Thursday, March 29, 2018

DIY Budget Travel Guide : BIRI, Northern Samar

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Biri is home to some of the magnificent rock formations in the Philippines. It is located on the tip of the province of Northern Samar, an hour away by boat from the town of Lavezares. [Read: Exploring Bel-at and Magasang Rock Formations]


Here's a DIY Travel Budget Travel Guide for your reference if you are visiting the island - where to stay, list of budget and expenses, what to see and do, and where to eat.

How to Go to Biri?

There are a couple of options going to Biri but the most used route is by boat from the town of Lavezares in Northern Samar. 

From Manila: Book a flight to either Catarman, Tacloban or Calbayog. From there take a van to the town of Allen. You can also take a bus from Manila and alight in Allen or San Isidro Port.

From Tacloban: Take a van to Allen or Catarman. You may also take a van to Calbayog and take another van to Allen or Catarman from there.

From Catarman: Take a jeep or bus to Allen and tell the driver to drop you off near Lavezares Public Market. From the main road, walk to the public market and you should see the boats waiting for passengers. The first trip is around 6am but will depend if there is enough passengers. Small boats can carry up to 14 pax while the big boats have double capacity. Fare is P60 and travel time is around an hour. If you are in a hurry and wants to charter a boat just like I did, you can pay Php750. The boat will dock either in Sto. Nino Port or the port near the town proper. If the boat docks in Sto. Nino, you will have to ride a habal-habal (motorcycle) to go to the town proper. Fare is Php40 if you are alone and Php20 each if you have a companion.

From Allen: Take a jeep or tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at Lavezares Public Market.

From San Isidro Port: Take a bus bound for Catarman and tell the driver to drop you off at Lavezares Public Market. If you can't find a Catarman-bound bus, take a jeep/bus to Allen. Bus fare from San Isidro Port to Lavezares is Php40 and travel time is around an hour.

From Davao: Take a flight to Tacloban or take Bachelor Express bus to Tacloban. Fare is around Php1,000. You can also take the Philtranco bus and alight in San Isidro Port. Fare is Php1,600 including the ferry ticket. Travel time is over 24 hours.

What to See and Do in Biri, Northern Samar?


Visit the Biri Rock Formations
The island of Biri is gifted with awesome and towering rock formations sculpted through time by the ferocious waves of the Pacific Ocean and tidal currents of San Bernardino. The four most famous Rock Formations in Biri are Magasang, Bel-At Macadlaw, and Caranas. [Read: Guiuan Travel Guide]



Magasang Rock Formation
You can only visit Magasang Rock Formation during low tide. Your tour guide should let know about this.



Bel-At Rock Formation
Bel-at is the most accessible of all the rock formations in Biri. The local government has constructed path bridge leading to Bel-At. You should be able to visit Bel-at during low tide or high tide.



Macadlaw Rock Formation
Macadlaw Rock Formation is ideal for sunrise viewing but you can also visit this during low tide in the day time just like I did. You can see both Bel-At and Magasang from Macadlaw.



Caranas Rock Formation
Caranas Rock Formation is situated beside Bel-At. You can pretty much access this rock formation during low tide. 



Chase Sunset in Giron
Chasing sunset in Biri is a fun thing to do in the island. Just ask your driver to bring you in Giron and chill in the beach while waiting for the sun to set.



Surf in Philippines Dream
If you love surfing, then you should include visiting the Philippines Dream in your itinerary when you visit Biri. The waves will surely make you stoked!




Where to Stay in Biri

Villa Amor Biri
Villa Amor is located just a walking distance from the Tourist Pavillion, Municipal Hall and the port in the town center. Room rates start at Php1,000/night for a fan room and Php1,500 for an airconditioned room. Contact numbers: Rolly 09353661415  or Salvie 09357021967.



Biri Resort and Dive Center 
Another resort within the town proper is Biri Resort and Dive Center. As of this writing, the resort is temporarily closed after the owner passed away on March 8 this year. The resort will re-open sometime in April. Contact number: 0915 174 1386

Balay sa Baybay
Another accommodation within the Poblacion district of Biri situated in Delos Reyes St. Contact number: 0917 628 3895

Glenda's Bed and Breakfast
This resort is located in Brgy. Sto. Nino which is relatively far from the town proper. This is close to the Sto. Nino Port. Contact number: 0939 466 5011

Aside from these four accommodations, you can also find a number of homestays and other places to stay in the town proper. Just ask around and the friendly people of Biri should be able to guide you.

Where to Eat in Biri
There are not much restaurants in Biri so you only have limited options when you are in the island. There's Lawud Restaurant which is relatively close to the rock formations. They serve fresh seafood and is open during lunch and dinner. Their serving is good for 2-3 people. Prepare at least around P300 for a decent meal. There's also an eatery at Biri Tourist Pavilion which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meals are usually under Php100. 




During night time, you can gallivant around the town proper and you should see locals selling barbecue in the streets. So, if you like street foods, this should be your thing.


Expenses during my recent trip to Biri

Day 1
Chartered Boat from Lavezares to Biri - Php750 (P60 if you take the shared boat)
Habal-Habal from Sto. Nino Port to Villa Amor - Php40
Brunch Php110 (including a bottled water)
Airconditioned Room at Villa Amor for two nights - Php3,000
Habal Habal Fee to visit the rock formations (Fixed rate from the tourism office) - Php195
Environmental Fee - Php50
Guide Fee (also the habal-habal driver) Php300. A guide is required to explore the rock formations.
Late Lunch at Lawud - Php495 (including the driver)
Dinner - Php100

Day 2
Breakfast - Php80
Habal-Haval Driver - Php195
Guide Fee - Php300
Lunch - Php100
Snacks - Php200 (including the driver)
Dinner - Php120

Day 3
Boat to Lavezares - Php60




Notes and Travel Tips


  • Electricity in Biri is already running for 24 hours
  • Start your trip as easrly as possible. 
  • The guide fee of P300 is good for up to 3 people and will last for 8 hours.
  • The transport fee of Php195 is also good for 3 people.
  • Keep your receipt from the Municipal Tourism Office as it will be inspected when you visit Magasang and Bel-At Rock formations.
  • Do not throw your Environmental Fee receipt and stamp if you are planning to go back to the rock formations the following day. You can show it again and there's no need to pay twice as long as you have the receipt and stamp.
  • Globe has LTE/4G service in the town proper and 3G in the rock formations.
  • Bring cash as there are no ATMs in the island.
  • Bring water and light snacks when you visit the rock formations. 

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