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Biri Island, Samar: From the Battle of the Gods

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Biri Island is one of the top attractions in the province of Samar. It has rock formations and lagoons, similar to Kapurpurawan in Ilocos. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much when we got here but the views caught me by surprise — Biri is indescribably beautiful. The rock formations are a sight to behold and the huge waves splashing against boulders in Magasang rock formation in Biri is something that I will always remember in my mind.

Here’s our visit to Biri Island, Samar. I’ve also included a travel guide to Biri Island below.

Biri Island, Samar

There are several rock formations to be found in Biri Island. Our tour guide Kuya Louie said you should stay at least 2 days in the island to explore all these as well as try other activities such as surfing. Since we were only there for a half-day tour, we only got to see Bel-at and Magasang rock formations, which are the most visited in the area.

After arrival in the island, we registered in the tourism office and rode habal-habals to the jump-off point — a bridge heading to Bel-at rock formation.

Bridge in Biri rock formation
The bridge to Bel-at rock formation. (Photo by Hali)

I had talked with a friend about this wooden bridge and agreed it was scary. The handrails were mostly gone, caused by the same typhoon that ravaged Sorsogon. I was anxious my foot would slip through one of the openings on the bridge floor and I would die. This aside, most people will appreciate the long walk through this bridge, where you can see mangroves and shrubs and what seems to be a shallow pond below as well as the Bel-at rock formations at the distance.

Bel-at rock formation

Bel-at rock formation features huge limestone rocks that is a prominent feature of Biri Island, what Inquirer calls a result of a “battle of the gods.” So you know that the title is not mine originally but ascribed to this article.) The rock formations are a long time in the making and caused by various natural phenomenon and weather disturbances.

Waves in Biri, Samar
Waves in Biri. (Photo by Hali)
Bel-at rock formations in Biri
I would like put some nice poem here. Okay, here goes.
“We fall in and out of love in every one of these stories. I feed you dandelions. I eat honey off your back. We hold hands like we are going to fall off the edge of the universe together.” – Azra T
Bel-at rock formation in Samar
Beach where we found a few groups of people swimming. (Photo by Hali)

When we saw the limestone formations, Hali whispered, “Star wars.” I nodded. It definitely looked like the formations in the dessert in the famous fantasy movie series.

Limestone rock formation in Biri
Smooth limestones in Biri. (Photo by Hali)

Aside from the smooth-surfaced stones, there was also a large pool where a few tourists where taking a bath and a cliff where people gathered for picture taking.

Bel-at rock formations in Biri
Overview of the shallow pools in Bel-at rock formation. (Photo by Hali)
Biri Island, Samar
Natural lagoon found in Biri rock formations. (Photo by Hali)
Natural lagoon in Biri
In this fairy tale, I’m a goddess who swooped down to this beautiful lagoon to bathe. (Photo by Hali)

Another striking feature of Bel-at rock formation, for me at least, are the scattered natural pools just beside the cliff. People normally pass by these without a second glimpse and nobody was taking a dip (anyway some are too shallow), but above the cliff the view looks like something you’d see in a desktop wallpaper. A bit breathtaking, that is.

Magasang rock formation

From Bel-at rock formation, our habal-habals took us for a short ride to Magasang rock formation. We wade through shallow water toward the formation. A bridge built in the middle helps tourists cross over and also serves as a rest stop for families with picnic items.

The floor in Magasang rock formation is slippery, similar to Bel-at’s. Moss covers some area. One of our companions slipped on the floor, and our tour guide then told us to walk across dry ground only.

Magasang rock formation in Biri, Samar
The Magasang rock formation. (Photo by Hali)
Magasang rock formation in Biri, Samar
Web-like surface of Magasang rock formation. But Hali would describe this “hanging the cloth to dry.” (Photo by Hali)
Magasang rock formation in Biri, Samar
Atop the cliff in Magasang rock formation. (Photo by Hali)

Again, there’s a full horizon of boulders where sea waves would angrily crash. It was fascinating to watch, and its sound was calming to the soul.

Magasang rock formation in Biri
This is Hali asking me to pose ala a Star Wars character. I honestly don’t know what I’m talking about. (Photo by Hali)

Up ahead, we climbed through some sort of natural stairs to see the view from above the cliff. The stair’s surface looked like spider webs, what I imagine a Zerg’s lair’s surface would look like in real life. There are footholds so climbing up wasn’t difficult, just tiring. There’s a rewarding view at the top.

Travel Guide: Biri Island, Samar

How to get here

By air

  • Take a local flight to Catarman, Northern Samar (1 hour, 40 minutes).
  • From the airport, ride a tricycle to the main transport terminal (5 min, P100). From there, ride a jeepney bound to Lavezares and get off the Lavezares port (1 hour, P50).
  • From the port, look out for a boat going to Biri Island (45 min, standard fare P50 + terminal fee P25).

By land and water

  • Make your way to Matnog, Sorgoson. From Matnog port, ride a ferry to Allen, Northern Samar. Then ride a jeepney to Lavezares.
  • Follow same instruction as above.

Upon arrival at the port in Biri, you will find habal-habals waiting for passengers to take you to the tourism office or your selected accommodation.

Where to stay

There are homestays and resorts where you can stay at in Biri Island, such as:

Click here to see discounted rates of accommodations in Biri or nearby.

Places to see in Biri Island

There are 6 major rock formations you can visit in Biri Island. These are:

  • Magasang
  • Magsapad
  • Macadlaw
  • Puhunan
  • Bel-at
  • Caranas

Aside from rock formations, Biri Island also has dive sites and surfing destinations.


Have you been to Biri Island, Samar? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!


What to read next:

This is part of our long road trip from Manila to Leyte. See other pit stops we’d been to here:


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Visiting Biri, Samar, to see rock formations and natural lagoons

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10 thoughts on “Biri Island, Samar: From the Battle of the Gods

  1. I’m so impressed by the limestones!! Wauw. I also had to think of Star wars immediately. Love it. If I ever go to the Philippines I’ll make sure to visit the Biri rock formations.

  2. Bookmarking this! I’ve always wanted to go to Biri! Should have went there when I was assigned in Catarman a few years back. Hopefully i’ll get to visit soon. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have never heard of Bani Island, Samar. It looks a little bit like Australia the rock formations along the water. Sydney has a similar area. I would love to go to the Philippines soon!

  4. The Biri rock formations look breath taking. Really majestic! Your posts never fail to inspire me to go out and travel. How I wish I can quit my job and just travel to the places you’ve went to. Hahaha! Anyway, I’m happy to hear that the Samar locality continue to protect this gem. I am with you in hoping that they keep it regulated and protected. Also, I hope that people will support tourism in this place by hiring local guides. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. I am glad you decided to prepare a separate post as the pictures are just stunning. There are so many places to visit in the Philippines but the Biri rock formations really stand out as a hidden gem.

  6. Biri reminds me a lot of Kapurpawan in Ilocos. They have similar rock formations. I’m not sure which one is more beautiful but I want to go to Biri and find out myself. Your photos alone look gorgeous.

  7. These are amazing rock formations. I do hope that they would continue to have this protected. I think the reason for having the tourist guide is reasonable enough because we can’t really tell if the tourist will have the place clean or will not do anything that will damage it.

  8. I loved the Bel-at rock formation more than the masagang rock formation, as the Bel-at looks like the perfect place to take photos for prenups, especially for the more adventurous couples out there. Looks so majestic and breathtaking. Okay, so maybe I want my own prenup to be done there soon enough when my husband and I renew our vows… Here’s hoping! Thanks by the way for sharing the gems of the Philippines, I’m including this in my bucket list 🙂

  9. I always have seen pictures of beautiful places in the Philippines, but this by far is my favourite post. I love the pictures that you use, and the detailed information about the Biri Rock formations. I think it is great that the rock formations are also protected as sadly, lots of beautiful places are easily destroyed when proper care of the location is not taken! I will be sharing this post on my travel group. Wonderful!

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