Biri Larosa

Biri Larosa is an archipelago in San Bernardino Strait in Northern Samar Province, Eastern Visayas, Philippines, full of amazing natural rock formations, beaches, coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove forests. The dramatic landscape of the island is engraved with the fury of waves, winds, and Pacific Ocean storms that hit the shore to form carvings and lagoons.

Biri Island is a giant rock formation carved 24 million years ago on the continental slope and formed by an underwater tectonic plate movement generated by earthquakes. Impressive rocks are towering icons on the island including Magasang, Bel-at, Magsapad, Caranas, Macadlaw, Puhunan, and Hinarian formations.

Xvlor Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape

Rock formations are named according to the form imagined by the public. Other rocks in different parts of the island need a boat to reach. Another uniqueness in these islands is a natural saltwater pool in Bel-at and Caranas where travelers swim in clear water

Biri Island has 11,767 people and is basically the largest island. The other major islands are Talisay, Magasang, and Cagnipa which belong to a marine protected area known as Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape. Since 2007, the community continues to improve the mangrove ecosystem covering more than 500 hectares. At least 20 snorkeling spots and dives around the islands.

Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape

Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape is a protected area of 33,492 hectares (82,760 acres) for rock formations, beaches, coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove forests in Balicuatro Islands including Biri Island, associated small islands, adjacent coastal areas are Lavezares, Rosario and San Jose.

Balicuatro Islands is a group of 18 small islands that are divided into two subgroups by Biri Channel, with the main island of Biri in the west consisting of 7 islands, and the Cabauan Grande (Cabaongon) group in the east. The archipelago borders the San Bernardino Strait and the Philippine Sea separated from Samar by the Bani Channel.

Biri Island has a length of 6.4 kilometers (4.0 miles) and a width of 3.2 kilometers (2.0 miles) as the largest and most northerly island of the Balicuatro Islands. Rock formation perpendicular to 61 m ether (200-ft) on the northwest side. The coastline is covered in mangrove forests and has gravel on the western side. Other small islands are surrounded by coral reefs.

Coral reefs support 23 different species of reef fish including Rabbitfish (Siganid). At least 15 different mangrove species with the dominant Rhizophoraceae. Different local and migratory bird species include bridled tern (Onychoprion anaethetus), black-naped tern (Sterna sumatrana), greater crested tern (Thalasseus bergii) and frigatebirds (Fregatidae).

Some species of seashells and seagrasses cover about 284 hectares (700 hectares) consisting of five species including Cymodocea rotundata, Thalassia hemprichii, and Enhalus acoroides. Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape

Xvlor Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape

Location: Balicuatro Islands in San Bernardino Strait, Northern Samar Province, Eastern Visayas, Philippines.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Catarman National Airport in Catarman, then drive to Lavezares port for 1 hour, and use the boat to Biri Island for 45 minutes.

Advice: The best time for snorkeling and diving is summer or dry in February to May. Visit the islands of Calinta, Tikling, Cagnipa, San Bernardino, Capul and Solerahan. Surfing from September to January. Others are kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing.

Lodging include Biri Scuba Resort (Biri Resort and Dive Center), Glenda's Bed and Breakfast, Villa Amor Hotel, Balay sa Baybay, Cagnipa Beach Resort, Gloria Vista Lodge, Ate Glo's Homestay and DENR Eco-lodge. Lawud Park Restaurant provides campsite and equipment.

Visits to rock formations must be with tour guides accredited by the government, camping on site is not allowed and swimming in the lagoon is only allowed until 5 pm. You must pass the City Tourism Office to register and pay the Tourism Fee before visiting the rock formations.

Bring cash, no ATM, cash payment only on the islands and no establishment accepts credit. Bring powerbank. The locals are very helpful and kind. Biri Larosa is a safe place even for solo travelers.