24 Hours in Biri, Northern Samar (Itinerary and Details)

The town of Biri is not that much of famous tourist destination. Well, it only boasts geological marvel, nothing special! From the last time I visited, the town is not yet prepared to cater the influx of travelers with only a few places to stay, unorganized boats servicing from mainland to the island.

This travel was quite memorable. One, this destination cost me my DSLR! Getting to Biri was also quite a task. Let me tell you about it.

Biri is a 5th Class Municipality with a population of 11K. It is a group of islands located above the Samar Island. To its east is the Pacific Ocean.

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Getting to Biri

  1. By Land.
    • Ride a bus from Cubao heading to Matnog, Sorsogon. Matnog is the exit of Luzon Island going to Visayas.
    • At the Matnog Port, ride a Ferry going to Samar Island (Allen Port). Side kwento: The Matnog Port is mainly a RORO port. Buses from Manila going to Tacloban and other Logistical concerns are carried out. As an “independent” passenger, you will just hitch to the ride, so there is no definite time the boat will traverse from Matnog to Allen. I got to the port around 10am, and left Matnog at around 1230.
    • From Allen Port, take a jeepney to Lavezares. You can also opt to rent a tricycle.
    • Get off at the Market Place. Look for the mini-port going to Biri. It should be less than 50m from the main street.
    • Ride a boat to Biri. Side kwento: I had an irritating experience with this. The moment I arrived to the port, a boatman approached me offering a Php1,500 for a special ride to the island. Then many boatmen approached me offering around Php 1K for the ride. The boatmen were talking behind each other trying to close a deal with me. It was a great turn off as a visitor to the place. It created an impression of disorganized tourism and taking advantage of the tourists. It was such a nightmare being approached by different boatmen pushing for their deal while talking negatively about the other boatmen. Well, I arrived the port around 2PM. After an hour of not biting to any of their offer, a commuters boat finally arrived. Since the boat ride is around 2hrs, I just can’t wait for the boat to be loaded that time as I really wanted to see the sunset in Biri. A boatman approached me offering Php 400 one way. I took it! Well, passengers boat would cost you Php 50-100.
  2. By Air.
    • Fly to Catarman.
    • From the airport, take a tricycle going to the jeepney terminal.
    • Ride a Jeepney going to Lavezares.
    • Get off at the Market Place. Look for the mini-port going to Biri. It should be less than 50m from the main street.Ride a boat to Biri. Side kwento: I had an irritating experience with this. The moment I arrived to the port, a boatman approached me offering a Php1,500 for a special ride to the island. Then many boatmen approached me offering around Php 1K for the ride. The boatmen were talking behind each other trying to close a deal with me. It was a great turn off as a visitor to the place. It created an impression of disorganized tourism and taking advantage of the tourists. It was such a nightmare being approached by different boatmen pushing for their deal while talking negatively about the other boatmen. Well, I arrived the port around 2PM. After an hour of not biting to any of their offer, a commuters boat finally arrived. Since the boat ride is around 2hrs, I just can’t wait for the boat to be loaded that time as I really wanted to see the sunset in Biri. A boatman approached me offering Php 400 one way. I took it! Well, passengers boat would cost you Php 50-100.

What Did I Do?

Day 1:

5PM Arrival on Biri Proper

5-6PM Check-in Homestay, Stroll

6-8PM Eat Dinner

Day 2:

5AM Rise and Shine

530-10AM Rock Formations

1030AM Leave the Island

What to see

Day 1

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On your way to the island, you will see this strange statue. Well I personally find it worrysome since it seems like that Mary is saving “sinking Jesus”. I just do not agree with this depiction.

 

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Get to witness the sunset. The boats will be your actors, and the sun and the island will be your background.

 

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Upon arriving, you will see that the town of Biri highly relies on fisheries. A number, if not the most, of houses are build along the coast.

 

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As you walk along its streets, you will see that people know almost each other very well.

 

Day2

Woke up at around 5am. I fixed myself, and ate Sky Flakes as breakfast.

Packed my camera, put on my slippers, and left the home. I met up with the guide at around 515AM. We rode a motorcycle to the rock formations, with minimal light. Try to bring a flashlight with you.

Magasang Rock Formation

You can proceed to Magasang during low tide since you have to walk through the shallow waters to reach the rock formation. I was wearing flip-flop slippers and taking photos around. After walking through the seaweeds part, we reached the “rocky” part. Quite different to my expectations on the rocks, they were actually slippery. And yes, I slipped off, that brought me minor injury as I hit my body to the rocks. Yes, that was where my DSLR fell off and bid its goodbye to me.

The top image was the last one that I took with my camera.

Well, all the pictures below were taken through phone camera.

 

Bel-At Rock Formations

No camera can justify the 360-view of Bel-At. Every direction you look, you only see scenes your eyes cannot even fathom. You can climb the rock formations and see the “layers” up close.

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Biri boasts its rock formations. It is a great wonder to the eyes that lets you imagine how these rock formations came to happen.

 

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What makes the trip even more exciting is the view of the Pacific Ocean hitting the rocks hard.
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A panoramic view of Bel-At Rock Formations.

Leaving the Island

After the tour, I talked to the tourguide and asked him if there is a passenger boat going back to the main island. Well, he said yes and showed me the boat terminal on our way back to the homestay. Side kwento: Upon arrival to the homestay, two boatmen approached me offering 400 pesos back to the mainland claiming that there was no passenger boat on a Sunday. I just ignored him, packed up my things, and proceeded to the boat terminal. The two boatmen were a bit embarrassed when they saw me walking to the terminal. It only cost me 80 pesos.

Notes:

1. Bring water! The whole trip will be about walking for hours, so better make sure to bring lots of water with you.

2. The tour guides are not yet professional tour guides (I think Biri is not yet ready for tourist influx). I suggest you take extra caution on your movements since the pathways can be dangerous. Wear sandals if you have to! You do not want to make the same mistake I did.

3. Say no to comfort! The town of Biri is a simple island and it is not a trip for those seeking for comfort. Homestay is a good option if you want to save. Riding a motorcycle can also be challenging. Being soaked under the sun is the most challenging part.

4. Bring cash! There are no ATMs in the area.

5. Bring a Geology expert with you! I brought Mart, my friend taking up MS Geol in UP Diliman. The experience of the trip was very much different if you have someone explaining the technicalities of the formations.

 

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