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Cruise ship's visit in Northern Samar boosts tourism potential

TACLOBAN CITY -- The picturesque island town of Biri in Northern Samar province welcomed a significant milestone as the Australian cruise ship, Coral Adventurer, made its successful port call on Wednesday, November 1.

This historic visit marked the first cruise vessel to set foot on the island since the region's inclusion in cruise tourism in 2013.

The success of the Coral Adventurer's visit to Biri has ignited excitement and potential for future tourism, opening doors for travelers to explore the wonders of this hidden paradise, as announced by the Northern Samar provincial tourism office.

Coral Adventurer guests were welcome with Mabuhay gesture by residents of Biri as they arrive at the Beach Camp where they had some refreshments and a breathtaking view at the famous Biri Rock Formations. (DOT-8)

During their two-hour visit on the island, the ship's 73 guests immersed themselves in the local culture, experiencing a motorcycle ride, the primary means of transportation for the islanders. They also had the opportunity to witness the traditional method of producing dried danggit in one of the island's villages.

The highlight of their visit was the exploration of Biri's Beach Camp, where they were captivated by the breathtaking and magnificent rock formations that have made this island town a favorite among tourists.

The enchanting rock formations, combined with the genuine hospitality of the local community, have left an indelible mark on the hearts of the Australian tourists.

Biri, the second town in Northern Samar province to embrace cruise tourism, is renowned for its stunning and ancient rock formations, dating back from 84 to 24 million years ago, according to the National Institute Geological Sciences Research of the University of the Philippines. The island boasts seven rock formations, with six of them easily accessible to tourists.

From the moment the Coral Adventurer's guests arrived on the island, they were greeted with warm hospitality and embraced by the local community. The immersive experience of local living, coupled with the delectable flavors of Filipino cuisine, left a lasting impression on the visitors.

Local delicacies were served and tasted by Australian guests during their short visit in the island town of Biri in Northern Samar province. (DOT-8)

"This has been the best part of the (Philippine) tour," Dawn Singleton, expedition leader, shares adding their excitement to finally let their cruise ship guest visit the beauty of Biri and other parts of Northern Samar and Eastern Visayas region.

Following their memorable visit to Biri, the vessel and its guests sailed to the historic town of Capul Island, situated at the southern entrance of the San Bernardino Strait.

This island is rich in history, with remnants of the past visible in landmarks such as the "Bañadero," which locals still use for washing clothes and bathing, the Capul lighthouse built during the Spanish era, and the Capul Church and Fortress that served as protection against Moro raiders during Spanish times.

A visit to Capul is not complete without visiting the Capul Lighthouse that was built in 1896. Australian guests onboard Coral Adventurer have marveled at this man-made structure that until now is operational and guide ships that enters San Bernardino Strait from the Pacific Ocean. (DOT-8)
Australian guests were entertained when they visited the majestic Fuerza de San Loyola Church, a historic landmark in Capul Island that was first built in the 1500s and was fortified in the 1600 to the 1700 to protect island residents from Moro raiders. (DOT-8)

In both towns, the guests were treated to the best of local living, warm hospitality, delicious food, and, of course, the infectious smiles that Filipinos are known for.

A tree of life as what it is called, coconut played a significant role in the life of every Filipino. Every part of the coconut tree has specific use. Australian guests learn this when they visit a coconut farm in Capul Island. (DOT-8)

Before reaching Biri and Capul, the Coral Adventurer first made a port call in Virac, Catanduanes. This visit is part of a broader itinerary that includes stops in the island town of Maripipi in Biliran province, Babatngon, Tacloban City, Himukilan Island, and Canigao Island in Leyte province.

"We must be doing something good that cruise tour operators and ship cruise directors trust us to develop and deliver the right kind of shore excursion experience," Department of Tourism 8 Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes expressing her enthusiasm on the increasing list of areas in Eastern Visayas included in cruise tourism.

She added that the best part of cruise tourism is that the ships carry a small number of guests who seek to interact with the local community and learn about their way of life, culture, and heritage.

The visits of cruise ships also play a crucial role in encouraging domestic and local tourists to explore the places visited by foreign guests, fostering a deeper appreciation for the Philippines' rich culture and heritage.  (DOT-8)

About the Author

Leonilo Lopido

Assistant Regional Head

Region 8

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