Do Like Solenn Heussaff and Discover Breathtaking Samar This Way
Because we, too, fell in love with Biri Island
The Philippines has a wealth of natural wonders and we love that most of them are beaches. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, you’ll catch an online series featuring a breathtaking location that’ll make you say, “Saan ‘yan?” Such was the sentiment of many viewers of Scenezoned 2 with the first episode featuring Solenn Heussaff in Biri Island, Samar—ourselves included.
Biri Island is found in the heart of Samar and is only accessible via a PAL-exclusive flight to Catarman. Though getting here might not be as easy as the more common and tourist-y beach destinations, Biri Island is completely worth the travel.
The island’s charm, as we’ve seen through the eyes of Solenn, comes from the otherworldly beauty of its surroundings, the simplicity of life here and the warmth of its people. We’ve asked our travel expert friends at Bookie to help us discover stunning Samar the way Solenn did and here’s what they shared with us:
How to get there: Book a flight to Catarman via Philippine Airlines. Take a tricycle from Catarman to Lazares Port. The boat will take you directly to Biri Island and take about 20-30 minutes.
Where to stay: The nicest place to stay in the island is in Biri Resort & Dive Center.
What to see: There are seven famous rock formations in the island. The most noteworthy ones are Bel-At and Caranas (natural pool heaven), Macadlaw (perfect sunrise spot) and Magasang (highest).
What to eat: Seafood, seafood, seafood. They have an abundance of scallops and other fresh catch. Make sure to try local dishes such as adobo sa gata na sahang (shellfish called spider conch cooked in coconut milk), molido (coconut-based candy bar) and minoron (suman or rice cake with chocolate)—yum!.
Off the beaten path (in case you want/have time to see more of this gorgeous location): Do shell-picking and hunt for seaweeds in nearby islands. You can also volunteer and join the Biri Initiative—a local organization focused on restoring damaged coral reefs around the island.
How much money to bring: Around P5,000 to P6,000 for transportation to Biri (excluding airfare), accommodation, tours and food for three days.
Basic phrases: The locals speak either Waray or Bikol.
Other useful tips below:
If you're doing a day tour, try to catch the earliest boat leaving Lavezares Port at around 6AM. Depending on the season, the latest you can leave Biri for Lavezares would be around 2PM to 3PM, which gives you around six to seven hours around the island. Travel time from Lavezares to Biri (and v.v.) is around an hour.
The main mode of transportation around the island is habal-habal. You can hire a habal-habal for a day to take you around Biri. Do take note though that the local government requires a tour guide for every three tourists. Make sure, too, to wear appropriate footwear when going around the rock formations as it can get a bit slippery (thus Solenn’s scuba boots).
Electricity in the island is also intermittent so it might be best to fully charge your gadgets and carry a power bank. Some resorts have generators but these aren't used on a 24-hour basis.
So if you’re looking to go somewhere that will make you forget about your woes, live in simplicity and just let you bask in the breathtaking beauty of nature, then add Biri Island to your travel bucket list.
Bookie PH is a local travel site that focuses on customized trips around the Philippines. Visit www.bookie.ph and check out all their available options or send them an email at [email protected] to customize your next trip.