If there is one landmark that defines the entire province of Northern Samar, it would probably the rock formations of Biri Island.
Situated off the coast of the town of Lavezares, Biri is an island municipality of Eastern Samar facing San Bernardino Strait and Pacific Ocean. The town is dotted with limestone rock formations, a popular tourist destination, an amazing natural wonder.
The rock formations are believed to be deposited 18 to 24 million years ago in shelfal continental slope and formed by the underwater tectonic plates movement generated by earthquakes, this according to the study conducted by National Institute Geological Sciences Research of UP Diliman.
It is not only one, but seven magnificent rock formations which they named Magasang, Bel-at, Magsapad, Caranas, Macadlaw, Puhunan and Pinanahawan. Seven massive rock formations and it was my time to see them up close!
My favorite dive buddy Ate Claudia and I visited Biri last summer for another dive trip. It was quite a long road to our destination. We traveled from Manila to Catarman by plane, Catarman to Lavezares by jeepney, Lavezares to Biri by boat and finally to Biri Resort and Dive Center by motorbike. The entire journey took around four hours, we arrived at the resort past nine in the morning giving us ample time for the rest of the day to explore the island’s famous attraction.
We asked the motorbike driver that brought us to our lodge to bring us the best rock formations. “Magasang!”, he exclaimed without second thought. After the quick negotiation and haggling, we sealed the deal – P700 for the guided tour to Magasang, Magsapad and Bel-at Rock Formation via motorbike for two persons.
Amid the scorching heat of the summer sun, we boarded the motorbike and headed to our first destination – the twin formations of Magasang and Magsapad, the best of all rock formations and the most photographed, according to locals.
The motorbike traversed the coastal road to the westernmost rock formations. My eyes glued to the scene on my right, towards the sea. I could see the rock formations, gently becoming bigger as we got closer. Our motorbike stopped at the designated parking area and from there we walked to the newly built walkway that connects the beach halfway to Magasang. It was still low tide, perfect time to visit the formation, so we waded in the knee-deep water to be able to reach the rocks. Shortly after, we were already standing on a dry ground, on the rock formation itself.
Imposing as it is in the images I have seen, Magasang caught us in awe! We wandered around in amazement and hiked to the higher ground for the picturesque view of the surroundings – the San Bernardino Strait, the shadows of Mt. Bulusan, the nearby Sorsogon, thd Magsapad Rock and the mainland Biri. The sound of the crashing waves as they kissed the ragged rocks were music to my ears. All natural, all beautiful, all soothing to my senses.
Oblivious of the heat and hunger, we then walked towards the equally beautiful Magsapad, separated from Magasang by flat ground dotted with small tidal pools. Magsapad provided us a great view of Magasang Rocks, one of the varied angles of it. Macadlaw, on the distant, was also within our sight.
We went back to the beach, the tide was obviously slowly reversing. We were off to our next stop at Bel-at. The motorbike stopped at another walkway, a longer one compared to Magasang. Before crossing the walkway, we cooled up with halo-halo from the nearby store.
I forgot how long the walkway was but I estimate it to be around 500 meters, give it or take, passing through a mangrove area and ending to Bel-at Rock Formation itself near a huge tidal pool which was crowded when we arrived. A large clan was on a picnic when we arrived, making the the place crowded and dirty. We ignored the chaos and walked around, the area has lots of tidal pool conducive for swimming. Bel-at is beautiful but it has different ambiance and I prefer Magasang and Magsapad more.
The sky turned gray and was hinting a summer rain, it signaled the end our trip. We hurriedly went back to where our motorbike was parked and sped off. We had late lunch at a local eatery before going back to our lodge. Power was still off and without so much to do for the rest of the afternoon, we surrendered to the comfort of our beds and rested our tired bodies. It was already dark when we woke up and just had light meal for dinner before calling the night off.
It was a busy and tiring first day, I felt we were already in the island for a couple of days. But it was a satisfying one! The rock formations are too beautiful, it made the weight of the day bearable. Our dives were scheduled the next day and our excitement were overflowing. Wel, needless to say, Biri truly rocks!