Besides being known as the capital of Aurora Province, I could only attribute one word as to how the entire Baler experience would enthrall you– exhilarating. Baler is actually located on the northern part of Quezon Province and the eastern seaboard of Luzon. It lies majestically along the Sierra Madre and the Caraballo mountain ranges. Baler is not only just about surfing, one of the activities it is most famous for. There are lots of places where one can commune with nature, and the feeling of being this close to nature would make you come back for it again and again!
Actually, Baler surprised the best in Pao and I as we did not quite expect that we will love our experience in one of Luzon’s best kept secrets up north. Yes, we were really happy and have nothing but high praises as to how remarkable our weekend trip was!
We thought that all there is to Baler was its beach with awesome waves and swells perfect for surfing hence its popularity to surfing enthusiasts—the primary reason why we wanted to see it. What we did not know was that Baler offered pristine natural wonders made even better because of the touch of history in it!
Getting Around Baler
Since we always just travel as a couple, the convenience is immediately taken into consideration as most of the expenses are always split into two. Besides that, we have developed our own travel dynamics which makes us very efficient in covering almost all destinations given the very small amount of time.
The best way of traveling around in Baler (in the absence of a private car, especially if you’re traveling in small groups) is to hire a tricycle. Besides being hired at your convenience for the entire day, it is also very cheap! A tricycle could basically accommodate up to three persons traveling together!
1. The Ancient Balete Tree
Filipinos would normally attribute the Balete Tree to something paranormal, where in the depths of this humongous tree lives an enchanting giant smoking tobacco, as portrayed by Filipino folklore called Kapre. But knowing our thirst for adventure, Pao and I wouldn’t let the experience pass just because of mythical folklore surrounding the ancient tree. We knew we just had to experience the tree because it’s not just an ordinary tree. The ancient Balete Tree, in its surreal 600-year old glory and magnificence, took our breath away! Big would be an understatement and its life may be measured with its countless number of roots making it even more beautiful. We were practically interlocked among its roots!
2. Ditumabo Falls (Mother Falls) and Diguisit Falls
Yes, lately, I’ve noticed that Pao and I have been chasing waterfalls too much! We failed to cross the Mother Falls up to its highest point due to the strong current and broken bridge brought about by the heavy rains that ravaged the Aurora province days prior our visit. But Diguisit Falls, the smaller falls, was still exquisite nevertheless.
3. Ermita Hill
Ermita Hill honors the family who survived the tsunami in the 1700s which also gives a perfect top view as to how beautiful Baler is. A huge tsunami washed away the entire town of Baler back in December 1735. It almost wiped out the entire town, as the tsunami devoured thousands of lives, except for 7 families who found their way on top of Ermita Hill to seek survival thereby saving themselves from the wrath of the tsunami. These statues, located at the bottom of the hill, honor the families who survived.
This is also the takeoff point to get to the awesome view deck where one can see the spectacular aerial view of Baler. With a view like this, would it even need words?
4. Lukso-lukso Islets
Perhaps this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. The rock formations surrounding the beach and the view of its vivid blue waters were just an amazing sight to behold! Not only was it visually appealing, it was also physically and emotionally fulfilling. It got its name particularly because of the movement one makes in order to move around the rocks.
“Lukso” basically means to skip or to hop around to get to a particular location. And the place is called such because of the three islets near the beach which seems like you could skip on each. It was such a beautiful sight to behold and yes, it was too beautiful for words.
5. Aurora Quezon’s House
The province wouldn’t be bearing it’s name if it weren’t for its namesake, Aurora Quezon, the wife of the late Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon. Aurora Quezon is the Philippines’ second First Lady. Her house is actually open to the public.
There is really nothing super extraordinary to see upon getting inside but it’s always good to appreciate the interiors and exteriors as it will behold you with its very Filipino aesthetic design material like nipa, wood and stilts. Rustic feel at its finest. At present, we wont anymore see houses like this in Manila, so taking a visit in this house would truly be a breather.
But because most of the objects found inside the house were really previously owned by the Quezon family, all of those objects are indeed considered historical artifacts. Perhaps what I liked the most is the presidential car owned by President Manuel Quezon.
6. Museo de Baler
It’s amazing that a town as small as Baler, is able to contain a storehouse for all its historical keepsakes and mementos from the past. I’ve always loved museums, and it was surprising that Baler had a very good way of keeping their memories alive through their beautiful exhibit!
7. Sabang Beach Surfing
On top of all the beautiful destinations we managed to visit in Baler, of course, we would not simply let surfing in Baler just pass!
Baler is known for its awesome swells and perfect waves for surfing, and I’m not surprised that Baler would always be a popular surf destination to surf enthusiasts.
I may not be a professional surfer, but Baler definitely did touch me in more ways than one! I may have loved surfing here in Baler than in La Union.
Its waves and swells were perfect, despite Baler’s unpredictable weather because of its geographical location, making it extremely vulnerable to typhoons especially during the monsoon season. Plus, surf instructors from the “Surf Shop” were indeed very good and very accommodating too!
7. Bahia de Baler Experience
And yes, perhaps the icing to the cake would be our superb accommodation. If you have extra bucks to spare, for the added comfort and ambiance for an indeed relaxing stay in Baler, I must recommend that Bahia de Baler Garden Resort I. Let the pictures do the talking! 🙂 It was more than what we expected, and service we did not quite expect to get in Baler.
And yes, Baler, we shall be back! ♥
How to get there:
Probably the MOST convenient way to get to Baler via public transport is indeed the JOYBUS. It’s not called Joybus for nothing.It is the executive class bus offered by Genesis Bus Transport, and they are the only bus company offering direct trips to Baler. Traveling to Baler has never been this convenient as the coach bus resembles airplane seating with lots of legroom for added convenience due to long travel time. To add to that, there are no stop-overs, and guests are given complimentary snacks, a morning kit, and they have a bus stewardess to attend to the needs of the passengers. How amazing is that? But, they only have 2 trips, so be mindful of advanced booking or buying tickets early!
Genesis Transport Joy Bus has their terminal in Cubao and the tickets cost 650 per way which would take you directly to Baler 🙂