Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Biri Island Travel Guide 2016

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If I will have to stay in one place without doing anything – like literally just sitting and breathing, no internet and no gadgets, then it would be in the Island of Biri. The placid atmosphere, the strong waves of the Pacific and the scenic massive rock formations –  it left me damn speechless. Oh wait, actually no, I remember saying “wooowww”, like every 10 minutes! It’s one of the many places here in the Philippines where you’ll witness how nature works in mysterious, beautiful ways - just like love. Chos!


For the budget wanderlusters who are dying to go there, you have to read this blog seriously and if you don’t want to be absent or late for work the following day, try to absorb every word that I say here. My friend missed a day at work because we didn’t expect so much waiting in vain during the trip. She’s based in Cebu and I’m from Tacloban. Anyway, here’s a detailed sample itinerary below. This is a better itinerary that what really happened to us there in terms of transportation. I’m including an easy route for those coming from Cebu as well.



TRAVEL GUIDE FROM TACLOBAN to BIRI ISLAND
Time
Trip
Amount
Notes
OCTOBER 6, 2016 (Thursday)
5AM
Tacloban City to Catbalogan
Php 120
Via City Tours (their terminal is near Duptours); Another good option is Grand Tours (at the back of  Savemore) – earliest trip is 5AM.
7AM
Catbalogan to Calbayog
Php 100
From where the van will stop, just ride a pedicab or tricycle going to Van-vans terminal or ask a local the nearest terminal for vehicles going to Calbayog
9AM
Calbayog to Allen
Php 100
We rode a Jeepney here but you can also go to Grand Tours terminal in Calbayog if you prefer a van. This is just along the way so you can ask the driver to drop you off at the said terminal.
11AM
Allen to Lavezares Port
Php 50
Motorcycle is good for 5 pax – P120 (can haggle down to 100 if you’re alone or just the 2 of you)
11:30AM
Arrival in Lavezares
We had to wait for other passengers to come. If you’re in a hurry, you can pay for a special trip 750 pesos one way going to Biri. The boatmen will not embark if it’s not 15 passengers or at least it should be a total amount of Php750 to be collected from the passengers.
1:45PM
Lavezares Port to Biri Island
Php 75
Takes an hour pumpboat ride. It should only be P50 each but since there was still 1 vacant slot, we just paid a little extra.
2:45PM
Accommodation Check-in
Php 250
(Php500/night 2 pax)
Magallanes Suite and Spa (fan room). The room was nice and they have a generator so no need to worry about the 12AM-12PM electricity cut-off. I don’t have a contact number since it was just recommended to us by a local there. Check their fb page here - https://www.facebook.com/Magallanes-suites-2040080689549428/
3PM onwards
Tour at Bel-at Rock Formations / Swimming / Pictorial / Awra moments
Php273 each (Total of Php545 if 1 or 2 pax)
Environmental Fee – 50
Tour guide – 300
Habal-habal ride – 195
OCTOBER 7, 2016 (Friday)
4AM – 11AM
Sunrise Viewing at Magasang Rock Formations / Swimming / Muni-muni

*We didn’t do the sunrise viewing because of the gloomy weather but I would suggest everyone to do it especially if you will be blessed with a fine weather.
Php645 total (P323 each for 2 pax)
Tour guide – 450 (that the usual 300 fee plus additional P150 for sunrise viewing)
Habal-habal ride – 195
*If you don’t want to pay another tour guide fee on the next day, you can take a rest on the first day (especially when you arrive late afternoon), then visit the rock formations the next day starting in Magasang for the sunrise. Anyway, half a day is enough to do all the usual activities.
12NN onwards
Lunch and wrap-up to go back home
P50 – Pumpboat from Biri to Lavezares Port
P30 – Tricycle ride to Allen Grand Tours Terminal
P100 – Van ride from Allen to Calbayog
P220 – Van from Calbayog to Tacloban
*estimate 6-9 hours travel time depending on the waiting time at every terminal
Estimated Total
Php1691 (excluding food)



TRAVEL GUIDE FROM CEBU TO BIRI ISLAND
Time
Trip
Amount
Remarks
WEDNESDAY
7PM
Cebu port to Calbayog Samar
Php 850
Via Cockaliong Shipping lines (You can sleep comfortably inside the ship. Just try to bring something that could keep you warm if it’s going to be cold)
Please take note of the Cockaliong Shipping Lines schedule going to and from Calbayog Samar

Route
Departure Day & Time
Arrival Day & Time
Cebu to Calbayog
Mon/Wed/Fri – 7PM
Tue/Thu/Sat - 7AM
Calbayog to Cebu
Tue/Thu/Sat -7PM
Wed/Fri/Sun - 7AM

*This is current as of October 2016. Check website for any changes: http://www.cokaliongshipping.com/schedules&rates.html
THURSDAY
7AM
Arrival in Calbayog – Take a jeepney/van going to Allen
Php 80 if Jeepney (P100 if van)
Take a walk going to the highway and  wait for a jeepney or van to pass by
9AM
Arrival in Allen; Take tricycle going to Lavezares Port
Php 100
(20 per person)
It’s Php120 for the whole tricycle. If you’re alone, they may just quote you 100.
10AM
Lavezares Port to Biri Island
Php 50
This is assuming that there are a lot of passengers by that time.
11AM
Check-in for accommodation
Php 300
No need to worry about booking an accommodation especially when it’s low-peak season. The habal-habal drivers could suggest a lot of lodges there.
11AM onwards
Tour / Rock Formations / Swimming / Pictorials / Soul searching
Php 545
Environmental Fee – 50
Tour guide – 300
Habal-habal ride - 195
FRIDAY
8AM
Check-out and go to the Biri Port (can also have an option for sunrise viewing in Magasang Rock Formation before doing this at 4AM)
Php 10
Ride habal-habal going to the port
9AM
Biri to Lavezares
Php 50
Via Pumpboat
10AM
Lavezares Port to Allen
Php 50
Via Tricycle
11AM
Allen to Calbayog
Php 100
at Grand Tours terminal in Allen
12NN
Calbayog to Catbalogan
Php 100
at Grand Tours terminal in Calbayog
7PM
Catbalogan to Cebu
Php 700
Roble Shipping Lines

Roble Shipping Lines schedule going to and from Catbalogan Samar
Route
Departure
Arrival
Cebu to Catbalogan
7PM every Thursday only
7AM Friday
Catbalogan to Cebu
7PM every Friday only
7AM Saturday

*This is current as of October 2016. Check website for any changes: http://www.robleshipping.com/schedules/
7AM the next day
Arrival in Cebu
Total Amount: Php 2,905 (excluding food and if travelling alone)




If you're coming from a faraway land, it's better to visit other nearby destinations as well to make your trip worthwhile. You can drop by the wonderful caves and waterfalls in Samar, pass by San Juanico Bridge in Tacloban, then go all the way down to the white beaches in Leyte. For those coming from Manila, you can take a plane going to Tacloban and follow the guide above, or take a plane going to Catarman (PAL) and take a jeepney going to Lavezares. 

During this trip, I’ve learned that it wasn’t easy to get out of Biri on your way home especially when: (1) you’re on a budget; (2) when you’re alone or just 2 of you; (3) if  it’s low peak season and (4) if you miss the first passenger boat trip for that day. It was Friday when we were supposed to go home. From 11AM, we waited at the docking area with very few passengers coming in. We need to be a total of 15 passengers at least. At 3PM, we were only 7 heads waiting. Yes, 4 hours waiting and only 7. 8 more to go! My butt was already on fire. We realized that we will not be able to catch the Roble ship bound to Cebu in Catbalogan anymore. It will leave at 7PM and since it would take 4 hours to travel from Allen to Catbalogan, we just decided to stay in the island for the day. I suggest that if you’re about to go home, make sure to schedule it in the morning and go to the docking area as early as 7AM so you can catch the first pumpboat trip going back to Lavezares. If you miss this, you may need to wait for hours for the next trip or may need to pay a lot more for a special trip. 

However, if you have a lot of money, just forget everything that I've said and go there, like right now! :)




Some Reminders:

1.       Electricity is only from 12PM to 12AM.

2.       Smart 3G not working – only Globe 3G.

3.       No restaurants. Only "point-point", in tagalog turo-turo.

4.       Can do other activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling (ask the locals, they'd be happy to help).
5.       Dialect is Bicol-Waray mix.
6.       Locals are helpful and kind. Place is safe.


By the way, I commend my friend Cynthia for keeping her composure and positivity despite the unfavorable events. I believe things happen for a reason and that reason would always make us stronger, better and happier. Pak! Charot.


magasang biri island samar rock formation
Magasang Rock Formation


Paki-pusuan mga bes haha

biri island samar rock formations



Stolen photo captured by our photographer. We were like that for a few minutes, just looking at the Pacific.



Because here in Biri, you can be a model.


Biri Island Samar
Behind the scenes! Lol. Meet Kuya Ronnie. He was our so-called tour guide but he was actually more like a professional photographer.



Like I'm this small and it's that big? Like masakit sa neck

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Scenic and dramatic but don't worry, it's organic.

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hello big rocks

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Just a witch trying to get some kili-kili powers


How was it formed like this naturally?Like MINDBLOWING



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rock formations, biri island, samar, little pinay explorer, HDR



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