Biri Island is situated in the wonderful island of Northern Samar in the Visayas region. It is well-know for its remarkable seven (7) gigantic rock formations that is considered to be the 5th Philippine Gem.
Biri, just like any other town in the province of Northern Samar is simple, rural and old-fashioned. The east side of the island is facing the Pacific Ocean while the west side is facing the San Bernardino Strait. The seven massive rock formations are Bel-at, Caranas, Macadlaw, Puhunan, Pinanahawan, Magasang and Magsapad – all natural wonders of nature.
Habal-habal or motorbike is the main mode of transportation in going around the island. Our first destination was the Bel-at rock formation and there’s a tourism fee of 50php each upon arrival at the site.
There’s a makeshift bridge made of wood going to Bel-at. The tour guide said that it is at least a kilometer long and unfortunately, some of the steps are missing so you should watch out.
It is not advisable to swim in the ocean facing the rock formations, however, if you really wanted to swim, the natural pool or tidal pool below Bel-at is the ideal place.
The weather was a little bit gloomy when I went to Biri but it was actually pretty good because I could possibly get sunburnt if the sun was scorching hot. The waves were strong though.
360 degrees view video of Caranas Rock Formation.
Biri Island was the first destination that I traveled alone and I was really happy that my tour guide, Kuya Orlando, knows basic photography. I had a lot of amazing pictures of the rock formations.
Our next destinations were the Magasang and Magsapad rock formations. There’s a bridge (again) going to these rock formations so that they will still be accessible on high tides.
According to a geological study conducted by the National Institute Geological Sciences Research (NIGSR) of the University of the Philippines – Diliman, these rock formations are believed to be deposited some 84 to 24 million years ago and pushed up by tectonic movement generated by earthquakes and was later sculpted by the action of the Pacific Ocean through thousands of years.
How to get to Biri Island:
- If you’re from Manila, the fastest way is to catch a bus bound to Samar (Catbalogan or Tacloban) that crosses the San Bernardino Strait via RoRo and get off at Allen Northern Samar. Upon arrival at Allen port, catch a tricycle going to Lavezares Port. Travel time is around 30 minutes and fare is 50php each. Upon arrival at Lavezares port, catch a boat going to Biri Island. Boat fare is 50php each and the schedule is from 7am-11am only. Travel time is around an hour and 30 minutes.
- Alternatively, you may also opt to get off at Matnog Port (for those who are coming from Bicol) and catch a passenger boat going directly to Biri Island. I don’t know the schedule of the boat but one of the locals said that the travel time is longer and even if you ride the boat early, you will get off at Biri in the afternoon.
- If you’re from Cebu, catch a ferry bound to Calbayog. Ride a jeepney going to Lavezares and catch a boat going to Biri Island.
- Catch a flight going to Calbayog, Samar via PAL. Ride a jeepney bound to Lavezares and catch a boat going to Biri Island.
Where to Stay:
There are no high-end hotels in the island, there are only homestays, lodging inn and beach resorts. One of the commercial beach resorts that I came across was the Biri Resort and Dive Center. For homestays, I personally recommend Ezequiel and Lynn’s Homestay. For a solo traveller like me, a room costs 200php/night and the common bathroom is very clean and spacious.
Where to eat:
There are no fancy restaurants in the island, only small eateries or carinderia that offer cheap local foods.
Going around the island:
The most common mode of transport is the habal-habal or motorbike. To tour the rock formations, it is recommended to hire a tour guide. I personally recommend kuya Orlando Bulosan because he’s very kind and he knows basic photography. Most of the pictures posted here were taken by him. His contact number is +639054155803. Tour rates vary depending on the number of persons, maximum number of persons on a habal-habal is 5. For a solo traveller, the tour cost me 495php only.
Things/activities to do:
- Picture-taking on the rock formations.
- Swimming on the natural pools.
- Scuba diving and free diving.
- Island hopping to nearby islands of Biri.
- Surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling.
- Stargazing at Macadlaw Rock Formation.
- There are no ATM in the island so be sure to bring extra money in case of emergency.
- There are no credits accepted in the island.
- Best time to go is during the dry months.
- Bring water and snacks during your tour because there are no stores nearby the rock formations.
- Electricity runs only from 12nn-12mn.
- The only mobile signal that’s working as of the moment is Globe/TM.
- Boat rides going away from the island are scheduled only every morning at 6am-11am.
Here’s my short travel video. Sorry for the crappy edit. lol
For a very long time that I wanted to go to Biri, I only had the chance now and all I can say is that Biri truly rocks!