Beaches, Northern Samar

Travel Guide: Biri Island in Northern Samar

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Biri Island is located in Northern Samar, and known for it’s six majestic rock formations that were carefully sculpted by Mother Nature over centuries. It is also unique as it doesn’t have the same fine white-sand beaches like many famous places in the country. There is something beautiful about its rawness and remoteness – the jagged, scraggy rocks jutting out of the cliffs, and rock pools so blue with the clear sky as its background. The journey to this island is a rewarding one for the adventure-seekers.

biri-island-northern-samar-011The boardwalk to  Bel-at and Caranas Rock formations.

It is a 5th class municipality in the province of Northern Samar that is facing Pacific Ocean to the east and San Bernardino Strait to the west. It consists of several islands off the northern coast of Samar Island, the largest of which is Biri Island.

These rock formations are made due to the big waves of the San Bernardino Strait lapping up the eastern portion of its shore. There are 6 rock formations namely Magasang, Magsapad, Macadlao, Puhunan, Bel-at, and Turo, all of which have its own beauty and elegance. Magasang, one of the massive rock formations of the island, is one of the most visited attractions here. It is simply a stunning view; all of your tiredness will be paid off.

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biri-island-northern-samar-005Magsapad Rock Formation

Down from Magasang is the best natural saltwater pool in the Philippines, Bel-at, that has been the location of a number of local movies. You can swim and relax in the cold and clear waters after a long day of exploring and climbing the rock formations.

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How to get there

From Catarman Airport

  1. Take a tricycle to the bus terminal. If you take those trikes at the main parking lot of the airport the fare is P100 per trip. Travel time: 5 minutes.

  2. Ride a jeepney bound for Lavezares town. Inform the driver you intend to go to Lavezares Public Market. (Emphasis on Lavezares. When you just say pier or port, they easily assume that you mean the much bigger Allen port). Travel time: 1 hour. Fare: P50.
  3. Take a pumpboat that goes to Biri Port. They regularly depart from Lavezares for as early as 6:00 AM and as late as 4:00 PM. Normally, on a busy day, the cost is P60. But when there aren’t many passengers, you might just want to pay for the remaining seats or just split the cost with other passengers. Small boats can accommodate 14 passengers while bigger boats have double capacity. A private one-way trip ranges from P300 to P400 depending on your haggling skills. Travel time: 1 hour.
  4. From Biri Port, take a habal-habal (motorcycle) to the Tourism Center, minimum fare is P10 per person. Then pay tourism fee of P50.

  5. From the Tourism Center, take a habal-habal going to Biri jetty. Fair is P195 for 2-3 person.

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Biri Island in Northern Samar ❤

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Activities

  • Visit the six rock formations, all are accessible by foot.
  • Snorkeling or free diving – Boat rental is P300. Bring your own gear.
  • Scuba diving – there are more than 10 known dive spots nearby. Be sure to head to Biri Island during the summer season (February – May). You may contact Biri Resort and Dive Center at +639155090604, they are the only dive operator in the island.
  • Check out the old lighthouse in San Bernardino Island.

biri-island-northern-samar-009“Photo they took of me” Syndrome. K! 😐 

What To Bring

  • Biri Island is a remote destination, so bring enough cash with you for transactions such as habal-habal rentals and paying for accommodation and meals. Establishments/stores doesn’t accept credit cards.  But just in case you need one, you can go to Allen to withdraw cash.
  • The walk/hike going to the rock formations can be tiring so be sure to bring drinking water and light snacks.
  • Appropriate foot wear preferably a pair of aqua shoes.
  • Cellphone and power bank, place them in a ziplock.
  • For scuba driving and snorkeling, be sure to bring your own equipment as there are no shops where you can rent gear.

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Reminders

  • To ensure your safety, hiring a tour guide that is accredited by the LGU is required especially, if you want to jump from one rock formation to another. Fee is only P300.
  • You need to register and pay the Tourism Fee (P50) at the Municipal Tourism Office before visiting the rock formations. And keep your receipt as it will be inspected when you visit Magasang and Bel-at Rock Formations.
  • There are eateries and snack booths near the Tourism Office.
  • The best time to travel to Biri Island is during the dry months (February to May). The best time to reach the rock formations is during low tide.
  • There are very few establishments on the island, so there’s not much to do after seeing the rock formations and pools. If you’re looking for night life, this isn’t the place to go.

  • Camping is not allowed on and near the rock formations.
  • You can swim at the tidal pool until 5:00 PM.
  • Dialect spoken is a mix of Waray and Bicolano.
  • WiFi isn’t available. 3G and 4G signals aren’t reliable as well.

 

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LOCATION

BIRI ISLAND
Address: Biri, Northern Samar

 

ENTRANCE FEE & OTHER CHARGES

It’s better to bring a travel buddy or two to split the costs.

Tricycle to Bus Terminal: P100
Jeep to Lavezares town: P50
Pumpboat to Biri Port: P50
Motorcycle from Biri Port to Tourism Center: P10
Motorcycle to Biri jetty: P65
Tourism fee: P50
Tour guide fee (for 3 person): P300
Boat to Lavezares: P50

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28 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Biri Island in Northern Samar”

  1. Hi Polly, this is a lovely post. I really hope to visit The Philippines sometime soon. And when I do I would like to visit Biri Island. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. We might move in the future because the cost of living here is too high. Yes, Bulusukan and other rivers in the Sierra Madre are very interesting. There is also a remote waterfall in the area called Verdivia Falls

            Like

  2. Have you been to Kapurpurawan in Ilocos Norte?
    Bigla ko lang naalala after kong makita ang mga pictures mo ng Biri.
    Grabe ang ganda pala sa Northern Samar. Yan yung mga provinces ma gusto kong mabisita after ng quarantine period.

    Keep on posting amazing articles. Konti napang tatakas na ako sa pagkakakulong sa bahay hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is great, these are the kinds of things I would love to take my mom to, she was a geology major in college and she would spend hours talking about the rock formations.

    Like

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