We arrived in the port by 6am and we needed to wait for sometime before a boat and some passengers showed up in the area. Locals say boats usually arrive early morning but there was a fiesta the night before so boats were expected to be late. Anyway, a passenger boat finally arrived and we just decided to share the 750php one way ride with another group of 5 so the boat can leave right away since the ride takes an hour. This passenger boat can fit 15 people. The glistening calm waters as the morning sun rises, the surrounding islands and the view of Mt. Bulusan from a distance add to the charm that this town beholds. You will also see a white prominent landmark of Mama Mary reaching a hand to the sea as you sail farther from the port.
As we hopped off the boat, Kuya Vincent Tatoy, a habal-habal driver, approached us right away asking if we are to do the rock formation tour. We said yes and he told us he would drive us first to the tourism office for registration. Yes, it is mandated by a municipal ordinance that all tourists must register and book their tours at the tourism office. We found it really convenient and well organized. Rates and habal-habal fares are standardized to avoid overcharging. Every package includes the fare, tour guide, and ecological fees. We then ate breakfast first at the Pavilion right in front of the Municipal Hall. This is just one of the very few places that you can eat out.
Kuya Vincent took us to Bel-at formation first. We had to walk through the partly cemented partly wooden bridge built on top of water surrounded by mangroves. This alone gives a picturesque view that will surely make you want to take that selfie. Unfortunately, we were greeted by rain so it was a gloomy sky.
As soon as we reached the end of the bridge, we were just speechless. But we remember saying wow countless times. Words aren’t enough to describe it. You just have to be there to feel the magic. No kidding. Dive into the natural pool in Bel-at where you can swim to your heart’s content. Photos do not give justice to its beauty. Picturesque everywhere so it was a non-stop pictorial here and there and just everywhere…
After visiting Bel-at and Caranas rock formation, we decided to take our lunch at Lawud bar and resto where they serve a very affordable and sumptuous seafood dishes perfect for our famished tummies. If you decide to eat here, tell your guide to drop by this resto before you even start visiting the rock formation so they can prepare your food by lunch time. This is located along the shore side of the rock formation close to Masapad Rock and tidal pool so this is really the perfect place to go and the only one nearby actually.
Unto the next stop which is the Magasang rock formation. We were feeling adventurous yet again so we pushed ourselves to climb the rock formation to get the best view it can offer… Magsapad Rock formation and tidal pool..
And since we spent the night in the island, our guide suggested to catch the sunrise in Macadlaw rock formation as it is where the best spot for it. From the shoreline, we waded through the waters for about 30-minutes in a pitch black mangrove areas. It is best to follow the path of the guide to avoid any misfortunes along the way. Kuya Vincent initially warned us of possible mangrove water snake encounter which made us hesitant at first, but more vigilant every step of our way. But he ensured our safety so we just gave it to him. We then settled in the best spot to set up our cameras to time lapse mode to capture as the sun rises and the views slowly unfolds before our eyes. Breathtaking indeed! Taking in all the wonders as we continue to snap our cameras.
We also decided to try and surf at Geron’s Rock as we still have ample time in the island.
You can actually visit all the six rock formations in one day given a fine cloudy weather. Otherwise, you cannot stand the scorching heat of the sun walking through the rocks.
How to get there:
If you’re coming from Luzon, you have two options.
One: The most convenient way is to book a flight from Manila to Catarman Airport- this is the nearest airport to Biri. Only Philippine Airlines flies here once every other day (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun). Then take a jeep and alight at Lavezares port.
Two: Drive/commute your way down to Matnog, Sorsogon port. Ask in the port if there’s a boat sailing directly to Biri Island because this can save you cash and time but there’s no fixed schedule for this one so you can take your chance if there is. If there’s none, hop in a RORO going to Allen, Samar. From there, find your way to Lavezares port which is usually via jeep or van.
From Lavezares Port
Ride a boat going to Biri Island. Either you hire a private boat (750php) or you take a passenger boat which takes longer to fill in the 15pax boat (50php per pax). If you take the private boat, better to tell the boatman to take you directly to the town center at Poblacion, otherwise they usually dock at another port which will need you to hop in a habal-habal to go to the Tourism Office-the ride is just more or less 5 minutes.
Where to Stay:
We highly recommend you stay at Gloria Vista Homestay (09174552500). Price starts at 200php per person for a fan room which is good enough if you will just sleep there and explore places during daytime. Also, electricity in the island only runs between 10am to 2am so it’s not practical to get an AC room.
If you fancy a more upscale accommodation, you can go for Biri Resort Dive Center with rooms start at 1500php per person. Contact them here, 09292884904.
We also recommend Kuya Vincent Tatoy as guide. He did a wonderful job touring, suggesting as well as sharing his island life with us. He also gave an extra hand if you need or want anything. It was also touching that he gave us a freshly made bottle of tuba (local coconut wine) for free as we expressed our desire to taste one. Contact no other than him at 09753491104.
- Be at Lavezares port as early as possible so you would not have to wait a long time to fill in the passenger boat.
- Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock. You will be exposed to the broad day light most of the time if you are visiting the rock formations.
- Bring lots of water to keep you hydrated.
- Buy some bread or snacks before you head to the rock formations.
- Bring enough cash, no ATMs in the island
- Don’t go on summertime or weekends to avoid crowds. There’s nothing more enjoyable if you have the whole place all to yourselves.
- Bring extra memory card and battery for your camera. Everywhere you set your eyes to is really picture worthy I promise.
Sample list of expenses:
|Expenses||Cost for sharing||Per pax|
|Boat from Lavezares to Biri (cost shared by 8pax, decided to just give 100php) (1hr)||750||100|
|Breakfast at the Pavilion||75|
|Seafood lunch at Lawud||212|
|Overnight at Gloria Vista||200|
|Brunch at the Pavilion||110|
|Sunrise guide with a generous tip||500|
|Overnight at Gloria Vista||200|