Breaking News

Baler Tour | Discovering Baler Aurora

This writer had a chance to visit Baler, Aurora and was mesmerized by the place.  Situated at the eastern seaboard of Luzon, facing the Pacific Ocean, it boasts of huge waves during the first part of the year.  These waves bring surfers from all over the world during these times.

Getting There
From Cubao, there are only two bus companies plying this route and its Genesis Transport and Joy Bus Lines (They are sister companies by the way).  Genesis is their average airconditioned buses while Joy is their deluxe service buses.  Genesis Fare is P450 while Joy Fares are P650 and P730.  To know the difference between the two services, click here for related article - Joy Bus Line.

Bus Schedules
From Cubao to Baler                                                       
Genesis (*)  3:00am, 4:00am, 5:00am, 6:00am, 7:00am    
Joy Bus 12:30am, 1:30am, 2:30am            

From Baler to Cubao
Genesis 5:30am, 7:30am, 9:30am
Joy Bus 12:00nn, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm
* If peak day or season, they open up new schedules starting midnight.  Get your seat allocations 4:00pm prior. Regular days, simply go there before the scheduled departure.
** For weekends and holiday seasons, better to book tickets early.

You may also reach Baler via Cabanatuan using Aurora Bus Lines.  Another alternative is to take a Van to and from Cabanatuan.  Van costs P220 locals say.

Tourist destinations
Unknown to many, surfing is not the only attraction Baler offers.  To enhance the tourist experience, better get a certified guide (Baler accredited tourist guides - they have an ID the size of a hand towel) for a good price of P800 whole day.  This guided tour price is good for three people and will include 8 locations.  You may negotiate if you plan to use own vehicle, and you will be treated with additional sites worth seeing.  Just remember this tour is for a day so take time in each locations you visit like taking longer dips in beaches and treks.  There following sites was the tour given to me by my guide.

1. Ermita Hills

Ermita Hills was the location where six  families fled to survive the tsunami that hit the area in 1735.  The families where the Angaras, Bijasas, Bitongs, Lumasacs, Carrascos and the Pobletes.

2.  Troma Marina

 As mentioned above, this is the monument that signified the families fleeing the tsunami.  This is located at the foot of the Ermita Hills.

3.  Diguisit Falls

 A few meters from the Troma Marina monument is this falls.  Located along the road, its surprising that this falls is just located where its at.  Looking magnificent as it is, you have to climb a little bit further up to see where the falls starts spewing water.  As my guide pointed out, if you go further up, you can take a dip at a pool located at the water drop.  As I was not ready to take a dip yet, we proceeded to the next location.

4.  Diguisit Beach

With my prior research I thought this was a public beach and was very far from the town proper.  Only one was true, it was very far. This is a private resort and you have to pay a P20 entrance fee per person.  You may then take a dip and stroll around this beach so take time here.  Should you use their cottages, you will have to pay extra.  This writer opted to stroll and take pictures instead.  For more on this click here - Diguisit Beach.

5.  Hanging Bridge

Coming back from Diguisit Beach, you will notice a lot of marshlands and one big river.  To bridge one barangay, they built this hanging bridge.  Students from a nearby college uses this bridge.  Also, you may start buying souvenirs at the foot of this bridge, they are a lot in this area.

6.  Balete Tree

The tree is a century old they say and funny thing, this is the only Balete Tree in this area.  Maybe there are others but this one is obviously the lone one in the middle.  Entrance to this place is P15 per person.  There are a lot of food stuffs here so better stock up on your pasalubongs.

Tip - have your pictures taken by children in the area, they are very good photographers especially with camera phones.  you will be surprised as to how they will set your images and videos.  Just give them tokens of cash.  Another tip, theres an entrance to the side of the tree that goes through the insides and out the other end.  You might want to try it out as well.

7.  Mother Falls

Mother falls is located near the end of the Sierra Madre mountain range (that starts from Rizal province).  Its a very magnificent looking and you may take a dip in its cool waters.  It takes 30minutes to reach via a trail that will entail you walking on rocks, walking on makeshift bridges, and wading in raging river.  The trail is easy for beginners and a great experience as well.  There are two falls herein, the other one is called Shower Falls as this is just a small one that you happen to passby along the way.

On your way back, just hope that the zip lines are operational, you may want to do it to escape walking back down (Costs P200 they say - by the way, this cost is already good for two zip lines in the area).

Warning - theres a mandatory guide to take you up there for P200 for a group of 10 (although you wont need it to be honest but hey, you are helping the barangay).  Also theres a P30 DENR entrance fee.

TIP - if you have electronics with you, bring a dry bag or a big plastic bag and also bring a set of clothes just in case.  The water in the river sometimes reaches waist level when you cross so better put these, electronics and clothes in the plastic bag.  Also at the falls itself, sometimes the area is full of mist that you might want to keep your cameras and phones tucked away.

8.  Museo De Baler

Museo Baler is in the town proper and entrance to this place is P30.  The fee also includes the trip to the Aurora House at the next corner.  This museum houses some memorabilia and tidbit about the province.  It also houses the film awards won by the film Baler featuring Jericho Rosales and Anne Curtis and directed by Mark Meily.

Sadly the car owned by Manuel L. Quezon which previously was displayed here was transferred to Quezon City.  So I was contented seeing the awards therein.  

9.  Baler Sign

This sign and the monolith behind it stands between the Museo and the Aurora House.  Tourists flock to this sign to have their selfies. Go figure.

TIP - this is free...

10.  Aurora House/ Mansion

A replica of the Quezon residence.  A quaint little house filled with relics of the era including coal heated iron.  Cant say much about this place, except maybe feel nostalgic about the era.

11.  Baler Church

 A small church with rich history is what it signifies.  Having been moved around since the time of the Spanish, this church started off as Nipa and Kawayan, moved to where it stands right now built with masonry.

12. Sabang Beach

This is where the surf lessons are held.  They say that this part of the beach (photo above) is shallow thus best to hold the surfing classes.  Lessons costs P350 (per person for one hour) broken down as follows; P150 goes to the instructor and P200 as board rental.  Experienced surfers still get the services of the instructors not for lessons, but as guides to what they call "secret spots".  These spots are the areas wherein hard core surfers dare to ride the waves.  Seldom do you find these spots mentioned in the social media so guides are essential to catch the big wave so to speak.  Im not a surfer so I forgot to ask how much it costs to hire such a guide.

Other sites worth mentioning which didn't come with my tour package are as follows;

Dicasalarin Cove
This area away from the city can also be part of the tour.  Your guide will ask you beforehand if you like to go to this place as they say the view of the rock formations are splendid.  The only thing he will ask you is if its okay with you to pay the P300 entrance to this place.  This cove is privately owned thus the fee.

Also in the area of Dicasalarin, the Lighthouse is another great segway.  I haven't been here but I googled this and I saw fantastic views.  Hope to see this next time Im up in Baler.

Ampere Beach
Locals say watching the sunrise in Dipaculao is to die for.  Tricycle costs P500 back and forth for three people.  Start travelling at 4am to catch the view.