Thursday, 15 October 2015

What To See, Things To Do And Where To Stay In Baler, Aurora


My younger brother just recently went on a surfing and swimming escapade in Baler, Aurora with his workmates. Prior to this, I was discouraging him not to join anymore as it is raining for the past days. But still, he really wants to have fun so he went ahead while I was on my trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Well, their weekend trip turned out so good and I did not expect it. The photos show and of course the glow in his eyes while I was asking how was it. They are even boiling another out of town trip sometime soon.    

I am not a surfing fanatic nor a die-hard beach bum, but I love going to beaches mainly because of the sight, the sunset/sunrise, a bit of swimming and to unwind. I have not been to a lot of nearby beaches in Manila, the only one was in Zambales. I spent the last days of my Holy Week there alone, a few years where I had my first ever surfing experience in the Circle Hostel.

Sounds really ironic because during my freelance career in 2013, I am actually sell Baler tour packages over the weekend either for 2d1n or 3d2n courtesy of my then partner travel agencies. This is not one of my best selling actually, so I never did care to see this or them to give me a free trip here.  

Still at this time, I receive a considerable amount of traffic, so I am posting another helpful guide of what to see in Baler. Also, I did not realize, the best time to go surfing is during rainy season when the tides are high and winds are strong. But for me if it is your first time to learn surfing go on normal days just to be safe. Surfing in Baler, Aurora is the main takeaway of the majority of people who come here but not only that, this place also have a lot more to offer when it comes to nature and history. 

How To Go To Baler

Baler is once described by Yahoo Southeast Asia as one of the top surfing spots in the Philippines. The best time to come here for an unforgettable surfing moment is from September to February.
If you want to commute, there are buses in Cubao and Pasay stations for a brief stopover to Cabanatuan Central Terminal. Then from there, you can take a jeep, tricycle or van to Baler proper. I suggest you take the trip midnight or early morning because the travel time is 5-6 hours. In this way, you can sleep, save from paying extra hours to your accommodation and you reach just right in time in the morning where you can perfectly start your adventure.  If cutting trips is not your thing, just choose Genesis Joybus.

If you want to have a convenient trip without planning everything, there are a lot of legitimate travel agencies offering the most affordable rates that have weekly group tour packages to Baler.   I suggest St. Michael Explorer Travel And Tours, Travel Ventours and Barefoot Travels.     All you need to do is sit back and relax in an air-conditioned van that has a capacity of about 12 pax.        

What To See And Do In Baler

1.   Swim at Ditumabo Falls  or the Mother Falls
Ditumabo Falls is a bit far from the main Baler and would take at least 45 minutes to reach there but it is surely worth it. The photos will tell. This is said to be the highest falls in Baler and definitely prepare for the colder water. This is how I am not fond, and oh, before seeing Ditumabo Falls, you will need to cross rivers, wooden bridges and walk above the tube on a power plant.



2.   See the 600-year old Balete or Banyan Tree
Yes you read it right. It is said that 60 people holding each other’s arms are needed to literally hug together this tree. Go ahead you can also climb up if you can.
What puzzles me is of all the trees we have in the country why Balete? I grow up listening to horror stories related to Balete trees, so how much more would this 600-year old tree have? I am sure the locals especially the old ones can tell. This is the one that I am curious the most.




3. Surfing in Sabang Beach
The crème of the crop why a lot flock in Baler, it is because of surfing. For Php 400, you can have an hour of surfing basic lesson especially how to stand on your board and how to catch a perfect wave. You can even get a discount if you come in group.    I remember my own surfing experience in Zambales, the surfing board is so big (or am I just too small) that when small waves keep on splashing it, I am at a few times hit in my face. You don’t want to get hurt, right? So be very attentive while you use the board in the waters. Tip on surfing: the big surf board is more stable in water, so it is the one that is more recommended to be used by beginners.




4.     The Hanging Bridge in Baler
I fear crossing and walking on high hanging bridges but this one looked just fine and the view is so fantastic that you could walk, and go back and forth  here many times. 




5. The Ermita Hill
They say, for the best glimpse of the islands and shores of Baler, go to Ermita Hill. Old stories tell about these  7 families who climbed up this Ermita Hill due to tsunami centuries ago, they became the  first ancestors of the locals here.





6.  For the religious Catholics, you can see Baler Catholic Church. 





To those who have more time when you see Baler, here are a few more I can add:

6. For heritage buffs, you can visit the Museo de Baler and Doña Aurora Aragon heritage house, the wife of former President Manuel L Quezon.
  
7.   There are a lot of falls and beaches in Baler.  Try standing below the Caunayan Falls and let the heavy or mild pressure of the water falling down massage your head down to shoulders. If you had enough at Sabang Beach, you can hop to Diguisit Beach for a change of scenery.

8. Join the fishermen for a “pukot”
Pukot is the local term for fishermen in Aurora that describes how they catch fish. I will leave them the honor how they do it and for you to learn.

9. Sabang Pasalubong Center
Never go home without buying a few souvenirs in Sabang Pasalubong Center. It is not just about being thoughtful to your family and loved ones waiting for you, but you are also helping the local tourism and municipality of Baler, Aurora.




Top Three Accommodation In Baler, Aurora      

They stayed in a coworker's family house so they never rented an accommodation. The ones I can suggest are Baler bays inn, Baylet view hotel and Aliya Surf Camp & Resort. By the way one tip when you find a place to stay in Baler, ask if it is near beachside or not. Since this is all about surfing and swimming escapade, you don't want to have your room half an hour away from the beach right?

Contact details:

Bay's Inn Baler
Address: Sitio Labasin, Baler
Contact num:  0908 982 3509

Bay-ler View Hotel
Address: Buton St, Baler, Aurora
Contact num: (02) 404.4784

Aliya Surf Camp & Resort
Address: 
Contact num: 0939 9390929 

If you are looking for the most awesome accommodation, Aliya Surf Camp & Resort always have events that are gratis from free surfing lessons for girls only and  free concert by the beach!

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