manila

 

EXPENSES

DAY 5

Van from Naval to Tacloban
120 Pesos
Van from Tacloban to Catbalogan
100 Pesos
Van from Catbalogan to Calbayog
100 Pesos
Van from Calbayog to Allen
80 Pesos
Tricycle from VS Grandtours terminal to Tricycle Terminal
10 Pesos
Tricycle from Allen to Lavezares
20 Pesos
Boat From Lavezares to Biri Island
250 Pesos
Habal-habal from Sto. Nino Port to Poblacion
10 Pesos
Garcia’s Homestay
250 Pesos
Food and Water
214 Pesos

DAILY EXPENSES = 1154.00 Pesos

DAY 6

Environmental User’s Fee (EUF)
50 Pesos
Guide Fee
300 Pesos
Habal-habal Fee
195 Pesos
Habal-habal Driver waiting charges (25 Pesos per hour)
75 Pesos
Garcia’s Homestay
250 Pesos
Food and Water
139 Pesos

DAILY EXPENSES = 1009.00 Pesos

DAY 7

Habal-Habal from Poblacion to Sto. Nino Port
10 Pesos
Boat from Biri Island to Lavezares
200 Pesos
Tricycle from Lavezares to VS Grandtours Terminal in Allen
30 Pesos
Van from Allen to Calbayog
100 Pesos
Van from Calbayog to Tacloban
220 Pesos
Pasalubong
390 Pesos
Jeep from Tacloban Downtown to Airport
20 Pesos
Food and Water
179 Pesos
Terminal Fee at Airport
150 Pesos

DAILY EXPENSES = 1299.00 Pesos

 

Check out my KALANGGAMAN ISLAND – LEYTE POST for the start of my itinerary and expenses.

Or

Check out my BILIRAN PROVINCE POST for the continuation of my itinerary and expenses.

Or

Check out my EASTERN VISAYAS TRAVEL GUIDE for the whole itinerary and expenses.

 

REMINDERS/GUIDES/TIPS

  • If you want yo see the sunrise on the rock formations, tell your habal-habal driver and guide to pick you up early. An early registration will be sent to the tourism office.
  • Public Boats going to Biri Island starts from 6:00 AM. If you happen to miss it, you can hire one for 700-750 Pesos or wait for other passengers so you can divide the fare.
  • Most of the accommodations are located in Barangay Poblacion. If you were dropped at Barangay Sto. Nino, you can ride a habal-habal for 10 Pesos.
  • VS Grandtours offers trips from Calbayog going straight to Tacloban and vice versa.
  • Best time to travel is during summer.
  • Bring a waterproof bag for your gadgets. You’ll do water crossing before reaching the rock formations.
  • Bring swimming attires. There exists a pool just in between the rocks that anyone can swim in.
  • Other Activities in Biri: Scuba Diving and Surfing in Cogon
  • Be careful when standing near the edges as you might get swallowed by the waves.
  • If you are coming from Luzon, you can ride RORO from Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen, Northern Samar. There are instances that a ship will go directly from Matnog to Biri.
  • Accommodations:
    Garcia’s Homestay
    Natividad Garcia: 0927 861 9272
    Biri Resort and Dive Center
    0999 682 0565
    Glenda’s Bed n’ Breakfast
    0926 743 5479
    Villa Amor
    0935 366 1415 / 0920 612 7969
  • For Guide, contact Eddie Evangelista: 0920 654 6951
  • For habal-habal ride, contact Obet Balinsuga: 0997 461 9234

 

TRAVEL DATE: MARCH 16-18, 2017

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