I Almost Lost My Life in Biri Island, Northern Samar, Philippines

2:00:00 PM Jerik De Guzman 32 Comments


STORY: I've traveled to many places, each with a unique story to tell and an experience too hard to forget. It can be about this wild animal roaming around this particular jungle or this tiny island off the coast of this humble province with the most unbelievable crystal clear water. But today is not about a story of triumph, what i will share with you now is a story of defeat, of disappointment and of life and death. 


It was afternoon when i went. It wasn't necessarily low tide to begin with but the sea was much calmer when i went there than when i left. Getting to Biri wasn't easy. I rented a boat from the port going to the main island. From there, it was a rough ride going to the base onward to visit the Biri Rock Formations. The boatman stayed by the port and eased the time away. The moto-driver became my guide to the rocks. 


I recommend this guide for being knowledgeable about the province and the mystery behind Biri. He mentioned stuff about the different kinds of sedimentary rocks, and how the mixture of saltwater and erosion have caused to produce such wonderful group of rocks. Very intelligent man, i must say.


But I wasn't paying attention to what he was saying. Somehow, i needed to discover this place all by myself. I wanted to touch the rocks, I wanted to walk on those steep and pointed edges like swords sprung from the middle of the ocean. I want discovery. I didn't want a history lesson from him.


And so i went on top, and the vast Pacific ocean seemed like a diamond cut out of a big canvass. It was too beautiful to describe. And none of my descriptions could ever be at par with what i have just seen. Little by little, the waves begin to exercise its might over the rocks. It was a fight. A struggle. 


As a spectator, i was there in awe. I just observed. It repeated for more than a couple of times until i soon lost count. I said to myself, "i vow never to leave this place ever again". It's that beautiful.


Of course, the moment passed. And i was ready to jump in to my next stop. I trekked down the steep runway and left the rocks.


I was already sensing, little by little, how the waves were getting bigger and bigger. It was indeed getting bigger that the waves begin to spill out of the ocean, touching the innermost depths of the rock. I begin to get worried, a little terrified, but still getting by. The beautiful place and the magical 900 seconds was enough to calm me down. 


This was the photo taken of me before i was rushed to danger. I left my cargo shorts because the weight of the soaked piece of clothing was making me walk in the ocean at a speed less than a normal person. 


As i was walking from the left side of the formations, facing the ocean, i saw pigeons flying opposite the direction of where i was going. The sound of the waves begin to die down for an instant. The terror took a turn for safety. And then...


I was looking at the horizon, the depth of the wave began to thicken. I was walking slowly to face away from the ocean daggers. The rush of the ocean came for me. I was slipping away. Until i couldn't hold it any longer. I was strongly pressing my hands towards this lone rock to keep me alive. I was beginning to fade away. My eyes were watered down, and slowly, all the most recent experiences i had came back to me, one by one. It dawned on me that i could lose it today and that i will never ever go back. I reckon, if this was the last day of the rest of my life, i wasn't ready.

Luckily, my guide was there to save me from despair at the nick of time. He was there catching me from imaginings of the last figment of life. He was there in time. 

The guide was there to tell me that shaded from what we see, there are elements guarding these rocks; a woman, a lover, a broken-hearted soul. Not a lot of people survived. There were a couple of those who have drowned, a couple of those perished in an instant from the angry waters of the pacific.

She was there. I knew i saw her. 


I left Biri, on board the motorbike and the long tail boat as it speeds away, fresh blood oozing from the left blanket of my ankle. I didn't even bother to look at the Virgin Mary looking down upon us earth people. I was shocked.


On my way back to safety, i closed my eyes and prayed. I thank God for giving me another day, another month, another year, another lifetime to explore this vast earth. I also talked to the guards of Biri. I told her how unfortunate it is that i almost lost my life in her palms, knowing i had the best intentions to share with the world how beautiful it is there. I couldn't think of any word to describe how simply amazing it is to travel by foot and cross the waters. 


I've learned so much from this trip. I've learned to live my life at a whole new level. I went home with an even more probable reason why i have to go back home. I missed my family. I missed seeing the people who want to see me alive and well.

Someone asked me what was i going to do about what happened. I said, "i'll charge it to experience". 

These are the real experiences you will encounter when you're traveling. There are hopeful moments, and then there stuff like this that are worse. 

REALIZATIONS: With no apprehensions, i looked at the window of the plane unscathed but definite. I was seeing San Bernardino Straight and the different rocks littered along the coast. It was magnificent to see it as i leave because never will i see it again. I know i will never come back. 

32 Comments:

vin said...

yaiks! you're brave enough to reach that part of the rock formations. the waves are really scary that's why we just stayed on top of magasang. glad to know you survived that tragedy :)

Lakbay Diva said...

dafuq! that's scary. when i was there i was very careful not to go near the waves that seem to torment the rocks.

Glad you're safe. The waves in Biri are beautiful and unpredictable.

I was told by my guide in Biri to never underestimate the waves there. Tama nga pala sya. I guess you were really lucky and it really pays off to rent a good guide

Ryan Mach said...

Quite a poignant post. This is one of the reasons that holds me back every time I'm set for the road. I'm glad you're safe.

Close call man. Waves, why I still fear the sea. But, this makes you tougher and appreciate each second of traveling, alive and free and all :)

blissfulguro said...

hindi talaga pwedeng gawing biro ang dagat pati ang alon. pero ang ganda ng biri talaga. whew. apir sa ayos na guide!:)

ava ay-ay said...

I'm from Leyte and I've heard a lot of stories about Biri - that it's enchanted, that you should not wear red because it attracts the women guarding the place, etc. Good thing you're OK :-)

Ricky Flintoff said...

I have visited Denpasar city of Bali and it was a nice experience for me. But it was my just two days business trip and could not enjoy so much. But I love the place and sure I will be there soon with my family. I just love all of the pics which you have posted.

it didn't seem dangerous at first so that's why it was okay for me to jump in and explore. After going down, that's when it got scary. buti na lang talag. Bawal madedo habang nagbbiyahe.

kakaibang lakas yung alon dun. even for a surfer, it would be suicide.

Thanks! Yes! Pretty lucky i survived this with just bruises. Truly unpredictable and magical place.

A guide is necessary. Imagine kung wala, baka wala ring may alam na wala na ako. Kakaiba ang Biri!

It's one of the cons of traveling but at the same time, how will you ever know what's out there unless you're willing to risk? Everyday actions are a risk anyway. But i'm thankful i'm still alive. :)

Agree 100% Enjoy Biri and watch out for the waves and rocks. Ingatski! :)

Yun lang! Talagang maganda siya. Wala pa ako nakitang parang ganun hitsura anywhere. Truly awesome and one of a kind.

I never knew about wearing anything red. Thanks so much! It feels great to be alive. But yes, no regrets! But i don't think i will be ever coming back to Biri ever. It's just me.

Rizalenio said...

Salute to you for being so courageous, hence the wonderful photographs too. I saw a lot of stunning photos taken in Biri but not with this kind of waves. What camera do you use?

Ingat lagi.

Naku. Gusto ko bumisita sa Biri Island this year. I'll keep in mind to get a guide. Maliban sa medyo matakutin ako, hindi rin ako marunong lumangoy :|

Wow what an experience. Like your post. Was it raining? ..i guess it must have been the meeting of high tide and the rushing water from Pacific ocean, just my guess. I will try going there, tnx for d info.

nice photos man...

*same same is Bangkok!haha.nice

JhaypeeG. said...

It seems you really had a great adventure in Biri. After that experience, you realized how fortunate you are right now. Every time we travel we should pray and ask God for his guidance and protection. I admire your courage and dedication to reach your goal. :)

haven't been to this part of Pinas.. great shots :)

Avon Luna said...

mayroon kabang gamit na gusto mong ibenta? post mona dito siguradong mabibili yan sa Anunsyo.ph

@Rizalenio It's one of those moments where you shouldn't be doing it, but i had no regrets. I'll just charge it to experience. The more you travel, you become more responsible of yourself. The photos were taken using Casio Exilim.

@Micamyx|Senyorita Ingat! Listen to what the guide is saying, and be quiet. :)They're all listening.

@Henry Libo-on It wasn't raining but it was cloudy. I really have a strong feeling, gusto na nila ako kunin nun. :(

@pinoydaysleeper.com Coming from you brad, it's an honor. Inuman na!

@JhaypeeG. Amen to that. After years of traveling, i realize how important it is to think really hard. Be more responsible of actions, and always ask, "is it worth it?"

@mountains-and-beyond Maraming salamat!!! :)

I just read your Biri experience. You are really very lucky to survive that. Can you remember the name of your bangkero cum tourist guide? I think he is the perfect guy to hire. I am planning to take my family to Biri this summer as a college graduation gift to my son. Your post made me cautious and extra careful. Great shots and great angles too.Your uploaded photos convince me more to visit Biri.

I just read your blog about Biri. You are really very lucky to survive.
I just wonder if you can still remember the name or contact number of your bangkero cum tourist guide. I think he is the perfect guy to hire. I am planning to take my family at Biri this summer as graduation gift to my son. Your great shots and vantage angles uploaded made me choose Biri than the rest.