A Day Well-spent in Baler, Aurora

Baler has always been on top of mind (aside from Siargao and La Union) when it comes to surfing in the Philippines. But do you guys know that there’s more to Baler than just surfing.

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Here’s how we spent a day in Baler:

1 AM: Travel via JoyBus or Genesis Airconditioned bus (Cubao Bus Station)
Fare and Schedule: Check their website or call their office for real time info (http://www.genesistransport.com.ph/)

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What’s good about taking the Joybus (Genesis Transport Deluxe Coach) is that aside from comfortable-lazyboy-type-seats they also offer blankets and snacks on board. There’s also a bus attendant/ stewardess that attends to the passengers’ needs. Since there are no bus stops along the way, rest assured that you can have shorter travel time and a good night sleep. But guys, take note, this is like Php300 pricier than the normal airconditioned bus. Comfort really has its price hehe

Around 6 AM: Arrival Baler Town Proper
We haven’t booked a hotel room yet so we asked our friendly tricycle driver (Leo Buencamino) to bring us to Sabang beach and help us look for a room.

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Photo courtesy of my good friend misshappywanderer. In the spirit of fairness, I wouldn’t be posting Kuya Leo’s mobile number here to give the other tricycle drivers the equal chance of gaining passengers. Just make sure that the driver that will tour you around Baler is authorized to do so- look for an ID issued by the local government.

We then settled at June Samano Homestay. This is just one of the few transient houses that offer affordable daily rates for budgeted travelers like us. (But it would always be wise to book a room ahead of time to save time and money).

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8 AM: After Breakfast at the “Rolling Stores” (carinderia), we started the tour of Baler:

Ermita Hill
The panoramic view of Sierra Madre will surely take your breath away.

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Santa Isabel Church
This is the old church that is connected to Ermita Hill thru an underground tunnel. Unfortunately, only the replica of the tunnel’s opening can be seen. So hold on to your adventurous side since no sort of spelunking (tunnel spelunking if there’s such a thing hehe) adventure awaits for you here.

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The Pier
Witness Baler’s simplicity. Some bloggers wrote about “Pukot” or the fishing tradition in Baler. But we were not fortunate enough to witness or join such activity.

From here, you’ll also have a glimpse of Cobra Reef where the world famous barrel or tube waves can be found (not for amateur surfers). Although during our visit, the water is somewhat tamed. It comes with the season I guess. Better visit during the amihan season if you’re up for some wild surfing adventure.

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Diguisit Falls
This is just a small falls that you can’t even bathe in. But it’s still good to visit since it is located along the way to Aniao Islets.

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Aniao Islets
There are cottages that you can rent if you plan to spend your whole afternoon here but if you don’t have the luxury of time (like us) then a short visit would still make your Baler adventure an unforgettable one.

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Dona Aurora House
Back to Baler town proper, Dona Aurora Quezon’s House was our next destination. One of the highlight of this stop was the vintage Presidential Car of the late Pres. Manuel Quezon.
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Museo de Baler
This is where you’ll see the mural that depicts Baler’s history. The Museum also showcases portraits of famous personalities- most if not all, are politicians- that Baler has produced. And many other artifacts that are considered to be the town’s treasure.

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Millenium Tree (Old Balete Tree)
Baler is also the home of the 600-year old Balete tree- the largest of its kind in Asia. Due to its old age and humungous size, you can even enter the cave-like-tunnel that was formed by its roots.

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Mother Falls
I wonder why is it called Mother falls- forgot to ask our guide. Anyway maybe because it is taller and bigger than the previous falls (Diguisit) that we’ve been to earlier during the day. And unlike Diguisit, here you can dip in the cold water and relax your tired body due to the whole day’s activities. Truly, this is the best way to end your tour.

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We ended our tricycle tour at around 3pm and went back to the transient house to have some rest.

But wait, there’s more! lol Baler adventure wouldn’t be complete without Surfing!!!!!!

There are actually a lot of surfing shops along Sabang beach that offer surfing lessons. But our guide suggested we get the services of Michael’s Surf Shop which we didn’t regret later on since the instructors were all very patient and even cheered on us when we got the heck out of balancing in our surfboards! It was really fun!

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The night was still young after dinner at Yellow Fin Bar and Grill but we opted to stay at the back of the house facing the shore and just spent hours talking about what we experienced that day.

Morning came and our minds were struggling, not trying to entertain the fact that before lunch we needed to leave to be able to catch the bus going back to Manila. We spent our morning at Sabang beach enjoying the view of the sea and the people.

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A day is not enough to be able to explore the entirety of Baler. There are still a lot of places to visit like Ampere Beach, Dicasalarin Cove, etc. and We promise ourselves to visit again.

It was a short stay, but it was indeed a day well spent.

(By the way, for those who are asking about our budget- we actually spent about Php2,500 per person for the whole trip). It would be cheaper of course if you’ll travel in a big group.

Thanks for reading guys!

For comments and suggestions, you can email me at mikeyongque@gmail.com

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