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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Baler Tour & Surfing » Exciting Destination for Your Next Weekend Getaway

Awesome waves suitable for surfing at Baler, Aurora Quezon Philippines
Let's face it, you deserve a vacation. You really do. You worked so hard that stress is already consuming your life - you should spend a few days of fun filled and memorable quick getaway.

Vacation days are limited and to give you some inspiration for your next quick get away with your friends or family, let me share here our two-day memorable trip to Baler. 

While there are literally hundreds of travel destinations in the Philippines, Baler definitely offers exciting vacation no matter what kind of vacation you seek — active, relaxing or historical. 


Getting There

We left Cubao around midnight that Friday and arrived at the municipality of Maria Aurora in the wee hours of Saturday morning. We need to sleep because we traveled directly after work so we decided to take the Genesis JoyBus Executive Coach. 

Genesis Bust Transport has the only direct route from Manila to Baler, Aurora. It was my first time riding a bus executive coach and I must say it was very comfortable especially for a 5-6 hours land travel. Take note, it has a bus stewardess, an onboard comfort room, spacious seats, blanket, courtesy bottled water and a cupcake. It was very convenient if you don’t want to take your car.

Since we are a large group, we arranged two vans to pick us up at the bus station and for us to conveniently get around Baler. 

Beyond surfing - Historical and Countryside Tour
Famous souvenir photo spot for tourists in Baler Aurora tour
Baler, Aurora town marker. The monument at the back is dedicated to the people of Baler on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of Baler's township

Baler is a quaint, laid-back town thus we had hard time finding a restaurant to eat breakfast because we arrived at 5:00 am which was a bit early and most shops and restaurants are still close. Good thing our friendly driver suggested the Bay’s Inn eat-all-you-can breakfast buffet. The restaurant is perfectly overlooking the Sabang beachfront and we had a charming breakfast while enjoying sunrise view from the beach.    
    
After breakfast we immediately started our historical and countryside tour. Baler attracts vacationers and surfers who are in the hunt for some action filled fun at the beach. But it must be noted that surfing is not just the attraction in Baler. 


Here are the interesting sites we visited on our one-day country-side tour:


Scenic view from the top of Ermita Hill
View on top of Ermita Hill with scenic view of Casiguran Bay and Sabang Beach


Sculpture of Baler's people going up Ermita hill escaping the tsunami
Sculpture at the foot of Ermita Hill depicting Baler's townfolks escaping the tsunami. 

Ermita Hill – Our first stop is the historical Ermita Hill where we had a good view of Casiguran Bay, Sabang Beach and the nearby islets. Our driver-cum-tour-guide told us that in 1735, a tsunami hit and engulf the entire town of Baler and this hill is where the few families who survived that catastrophe fled for safety. At the foot of Ermita hill stands a sculpture depicting fathers, mothers and children clambering up on the hill to escape the rampaging waves.  


Amazing rock formations and islets in Baler Aurora
Baler Roadtrip - View of Aniao islets along the highway

Aniao Islets – This is a nice quick stop along the highway, a scenic beach littered with rock formations perfect for a quick photo-op.


Lovely traditional Filipino house or bahay kubo of the late Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon
Doña Aurora Aragon's typical Filipino house located just in front of Baler Church


Room where old book collections are on display at Dona Aurora house in Baler Quezon
A room where old books and memorabilia are displayed inside Doña Aurora's house. 

Doña Aurora Aragon’s House – this house was re-built in honor of the wife of the late Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon. Also on display is the restored 1937 Chrysler limousine—Quezon’s official car.  


Rebuilt historical Baler Church located at main plaza.
Baler (San Luis Obispo de Tolosa) church. The church is the only stone building during "The Siege of Baler" - a battle of the Philippine Revolution and concurrently the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. Filipino revolutionaries laid siege to a fortified church manned by colonial Spanish troops in the town of Baler, Philippines for 11 months, or 337 days

Baler Church – Although this church is not as grand as the old churches in Bohol, it is historically famous. This was the last Spanish stronghold in the Philippines which is now called the “Siege of Baler.” 


Monument of President Manuel L. Quezon in front of Baler museum
Local museum, Museo de Baler, houses several historical artifacts that link it closely to the Philippines’ first and longest colonizer, Spain. The museum contains pieces that are significant to the town’s history


Photo ops inside Baler museum with cool Eastgate backpackers
We love Baler! Of course best visited together with your cool travel buddies

Quezon Memorial Park & Museo de Baler –  It is situated at the heart of the town where the house of the Quezon’s once stood. A museum is also located at the park showing pictures of the past events during the American, Spanish and Japanese period depicting the history and culture of Aurorans, scenic spots and ethnic tribes of the province. 



Called the Millenium Tree of the Philippines - a 600 year old tree in Baler Aurora
This tree in Barangay Quirino, Ma. Aurora is claimed to be the largest Banyan tree in Asia. Locally known as Balete tree, it is estimated to be about 600+ years old. The ground that its roots occupy is about 10 to 15 meters in diameter and it is possible for adult people to squeeze into the center of its root network. The tree is about 60 meters tall.

Balete Tree “Millennium Tree of the Philippines” – I especially enjoyed our visit to this 600-year-old balete tree. It is considered the largest tree of its kind in Asia and would take 60 grown men, holding one another at arm's length, to encircle its gigantic trunk. It was really very huge and the most interesting part aside from climbing its eerie trunk to take selfies is that you can actually go inside the tree.   



Ditumabo waterfalls, called the Mother Falls, is the grandest falls located in Baler Aurora.
DITUMABO Falls located in Barangay Ditumabo, San Luis, Aurora - Enchanting waterfalls to behold and certainly worth the visit. It towers more than a hundred feet above a wide basin and imposing cliffs on both sides hem the falls itself.

Ditumabo Falls – They call it “Mother Falls” because it is the grandest of all the waterfalls located in the vicinity. However, there’s a small challenge in getting there because you need to take a trek for approximately an hour to get there. But don’t mind the trek because swimming at the ice-cold waterfalls is really refreshing. 



Let’s go surfing!


Awesome waves in Baler perfect for surfing
Stoked to surf! Ready to ride the waves.

It was a bit late when we finished our historical and countryside tour so we immediately head back to our hotel to a least try and learn how to surf even for just an hour. 


Visitors getting one on one surfing lessons before hitting the waves.
Baler Surfing - Before hitting the waves, a one-on-one surfing lesson is a must for newbies.
There’s a chance we cannot do surfing the following day due to upcoming typhoon so I immediately head to the beach to have my surfing lesson even if it was already sundown. I told myself there’s no point in going to Baler without experiencing surfing. 


Surfer trying to stand at the surf board and ride the waves
You cannot stop me from enjoying the waves, even if it's already sundown. 

The following day, the waves were a lot bigger and rain was already pouring but this doesn’t stop some of us from enjoying the beach and continue our surfing adventure.  The experience was exhausting but definitely fun and memorable. 


Eastgate backpackers showing off their winner shot.
Eastgate Backpackers & guests - "Feeling winner" shot.

The waves of Sabang Beach definitely worth the visit to Baler, but Aurora’s rich cultural and historical heritage are equally exciting reasons for you to consider Baler as your next vacation destination.








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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry, and cliff jumping can make him high,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a self-certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan hiker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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