Any trip worth taking and well-planned out very much ahead of time can easily be ruined by one, single factor: bad weather.

This we had to humbly accept last week when we revisited Biri Island in the northernmost tip of Northern Samar, facing the huge Pacific Ocean.

Planning for the Biri trip was made months in advance. It had to be summer time for calmer seas (crossing to Biri involves navigating the treacherous San Bernardino Strait – the major sea channel from the mighty Pacific Ocean “supplying” the Visayan Sea). Tickets were already bought way ahead of time to avail of bargain rates.

But the weather has been acting weird lately.

The La Niña phenomenon, Mr. Weatherman has warned.

In previous years, March is when the weather in Eastern Visayas starts turning warmer from warm; humid to more humid; and a hot, sweltering Holy Week just weeks away…

This year, however, the weather has gone askew. It’s been rains after rains after rains lately, flooding areas never been flooded before in Eastern Visayas, the Bicol area, and the eastern parts of Mindanao.

But since we were traveling as a group, with more than half coming from other places (2 from Cebu, 2 from Roxas City, 4 from Manila), we had to proceed as planned.

A flight to Catarman, Northern Samar from Manila was canceled and 2 on board could no longer join the group (on a return trip, 4 others had to make a detour trip to Tacloban when their return flight Catarman-Manila was likewise cancelled due to bad weather.)

When we left Tacloban for Catarman on a road trip, the weather was very gloomy. Very ominous.

But wonder of wonders: when we reached Biri and went to the rock formations, we were in for a pleasant surprise – sunny weather!

We were not so lucky, however, for the 2 succeeding days. Shooting for a sunrise was a battle against strong elements – fierce, whistling Pacific winds capable of knocking down heavy, tripod-mounted cameras. And skin-drenching rain (see 2 photos above).

Oh, well, life has to go on. And we had to simply live with it.

Here’s what I got…  Biri Island, still magnificent and awesome.

Trip was still worth it, if you ask me. ;)

View hi-res gallery and slideshow >>>

View previous post on Biri Island >>>


Biri is a cluster of islands in the northernmost part of Northern Samar, Philippines.

Jump off point is at the town of Lavezares, Northern Samar where one takes a motorized banca trip (45 mins-1 hour) to Biri town proper. Going to the rock formations is via motorbikes (habal-habal), about 15 minutes ride.

Getting to Northern Samar is either via plane Manila-Catarman or Cebu-Catarman (please check airline skeds – Cebu Pacific and AirPhil Express), then road trip Catarman to Lavezares (45 minutes via van); or via Manila-Tacloban or Cebu-Tacloban, then a road trip (6 hours) Tacloban to Lavezares.

If coming from Bicol, one takes the ferry from Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen, Northern Samar, then a 20-minute road trip to Lavezares.

For more details and travel arrangements, please visit Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours or call (053) 321-7966 or (053) 523-7966.



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