Biri Island is tantalisingly beautiful with worlds to offer, come and see!
Where is Biri Island?
Biri Island is one island in a cluster of about 18 off the northern end of Samar. The island cluster is known as the balicuartro Islands. You will find Biri Island the most northerly, in the straits which divide the main Island of Luzon and the Island of Samar. This strait is responsible for moving nearly 70% of the water that flows in and out of the Visayas, the strait is known as the San Bernardino Strait. So you can imagine that the tidal current can be ferocious.
Biri Island is subjected to some major pounding by the might of the Pacific Ocean, couple that with the fierce tidal currents and you can get some incredible natural scenery. Biri Island is blessed with natural beauty, it is a little less than 8 kilometres long and at its widest point is roughly 2 ½ kilometres.
How do I get to Biri Island?
The stepping stone into the Philippines is Manila, so no matter where you want to go in the Philippines the hub is Manila. You have a couple of options from Manila which is roughly 700 kilometres north west of Samar.
Combination of both
By Plane Flights from Manila will take you to either Catarman, which is the closest to Biri Island or to Calbayog, which is on the western side of Samar to the south of Biri Island.
You can fly with Asian Spirit. They fly to Catarman four times a week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. All flights depart Manila at 6:00 am.
Asian Spirit also flies direct to Calbayog, three times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, once again it’s an early departure of 6:00 am.
Once you have arrived at either airport you need to get yourself to the town of Lavezares, which is the jump off port, to get you to Biri Island. There are numerous
and tricycles all ore than happy to take you to Lavezares, negotiate the fare before you leave.
The best route is to fly to Catarman and take the short trip west along the coast to Lavezares.
Buses will take you just about anywhere in the Philippines, bringing all the islands closer. Traveling to Samar island from Manila which is on Luzon is know different.
The best way, is to get a bus from Manila, have a look
here for information on bus transport,
to port town of Matnog which is on the southern most tip of Luzon. This trip will take you about 15 hours. From Matnog you need to catch the ferry to the town of Allen on Samar. Ferries make the crossing every hour or so.
Once you have arrived in Allen, get yourself into either a
or a tricycle and head for Lavezares, which is where you need to be to get you to Biri Island.
Combination of Both
Another more scenic alternative, is to get a flight to the City of Legaspi, flights depart Manila at 7:30 am. Have a look here for
If you choose this route, make sure you stay overnight and get up nice and early to catch some breathtaking photos of Mayon Volcano, you truly should not miss this opportunity.
From Legaspi it is a two hour taxi trip to Matnog where you can then jump on a ferry to Allen and then get yourself to Lavezares as noted above.
To Biri Island
Once you have arrived in Lavezares, go straight to the town market, once there look to the right side of the market along the beach and you will see a number of banca boats, choose one with Biri Island written on the back, these will usually be returning to Biri Island on that day. There is a ferry that leaves at 1:00 pm but the bancas will more than likely leave earlier.
What to do on Biri Island
Biri Island has been blessed with natural beauty. To the north of Biri is an enormous rock formation called Magasang.
Magasang has been carved by the tools used by nature herself. Winds blasting, monstrous waves have pounded and storms have lashed these rocks to create so incredible formations which need to be seen to be believed. Just down from Magasang is the best natural saltwater pool in the Philippines, Bel-ot. This has also been the location of a number of Filipino movies, it is clear to see why they have chosen this back drop.
If you enjoy quiet beaches then Biri Island will definitely not disappoint you, they are gorgeous and you will find yourself on your own, that’s right no hassles from vendors trying to sell you something, which has to be worth the trip.
Biri Island has also some healthy coral reefs so make sure you bring a face mask, snorkel and fins. You are not able to hire any equipment, there are no dive shops, which is a bit of a pity as I have heard the scuba diving here is awesome.
There are also a number of walking trails criss-crossing the island through the tropical rainforest, don’t worry you cannot get lost as all roads end up back in Biri.
As Biri Iland is surrounded by other islands why not hire a banca for the day, pack a picnic and go off exploring the wonderful coves, islets and secluded beaches.
Fiesta, this is one thing that Filipinos know how to do and do really well. The Biri Fiesta is held on the 23rd to 25th of June, no matter where you go someone will invite you in to their homes to share a meal and some drink. At night there is dancing and general merriment in the local villages, a fun, mad and exciting time all rolled into one.
Where do I stay on Biri Island
The best place to stay on Biri Island is the Sunset Villa. The Sunset Villas is a beautiful old mansion.
You can hire a cottage here, or a room if need be. The prices are more than reasonable. You can also pre book lunch and dinner. Other places to stay are usually private homes or see the mayor.