Surprising Samar: Rock formations that will leave you in awe

Biri Island‘s claim to fame is the magnificent Biri Rock Formations. Located in the province of Northern Samar, this rugged island is a photographer’s paradise.  Untamed Pacific Ocean waves lapping on its eastern side, verdant mountains and mammoth rocks heavily eroded over time, etched with swirls and ridges, are the usual scenes in Biri.

The accommodating habal-habal (motorcycle) driver who drove me to Biri Rock Formations offered to guide me for my security but I politely declined. I preferred to commune alone with this splendid masterpiece of Mother Nature. 

Over the years, Biri Rock Formations were naturally carved by the wind, storms, and the monstrous waves. There are 5 formations, namely: Puhunan, Magasang, Bel-at, Caranas, Macadlaw and Magsapad.  The most famous rock formation is Magasang but the geological formations at Bel-at are more diverse.


I stood on the edge of the craggy cliff and watched how the waves crashed into the gnarled rocks, a process that continues to reshape the island.  I saw white feathered-birds that look like egrets frolicking near the edge of the sea.  From time to time they dart through the water to catch fish. Suddenly, laughter filled the air.  My lens caught a group of locals having picnic on the other side of the rock formations. Righfully so, Biri is a famous destination for family getaways. A few meters away, on the natural pool, a fisherman and his child, topless and wearing obsolete goggles, were patiently looking for shells.


If you plan to explore Biri Rock Formations, pack your bags with food since there is no store nearby. The heat of the sun is unforgiving so make sure you bring water to stay hydrated.  Go there during low tide because you have to walk a few meters to the rock formations.  I walked through the knee-deep water with baby mangroves planted everywhere.  Some slippery rocks underwater are covered with moss so take extra care to avoid tripping.  There is a bridge currently under construction that will easily take tourists to Magasang Rock Formations in a few months’ time.  I just hope they don’t overdevelop the place to preserve its natural charm.

I used to just look at the images of Biri Rock Formations online, but standing there, dwarfed by these gigantic formations and seeing its splendor up close is a totally different experience.

(Gael Hilotin is a female solo traveler currently traveling around the Philippines. Follow her adventures at The Pinay Solo Backpacker).

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