Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. – Drake
Have you watched the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now? (I wasn’t even born then, hahaha. But I did watch it on DVD)… I asked because a piece of the movie was shot in the Philippines. Some scenes were actually filmed in Baler, a second-class municipality in Aurora Province. It is one of the Philippines ‘prime surfing spot. It is host to stunning geographic formations and is situated on an immense plain at the south end of Baler Bay which is an adjacent segment of the Pacific Ocean.
The once quaint town is now one of the Philippines top destinations. Visitors flock their way to Baler to experience the sea, the sand, the sun, and of course – surfing!
HOW TO REACH BALER?
The most common way to reach Baler is by way of riding a bus. The Genesis Transport Terminal located in Cubao offers a bus directly bound for Baler. One may choose between the Joy Bus (a deluxe, non-stop bus) and the regular aircon bus.
Joy Bus: Schedule: 12MN and 4:30AM; The travel time is about 4 hrs and 30 minutes. Cost is Php690.00. Reservations may be done.
Regular Aircon Bus: Schedule: 1AM, 2AM, 4:30AM, 5:30AM, 6:30AM and 7:30AM; the travel time is around 6 hours. Cost is around Php450.00
As an alternative, one may take their buses going to Casiguran (a northern town of Aurora). Schedule: 1AM and 3AM
If and if buses plying to Baler are full, or if you want to do a day trip – you may take a bus going to Cabanatuan then ride a van/bus to Baler, Aurora. Travel time from Cubao to Cabanatuan is around 3 hours. Cost of fare is around Php190 (one-way).
The following buses are Cabanatuan bound:
- ES Transport – Schedule: 24 hours available
- Five Star Bus- Schedule: 24 hours available
- Baliwag Transit – 1st trip is at 2AM
Once in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija ride a bus bound for Casiguran, Aurora that will drop by Baler: D-Liner Buses are non-air-conditioned buses.
Schedule: 2AM, 5AM and 7AM; this schedules are quite uncertain as it may be dependent on the volume of passengers.
Fare to Baler: Php180/person/one-way; Travel Time to Baler is 4 hours
Another means of transportation from Cabanatuan to Baler is riding a Van: These vans in Cabanatuan are available 24 hours. You’ll see them lined up at Cabanatuan Central Terminal. Fare: Php220/person/one-way; the travel time is around 4 hours.
Once in Baler, take a tricycle to your destination of choice/s:
WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO SEE?
1. History Trail & Eco Strip
Price: Php500/Tricycle – halfday
Max no. of pax per tricycle: 3 pax
Places to visit: History Trail (Baler Church, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon, Museo de Baler and Quezon Park) and Eco Strip (Ermita Hill, Diguisit Beach and Añao Islet)
*** You can visit Dicasalarin and PAGASA weather station but you have to walk up a steep hill for about 30 minutes for PAGASA weather station and another 30 minutes for Dicasalarin. You may also hop on a habal-habal(single motorcycle and pay 150 per person/way).
One may also visit other towns of Aurora that are in close proximity to Baler. This includes Dipaculao (Ampere and Dinadiawan Beaches); Maria Aurora (for its Millenium Tree); and San Luis for its waterfalls like Ditumabo and Caunayan).
2. History Trail, Eco Strip, Ditumabo Falls & Balete Tree
Price: Php800/Tricycle – wholeday
Max no. of pax per tricycle: 3 pax
Places to visit: History trail (Baler church, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon, Museo de Baler and Quezon Park) and Eco Strip (Ermita Hill, Diguisit Beach and Añao Islet) Ditumabo falls and Balete Tree.
Note: To reach the falls, one will have to trek for about 30-45 minutes .
3. Ampere Beach (for sunrise viewing), Dipaculao (if you wish to go to Dinadiawan Beach, it may cost higher since it is farther than Ampere) Price: Php300/Tricycle; Max no. of pax per tricycle: 3 pax
- Surfing in Baler: If your resort is not within Sabang (the surfing spot in Baler), you can ride a tricycle. From town center to Sabang, fare is Php 15/person. Once in Sabang, a lot of the resorts offer surf lessons. Surfing fee is usually Php350.00/hour/person. It goes with a surf instructor.
Aliya Surf & Dive Resort – 0929-758-6005
Amihan Aplaya Lodge – 0918-693-5904 / 0918-632-8566
AMCO Beach Resort – 0921-411-7671; (044) 552-4209
Bahia de Baler Garden Resort & Restaurant I – 0908-732-0672
Bahia de Baler II – 0908-732-0672
Bay’s Inn – 0918-926-6697, 0908-982-3509
Bay-Ler View Hotel – 0927-366-8735 / 0919-286-3105
Cocohut Lodge – (042) 209 4341
Costa Pacifica – 0917-844-8371
Desiree’s Lodge & Transient House – 0920-480-0978 / 0921-751-8490
DSB Lodge – 0919-235-2435
Isla Virginia Resort – 0920-755-0467
Jamjem’s – 0921-598-3588 / 0916-200-1731
Kahea’s Lodge – 0915-748-0759
Kamagong Lodge – (42) 209-4301/0920-911-1413
Little Girl’s Surfer Lodge – 0927-395-5689
Mel-Nest Lodge – 0920-632-3043
MM Lodge – 0919-537-9405
Pacific Waves – 0917-8950-276
Sea Breeze Lodge – 0908-207-5364 / 0938-539-7344
Smart Beach House – 0928-507-6551
Surfer’s Inn – 0920-591-4962
Trezzo Inn – 0929-822-1992 / 0916-255-6025
|Homestay in Sabang, Baler:
Edith S. Buluag (Homestay) – 0921-751-8490 / 0920-480-0928
June B. Samano (Homestay) – 0939-500-0803
Lanie Downing (Homestay) – 0919-458-6657
Margery Paug (Homestay) – 0939-356-7025
Tony Sinsay (Homestay) – 0920-275-9116 / 0921-450-3282
Other Accommodations in Baler (Outside Sabang area):
Azbahaen Leisure Farm and Resort – 0912-208-3588 / 0918-917-7784
Carlito’s Inn – 0908-872-0816
Dela Torre Beach Resort – 0920-509-6849 / 0949-608-7053
Eltrophine Lodge – 0919-373-7575
Kristines Villa Haus – 0928-242-6286
Moreno Lodge & Restaurant – 0918-451-4124 / 0928-505-9354
RAS Garden and Restaurant – 0918-539-3870
Sanchez Inn – 0920-812-9998
XTJR Traveller’s Inn – 0919-950-8554 / 0908-712-0883/0919-879-7447
***It is best to make reservations as the number of visitors can sometimes be unpredictable specially during the summer season.