Lazy days at the Tropical Getaway Biri Island

Biri Island-4387After my devastating injury during the descent of Mt. Bulusan, I had to rest for a few days and also go see an orthopaedic specialist twice. The transportation to that doctor took long and I spent almost a day going and coming back. I was getting annoyed and frustrated having to spend so much time in hot, overcrowded jeepneys and minivans. Despite knowing that some more rest probably would be best for me, I just wanted to get moving again. Our plan was to head for an rather unknown tropical getaway named Biri Island. Glenda, who had been our host for the last few days, decided to join us, adding a female component to our group for the first time. An interesting start for an eventful trip.

Banka ride to Biri Island
In the morning we boarded a tricycle to get to the pier where we would board a banka (local boat) which Glenda had arranged the night before. It would take us directly to Biri, saving us a massive amount of time and some more jeepney and minivan rides. Having a last look over to Mt. Bulusan, we loaded the banka and cheeringly took off with some fun and lazy days ahead of us. For Chris, Dolf and I it was the first banka ride ever. With the sun warming us, the sea not too rough and the wind blowing gently into our faces, we enjoyed every bit of it.

Stoked to go to Biri.

Stoked to go to Biri. Photo by Chris Chew

Boarding the banka to Biri Island. Mt. Bulusan in the back.

Boarding the banka to Biri Island. Mt. Bulusan in the back.

Passing through St. Bernadino Straight and by an uninhabited island

Passing through St. Bernadino Straight and by an uninhabited island

A fun banka ride with our fourth team-member Glenda.

A fun banka ride with our fourth team-member Glenda.

Villa Amor – a paradiscal place in paradise
After about 2,5 hours we arrived at our resort, The Villa Amor. The place looked great and as we found out later, it had just been built. It featured a few terraces and a nice palm garden with amazing views into the bay and over to Mt. Bulusan. Walking around the villa, it quickly became apparent that someone had invested a lot of attention to the detail. The place was great and even better was the fact, that we were the only guests that day. We basically owned this little gem in paradise. Soon after our arrival we met Peter from Australia, the owner or better investor of Villa Amor. He was very kind and gave us some good info on what to do on the island. At this point we didn’t know that we would spend quiet a bit of time with Peter.

The next day Chris went for a couple of dives with Ralph, a guy from Seattle who owns a house on the island and regularly spends a good amount of time there together with his daughter and Filipino wife. In the meantime Glenda, Dolf and I were adhering to the tropical lifestyle. The villa featured a rooftop terrace, covered with artificial lawn and a mushroom like sunshade on it. A cool breeze was blowing from the sea and the view from up there was spectacular. The spot became our new happy place. We spend the day reading, napping and chatting and time just flew by.
Later that day, Peter from Australia invited us into his bar to have a few beers with him and some other Westerners living on the island. It was interesting to get to know them and hear their stories about how they landed on the island. We ended the day with a beautiful sunset and the feeling, that we have discovered a very special place.

Chilling underneath our beloved mushroom. Happy Place.

Chilling underneath our beloved mushroom. Happy Place.

Some standup-paddling into the sunset.

Some standup-paddling into the sunset.

Exploring the Biri Island Rock Formations
An early motorbike trip the next morning took us to the extraordinary rock formations the island has to offer. A long wooden bridge led us through the mangroves to the Bel-At rock formation. The scenery was bizarre with rock formations looking like huge waves and others appearing to have been carved out by the ocean for centuries. I also would have liked to see the other formations the island offers, but those were supposedly to difficult to walk with my injured ankle.

Bel-At on Biri Island.

Bel-At on Biri Island.

The Cliffs and a Night to Remember

Until the afternoon we spent the day relaxing underneath our beloved mushroom catching up on some well needed sleep. Once again it was hard to believe that we had a beautiful place like that all for ourselves. In Europe a paradisical spot like that would have been way overcrowded.
Later that day Peter wanted to show us the tip of the island featuring some great views from atop a rock cliff. The walk took us along a beautiful beach lined with coconut trees. After a bend, we went up through the lush green forest and shortly after made it to the cliffs. The views from up there were stunning. Before taking some nice snapshots, we all sat down for a bit and just took in the serene atmosphere. It was a beautiful place on an already more than beautiful island.

Our last night we spent on the rooftop terrace, enjoying one of the best sunsets we had in a while. Peter brought up some cold sundowners and Ralph, who had kindly hosted us the night before, joined us as well. That evening we spent just gazing out to ocean, enjoying the bright and constantly changing colors of the sunset and exchanging stories from the recent and not so recent past. It was a night to remember with great people and I was already regretting having to leave this paradise the next day.

Last thoughts …

Despite the beautiful vistas, the amazing scenery and the most relaxed atmosphere this island had to offer, the impression that struck me most was once again about the people we have met. No locals this time but people like Peter and Ralph who had come to Biri in the 90s, finding a different lifestyle for themselves and making their dreams come true. It was inspiring to see what you can make of life if you just think outside of the box. These guys had it all and seemed to be very happy with what they have achieved. And all of that aloof the standard 9 to 5 scheme that everyone at home seems to be striving for. Meeting these guys was a definite inspiration and an eye opener. Thank you for that, guys!

Categories: The Philippines | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Lazy days at the Tropical Getaway Biri Island

  1. victoriaaphotography

    Sounds like a magical experience.
    Hope the ankle is much improved with the rest on the resort.
    Looking forward to hearing about the next ‘port of call’ on your travels.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Yeah, those lay days were definitely good for the ankle and my peace of mind. I could have easily stayed for longer. It is not only relaxed there but there is also stuff to do. Great place and so non touristy…wonder for much longer …… Foots is doing alright I guess. I can walk which is more than I expected when it all happened. Hope I will make more progress soon….Diving today actually wasnt too comfortable I have to admit ….

  2. The 4 of you sitting on the rock , very dramatic 🙂

    • Hehe, I like it. It is staged but I like the “infinity stare”….. Thanks for your feedback Samokan!! Greetings from Malapsacua

      • yeah, I’ve been seeing lots of tourist’s pictures of Biri and the infinity stare is the best or if not one of the best photos of biri that i have ever seen.

      • Hey Rusty, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it. I love the infinity stare. Much better than the regular portrait poses….. It has become sort of inflationary though ;). Thanks for stopping by my blog, I hope you like it. Greetings, Philipp

  3. peter montgomery

    thanks phillip

    it was great having u guys and glenda there . most of our guests are filipino and we only just get to say hello .
    hope the ankle is on the improve ? remember the 2 surf seasons run from september thru to the end of march , probably better to bring a body board and flippers as its easier to travel with .

    our flight to manila was cancelled and like you we had to travel to tacloban and fly out there [ another story ] . in singapore this morning .

    well hoping we meet up again and travel on the “road” is good . i will keep an eye on your journey thru your site .

    all the best

    regards peter and vilma montgomery

    • Hi Peter,
      thanks for stopping by and your kind feedback. The ankle is improving slowly but steadily. Still a long way to go though. Relaxing at Villa Amor did do me very well though. How come your flight got cancelled? Hope tat won’t happen to us when we fly out.

      Hope you made it home to AUS safely. Thanks again for the great stay at Biri and showing us around. The guys said hello as well. Take care and greetings from Malapsacua,


  4. peter montgomery

    HI Phil

    plane landed ok in catarman but could not take off [ wing strut ] . they sent out engineers in a small plane but stiil no good , flight cancelled . we arrived tacloban at 11pm , flew out next day at 3pm from tacloban to manila , 20 hours late .

    epilogue – they sent a rescue flight next day to catarman . but failed to inform us . only message we received was flight full next day . ” fuck ”

    anyway its just part of travel in south east asia .

    best regards peter

    in singapore now , really like this city but dont break the law here .

  5. peter montgomery

    hi phil
    read your reports on bilirin and malapsacua with interest . great footage on the thresher shark , never seen a shark under water [ saw plenty near the surface in oz ] . seems mal is getting like boracay and puerto galera ?
    now the reason for the mail , i was wondering if i could use some of your photos for my face book ?

    if ok , thanks

    regards to dolf and chris

    peter montgomery

    ps hope u guys get back to biri one day

  6. Hi Peter,
    will send you a message to your E-Mail Account. Check for it.

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