Thursday, April 5, 2012


included in my 2012 bucket list is to experience surfing in baler, aurora.  it's a big joy that i was able to have this dream come true with my lovely sisters, their boyfriends and my office mate, rice queen. we had the trip planned with the help of gafa tours. i decided to go for a travel agency instead of doing the trip on our own.  besides, i had a good experience with gafa during my sagada adventure.  

baler (capital of aurota)  is a third class municipality in the province of aurora.  it is located northeast of manila and is passable by bus and private vehicles. a lot of people mistake baler as part of the south as it was initially part of the province of quezon until it was made capital of aurora.

i was a little apprehensive to push through with the trip because of the heavy rains during the week.  but since everything is set to go and gafa cleared that there is zero storm to happen, we pushed with the trip.  in my mind i was saying, pursuing this trip because of the kind of weather is added adventure.

we left manila round 1:00 am and took the bulacan, nueva ecija and nueva vizcaya route. it was raining during the entire trip and i did wonder how the rest of the tour would go.  it was also scary passing through a number of landslides.  rice queen was really scared and i just give her a smile every time we see traces of land erosion.

we finally reached our hotel, bayler view around 7:30 am.  it was almost a seven hour trip.  kuya marlon , our driver/tourguide/photographer said that the trip could have been shorter if there was no traffic.  nonetheless, we were just happy to reach baler safe and sound.

the hotel was just along the sabang beach.  giant waves greeted us as we approached the hotel.  it wasn't a huge place but i really loved the atmosphere and the nature that surrounds the place.  we went inside our rooms to prepare for breakfast and for the day's adventure.

our first stop for the day was the museo de baler.  just like other museums, it houses artifacts found in the lands of baler during the pre/spanish times. the artifacts were few but i really loved how the way they captured and presented their native ilongots.  it's always a good experience to visit a place in the Philiipines and get to know first their culture.  it brings you to a deeper appreciation of what our country was and what it is now.

next stop was a visit to the house of the first lady of manuel quezon, the aragon's house.  it wasn't as old as one thinks it is.  i guess the house had been through renovations.  the things inside are not as old like those from rizal's house in calamba but it still tried to show information about life of our first president, manuel quezon.

one thing that i was also looking forward to was the visit to the baler church.  it was of course made more famous because of the movie baler (2008) which starred anne curtis and jericho rosales.  the siege of baler (i admit) is one story in the philippine-spanish history that i admire.  looking with the eyes of a Filipino, the story of spanish soldiers heroically defending baler against filipino forces for 337 days was truly remarkable and speaks much of patriotism.  i believe that like any other soldier, this event captured the loyalty of soldiers to their beloved country. it was a different feeling being able to set my feet on these grounds, the church being a witness to love, patriotism, and courage.

we had  a quick trip to the ermita hill where we got a full view of the entire sabang beach.  it was truly breathtaking.

we were not yet bound for manila but we decided to drop by the pasalubong center for something we can bring home.  like other provinces in the Philippines, baler is also known for its various coconut-made products.  the stores had native products like wallets, hats, purse, and a lot more that were made from coconut palms.  in terms of their delicacies, baler also offers their famous suman.  i am not a suman-fan but when i went to manila, it's one food that excites me.  their native suman (unlike those i usually have in bicol) already has this sweet taste so you won't need anymore sugar for dipping.  it's sold by bundles of 5 and costs 25/bundle.

after the pasalubong center, we decided to have our lunch at kusina de baler.  they were offering lutong-bahay food. it was a perfect way to have lunch in a cold weather.  we had bicol express, bopis, pork fillet, ginisang upo and sisig.  some of us tried their famous papaitan soup.  the place is a great option for those who are looking for lutong-bahay recipes and affordable menus. kusina de baler is located at the heart of downtown baler.

having a wonderful lunch and a cold weather were good invites to a quick snooze.  we all headed back to the hotel and had our siesta.  we got up at 3:00pm and prepared ourselves for the ultimate challenge of all, surfing.  

the weather was still bad and it was freezing cold.  but i guess, no bad weather can stop the visitors of baler not to enjoy the waters and play with the big waves.  we are not a group of swimmers, but the feeling of adventure pulled us to try surfing and just have a blast.
doing the "shaka" sign of Hawai... and trying the waves.. AMAZING BLISS! :)
each of us had our own instructor.  we had a quick lesson on surfing and before we all knew it, we were with with the waves already. sabang beach is perfect for beginners because the water is not too deep but the waves are really big.  it's made even perfect because the water is not very salty so it was really eye-friendly.  that way, beginners will have higher chances of learning fast (i just think so :) ).  i was looking at my group mates and i was really happy that we are all having the time of our lives.  my surfing experience was really one hell of an adventure.  it was love at first encounter with the waves. (big sigh)... really.

 i am also so proud of my sisters, especially lynette who isn't the out-door type.  she also gets cold easily that's why she isn't a fan of cold places.  i was even worried that she won't push through with the activity because of the cold weather.  but probably, because is it was a sisterhood trip, she made her way to trying it for herself.  i rejoiced when i saw her up on her surfboard.  truly, it's an achievement for her.  she even got injured during her early attempts but it didn't stop her from trying again. (big sigh).. i am a proud sister. :)

what's also great is that this trip was a time to bond with my sisters' boyfriends and my office mate, rice queen.  although i have known them for quite a time already, trips have a way of deepening friendships and making it more special.

we had dinner at the hotel because it was too cold to go out and explore downtown.  we had scallions and tuna rice, mixed seafood in oyster sauce, grilled marlin, sinigang and mixed vegetables.  i guess our tired bodies deserved a sumptuous dinner.  after eating, we all headed back to our rooms and sleep. we didn't stay up late.  probably, everyone was tired because of the surfing lessons.  then again, the pain was all worth it.

good morning baler!! we woke up early and had our 7:00am breakfast.  it was really too cold but the cold breeze was at the same time fresh and sweet. i had hotsilog and after a long time of not drinking coffee, i had a few sip of it.  after all, a good morning (as they often say) deserves a good date with a hot coffee.
we were headed to cunayan falls but when we were nearly there, bridge waters did not allow us to get through. kuya marlon said that it was risky for us to proceed as it may affect the car engine and may get us into more trouble.  it was really too bad so we went back to the hotel.  we just watched the surfers and chill out for the rest of the morning.

we wanted to reach manila early so we decided to leave the hotel an hour early from our original schedule. we  went to gerry shans place, a restaurant that serves chinese and seafood.  what better way to enjoy the trip but have a full blast of food too.  we opted for the P150.00 eat-all-you-can (not left over food) offering.  it was one bon appetit experience.  there was more than 14 offering in the menu (yang chow rice, pork adobo, fish fillet, crispy salted squid, papaitan, sinigang, kaldereta, kare-kare, butterd chicken, fried pork chop, grilled liempo, fish with tofu in oyster sauce, kilawin, vegatable salad, pansit bihon, spaghetti, club house, cassava cake, suman, and wateremelon).  bottomless ice tea was also served on the side. it was indeed a festive lunch.  :)

inside the balete tree :) so cool!! 
heading home, we also stopped for the balete park.  the park is also a common visitors' site in the baler.  the balete tree is more than 500 years old.  it was a kinda creepy sight but at the same time interesting.  we went inside the tree and i can't help but imagine the movie peter pan. the tree, huge as it is can really house people inside it.  amazing. :)

as we leave baler, we took pictures at the arch as a sign of our happy experience of the place.  it's an experience that will deserve a place in my 2012 happiness jar.  thank you Lord for this.  :)

hey baler, see you again. :)

baler trip 033112 - 040112 (sat-sun)
posted 040512 thursday

for more pictures of our surfplus baler trip,


  1. nice! just came from sabang beach myself. yung nga lang, sa san jose cam sur! buti hindi lang scenes andun, me historical sites pa. =)))

  2. wow! beautiful baler and happy mya.
    i'm happy that you had a blast with the famous surf adventure, too bad i was unable to join, anyhow i'm looking forward to more adventure travels with you (schedule mo na ahead of time ha :-)
    stay happy. embrace love. fly!
    miss you