The Biri Island Experience: Getting There



      When I told my friends that we were going to Biri Island for a few days to do some photography, I got those funny stares from them. Where in the world is Biri Island?


      Biri Island belongs to a cluster of about 18 islands off the northern tip of the main Samar Island, collectively known as the Balicuartro Islands.  Biri Island is located at the most northernly part, in the body of water which divides the main Island of Luzon and the Island of Samar. San Bernardino Straight is responsible for moving nearly 70% of the water that flows in and out of the Visayas, so you can imagine the ferociousness of the tidal current in that part of the islands.



      So how do you get to Biri Island?


      We flew from Manila going to Catarman in Samar Province.  We left at 5:30 am, saw the sunrise along the way and landed at the Catarman Airport at 6:50 am.  It took us more than thirty minutes of waiting to claim our luggage since there was only ONE airport personnel responsible with the baggage handling - and he had to load the luggage of the outgoing passengers before he could off-load ours! Welcome to Catarman Airport.


      Our friends from Tacloban left Leyte at 1:30 am and were at the airport’s parking lot waiting for us at around 6:30 am.  We rode the van and off we went to Biri Island, getting to Lavezares port after an hour of land trip.  We got off the bridge that leads to the Lavezares port and here, our boat was waiting for us …




      We traversed the San Bernardino Straight quite smoothly, passing by this huge concrete statue in the middle of the sea.  It appears like the Virgin Mary pulling out of the water a human being … while on top of a ship. Hmmmm … strange actually.




      After about thirty minutes out in the sea, we come to a point where the San Bernardino Straight meets the Pacific Ocean.  This is the part that gets exciting – a rough ride in the open sea.  But in no time, we were in Biri Island.



      We did not dock in the main port of Biri Island because the waves were too strong.  Instead, we docked in one of the small coves of the island near the port.



      There by the shore, our “hotel transport” was already waiting for us – the “habal-habal” or a converted motorcycle that can accommodate 2-3 back-riders.  This is the main mode of transportation in this island – and we would be using them often to and from the resort where we stayed.



      It took some ten minutes of “habal-habal” ride to reach our base here in the island – the Biri Resort, a relatively new establishment having some birth pains.  There are not too many choices of accommodation in Biri Island since tourism has not been fully developed yet.  But give them time – people will soon discover the natural beauty of this island.



      We are now ready to explore what Biri Island has to offer  …



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