One of the most popular spots in Northern Samar (if not the most popular!) is Biri Island.
Ask any Samareño or tourists from the nearby provinces of Leyte and Biliran, and Biri Island surely will occupy a top spot in their Samar travel bucketlist.
Biri is an island municipality that is accessible through a 45-minute boat ride from the northwestern part of Samar Island, the town of Lavezares. It is the northernmost island and municipality not only of Samar Province but of the whole Visayas, and is located in the open seas between the San Bernardino Strait and the Pacific Ocean.
Biri Island is popular for its pristine crystal clear beaches and jaw-dropping rock formations. Tourists flock to this island to see these rock formations standing proud against the mighty blue waves of the vast Pacific Ocean. There are 6 major rock formations located on the northern tip of the island: Caranas, Bel-at, Puhunan, Macadlaw, Magsapad, and Magasang.
Each rock formation offers unique views and landscapes. There are also a lot of natural swimming pools and lagoons you can dive into. The best way to get around the island is through habal-habal. Tourists can hire them for transportation and they also serve as your tour guide. Travel tip? Visit during the summer and dry months (March to May).
Also, make sure to bring your sun block because it tends to get really hot especially around 9AM-3PM. You can go to all the rock formations in half a day, so we advise you to start your trip early in the morning (6AM if possible). Just prepare and bring your lunch with you because there are no stores or restaurants around the area where the rock formations are located. Lastly, make sure to bring a good camera. You will regret not taking a photo with the deep blue Pacific Ocean and the horizon as your backdrop.
RATES & OTHER INFORMATION
- It is best to transact at the town’s Tourism Office (located across their Municipal Hall). They will be the one to coordinate with the habal habal drivers. Options are:
- 2 persons, 1 habal-habal: P595
- 3 persons, 1 haabal-habal: P645
- 4 persons, 2 habal-habal: 890
- All these packages are inclusive of environmental fee, habal-habal tour fare, and tour guide fee.
- If you decide not to avail of the packages, here are the individual fees:
- Environmental fee: P50
- Tour guide fee: P300 (max of 3 persons)
- Habal-habal fee: P195 (max of 3 persons)
- Sunrise viewing (optional): P150 per head
- NOTE: There are no cottages around the rock formations. But there are hotels and lodging houses where you can stay overnight in the town proper.
- Biri Resort and Dive Center
- Room rates range from P750 to P2,500 per night
- Contact number: 0920-288-4904, 0929-288-4904
- Villa Amor Hotel
- Room rates range from P800 to P1,000 per night
- Contact number: 0935-366-1415
- Exequel and Wyn Lodging House
- Room rates range from P200-P800 per night
- Contact number: 0919-296-2408
- Biri Resort and Dive Center
- Electricity is available only from 12 noon to 12 midnight.
- No ATMs in the island.
- Has both Globe and Smart signals.
- Contact numbers:
- Biri Municipal Hall: 0919-680-2193, 0916-609-4949
HOW TO GET THERE?
Exact location: Biri Island, Northern Samar
BY JEEP: If you are from Manila, there are PAL flights bound for Catarman, Northern Samar at the Clark airport. Upon arrival at Catarman, take a tricycle to their main terminal (P100). From there, ride a jeep going to Lavezares port (fare at P50 and travel time of 1 hour). From the Lavezares port, ride a boat bound for Biri. Fare is P50 per head with a P25 terminal fee. For large groups, you can pay for the entire boat trip at P750.