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It has been an hour since we last took shelter underneath the small rooftop of that last of the six rock formations in Biri Island. My companions had almost consumed their cigarette pack but the rain has not stopped. We were getting impatient on being stranded at the Caranas rock formation. From a distance, we could see some locals who were enjoying the spiteful weather with their clothes on. They were really having a grand time swimming the natural pools and climbing the rock formation in Bel-at.
Out of the blue, our tour guide (Kuya Jun) suddenly blurted “Mag swimming nalang po tayo”.
“Tara!” was what came out of our lips. I guess it was the boredom that gave way to this unexpected decision. We didn’t even bring any change clothes! But at that point, we would have done anything to get us out of that predicament.
So off we went to the natural pools of Bel-at!
After carefully wrapping and securing our things, we slowly waded the waters and headed for the huge pool that separates Bel-at from Caranas.
We followed where our guide went. We were careful since we didn’t want to end up slipping on the deep pool. When we reached where we needed to be, Kuya Jun told us that the natural pool is really deep that people go there to scuba dive. Hmmmm…sounds promising.
I couldn’t imagine what anyone would see down below but once I submerged myself in the pool, I could sense the presence of live corals underneath my feet. Our guide told us that there were indeed live corals in there.
There were also small fishes that live in those corals but there were only a few of them. While swimming to get to the other side of the pool, I was mindful on what I was holding or stepping since the corals were just a few meters beneath the water level. I want to make sure they remain untouched since I remember reading from somewhere that they’d die easily when their habitat gets disturbed.
When you visit the Bel-at rock formation in Biri Island and decide to swim in their natural pool, be sure not to touch the corals. You have to be careful since they are just lurking approximately 2-3 feet beneath the surface.
The water in the pool is not clear when we swam in. I’m not sure if it has to do with the dark clouds covering us. I even wondered if one could see the corals from the ground when the skies are clear. But that feeling of not seeing what’s beneath the deep pool gave me that eerie feeling. As I swam in there, I just hoped that nothing will appear from the bottom to eat me or anything. hehehe.
the Bel-at Rock Formation from afar
Learning How to
Dive Drown in Biri
I’m a frustrated diver. Ever since I learned how to swim without drowning, I’ve been meaning to learn how to dive. Actually, I’m not still confident with my swimming skills. So when I went with travel blogger friends to go snorkeling at Pescador Island in Moalboal, Cebu, I’ve tried learning how to dive to no avail.
While my friend, Christian, got busy taking photos of the underwater life in the natural pool of Bel-at, I swam a few lapses.
Our tour guide also swam with us to keep us safe. Then I asked him the question…
Me: Kuya, paano ba magdive?
Kuya Jun: Ewan ko ma’am. (scratches his head) Basta magdive ka lang. (awesome suggestion!)
Me: Christian, paano ba magdive?
Christian: Ewan. Di nga rin ako masyado marunong eh. hehehe
Me: Kasi sinusubukan ko magdive pero kalahati lang nang katawan ko pumupunta sa ilalim. Yung kalahati nasa taas pa rin.
(Please hover your mouse to the conversation to get the translation in English 😉 )
Kuya Jun asked me to show him how I do it. I willingly obliged. And just like my past unsuccessful attempts, this one wasn’t different. I tried swimming down as I forced my body to dive deeper. But my butt and the rest of my lower half remained afloat. After showing off my failed attempt at diving, all I got from the two guys who were with me were a bunch of laughter. Thanks for the support guys! Hahahaha.
So I asked Kuya Jun again what should I do to dive. He still scratched his head and said he doesn’t know.
Then a light bulb hit him.
“Ma’am, kunan ko kaya kayo ng bato sa ilalim tapos hawakan niyo para lumubog kayo.”
Wow! What a great idea! “Sge Kuya!” was my honest reply.
With that, he dove down and found a huge rock, the size of a basketball, and told me to get ready for the rock.
I took a deep breath, opened my hands to receive the rock then slowly closed my eyes as I
dove sank deeper. Soon, my ears started to hurt. Avoiding not to panic, I immediately let the rock slip my hand. It found its way to the bottom of the pool while I, on the other hand, ascended back to the surface.
I didn’t know if I did it, if I successfully dove down. I had to shut my eyes when I attempted to drown myself. All I could remember was that I was slowly going down but as to how deep, I had no idea. When I asked Kuya Jun if I really sank, he told me that I did and it was quite deep.
Hearing that was like music to my ears. I couldn’t be more happier. I finally learned how to dive! este drown! hahaha. (well, not technically 😛 )
corals; my underwater shot while holding a dead coral to sink 😉
As for swimming in the natural pool in Biri Island, it was a wonderful experience. For those who want a quick dip after exploring the rock formations in Biri, this is the best area to swim. I hear that it’s also great to swim there during full moon. But extra caution must be practiced whenever you attempt to do this. It’s best to find a local to bring you to the natural pools in Biri Island so that they could guide you properly on where to pass through.
Now that summer’s here, I would recommend you head over to Biri Island to explore the majestic rock formations on the north eastern side of Samar 😉
Photographer: Christian Sangoyo of lakadpilipinas.com
Camera used: Canon D10 (underwater cam)
Date: October 5, 2012
Location: Bel-at Rock Formation in Biri Island, Northern Samar
This post is part of my Biri Island Adventure series.
For more information on the previous posts, please refer to the links below:
Majestic Rock Formations: The Hidden Gems of Biri Island
Biri Island Series: En Route Cebu to Calbayog
Biri Island Series: Looking For Affordable Places to Stay in Allen?
Biri Island Series: Side Trip to Spice of Life Beach in Allen
Biri Island Series: Waking Up Biri Early Morning
Biri Island Series: Biri Rock Formations Tour Activate!
Biri Island Series: The Hills are Alive in Magaspad
Witnessing the Sunset at Magasang in Biri Island
Waiting for Sunrise at the Bel-at Rock Formation in Biri
On Being Stranded at the Caranas Rock Formation
Learning How To Drown in the Natural Pools of Biri Island <— you are here now 😉
wow! this is amazing! nice photos too!
Look at you now Doi. You’re an expert free diver na.
Just want to ask, may waterproof casing ba yung Canon D10 ni Christian when you went there?
Thanks Dylan! But honestly, I can’t call myself an expert freediver yet. I’m hoping to become one though 😉
As for the cam, it’s actually an underwater cam from Canon 😀 lemme update that part. hehehe
I finally let go of the life vest in Apo Island. And it felt liberating, hehe. And thank you Doi for teaching us how to free dive! Sana makabalik uli kami sa Cebu soon. 🙂