Monday, January 31, 2011

There's more to BALER than just SURFING!

Travelling to Baler has been part of my itinerary since the time I learned about its existence through the movie “Baler” that acquired 10 0f 21 trophies handed out during the 2008 Manila Film Festival Awards.

I didn’t watch the movie personally but I saw the trailer. I know less bout the story and I ain’t gonna be talking about the movie’s plot, but how I was taken by the place, the setting, the background. No wonder after that movie was released Baler’s existence became more prominent. The stories I heard from friends and strangers alike who’ve been to Baler are enough to awaken the curiosity in me. And the request from Bryan urged me to finally set my feet to this land.

Fast Facts

Baler is the capital of Aurora Province, east-central side of Luzon. It is known as the site of the last sack of resistance of the Spanish Armed Forces during the Filipino-Spanish War. Travel time from Manila to Baler through Genesis bus (the only bus company that travels from Manila to Baler directly) can take 8-9 hours. Since the province's main link to the rest of Luzon is through a narrow mountain gravel road that twists through the Sierra Madre Mountain Range (discover Aurora) expect a very non-comfortable trip. To have fun, try to enjoy the view of mountains, rivers, people and terrains.

The Place

Since Baler is facing the Pacific Ocean, it is known for its waves which are present almost all year that are good for surfing. Baler was featured also in one of the Hollywood film Apocalypse Now , a 1979 American epic war film. The US soldier’s surf scene in the said film was taken in Baler.

Knowing these details, I made it a point to take a dip at the Pacific sea and conquer Baler waves the way I did with La Union

video

Beyond Surfing

Ermita Hill

This is one of Baler’s highest points. From the hilltop you will see the panoramic view of sea water and nearby mountains. This place features a chapel, an ancient viewing point (to know when to send advance warning for incoming threats), cages of monkeys (yes, all caged animals are monkeys) and a ‘said-to-be’ tunnel (we tried to enter this tunnel but it appears to be just a hole and nothing more). It is about a 10-minute drive (thru tricycle) from the town proper. 

view from the hilltop of Ermita Hill Park

one of the monkeys in a cage
the steps towards the cross located at the top of Ermita Hill
(if my counting was right, the stair has 275 uneven steps)
Tromba Marina


The life size stone sculptor dramatizes the catastrophe that Baler experienced December of 1935 when a tsunami hit the area engulfing almost the entire community that spared only 14 families.


Diguisit Beach

Located in Brgy. Zabali, a rugged coastline that characterize waves of the Pacific Ocean. The place is indeed worth visiting. Diguisit Bay features pointed sea stones against shallow water. You can pick pieces of corals that are just anywhere in the area. Sea stone heaps are just a few meters from shore. 

the stony bay of Diguisit beach 

locals picking corals
Museo de Baler


If you want to go back to the timeline of history, it won’t hurt to pay a visit at Museo de Baler. This is just near the city center; you can either walk or take a tricycle (Php13.00) to take you here.

the former President Manuel Quezon; a native of Aurora

The 1937 Cadillac series 90V 16
(especially built by General motors for President Manuel L. Quezon)
facade of the museum with its intricate wall carvings
Cunayan Falls

This beautiful falls is located roughly 30 minutes away from ‘poblacion’ (city proper) passing though a dirt road to Brgy. Real San Luis.


Basic and Necessary Information – Projected EXPENSES!

Fare from Manila to Baler -- Php500 (one way)

Transient (Bay’s Inn)       -- Php700 (per night non-air conditioned room)       
Cunayan Falls Entrance    -- Php40/Php150   (two gates/cottages)
Museo de Baler               -- by donation
Surfing                          -- Php350 (one hour lesson – board and instructor)
                                    -- Php150 (surf board only)                                     
Tricycle rental (tours)      -- Php400 - Php500
Foods                            -- (there are ‘carenderias’ and restaurants in the area)

10 comments:

  1. Hi!.. im so grateful i found ur blog...
    I am inspired by ur itinerary to baler!..

    Planning on doing a solo trip any time soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. hi Darren, it's great to know that you were inspired by my Baler blog. Thank you!

    Enjoy your trip, if there's anything I can help just let me know ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Im actually confused as to puerto gallera or baler this weekend.
    but im more on surfing in baler than diving in p.galera..
    il think about it though.
    If i may ask u, which would u prefer?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Baler is not as accessible as P. Galera, since your plan is for the long weekend Baler is a good choice however it's not surfing season there now and the waves are smaller.

    Diving in Galera is also a good choice, but if diving is your primary reason in going to Galera I think Anilao is better. You got PADI already? Lemme know, I got a contact that offers inexpensive rates for diving :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. just read this entry and my first time to visit your blog too, thanks for this entry... im going to baler tomorrow and i can't wait! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck! Have fun and be safe :)
      If you have more time visit the 600 year old Balete tree (http://www.tamanggala.com/2011/03/600-yeor-old-balete-tree.html) or the Ditumabo Falls also known as the Mother Falls (http://www.tamanggala.com/2011/03/fairy-party-at-ditumabo-falls.html)

      Delete
  6. Nice basic and necessary information. I could use that information in the future. GOD Bless!!!

    ReplyDelete

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I wish you luck and happiness. Keep on travelling, find your happy place. :)