Exquisite Baler (Aurora, PH)

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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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Based on the Local Tourism of Aurora, these are the places one can visit together with the standard prices for the tricycle tours:

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).

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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).

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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 .

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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

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  1. 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.

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BALER ACCOMMODATION:

Within Sabang:

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.

 

Ampere Stone Beach (Dipaculao, Aurora. PH)

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”  ― Jo Walton

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Dipaculao – a coastal town about 20 kilometers north of the surfing town of Baler in Aurora.  A town dotted with some rocky beaches, others white sandy ones to serrated mountains and smooth boulders.

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One particular beach visited very early in the morning is the stony Ampere Beach located at Bunga Point, Dinadiawan, Dipaculao. A beach known for its spectacular sunrise and some toothed rocks sticking out of the waters. Being the nearest place of interest to Baler, we decided to wake up pretty early and made our way to see the sunrise.

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The tricycle ride to Dipaculao from Sabang Beach (where we stayed) in Baler was fresh and blowy. The sun was about to rouse up as we approach the coast of Ampere. The horizon started to blush as a tinge of orange hue starts to peep. Upon getting out of our tryke, we were greeted by the sight of raging waves splattering into the rocky shore, and the smell of the ocean breeze.

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We tried to walk our way towards the beach that is lined with fist-sized rocks that poses some difficulty. Unlike most beaches where one would be easily lured to swim into the water, it’s quite different here since the waters can be pretty treacherous.
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Each one of us took our own spot snooping into the Pacific Ocean’s waves, as we unwearyingly waited for the sunrise. Although it was quite cloudy, the sun’s glow through the ostensibly infinite horizon of the Pacific Ocean was spectacular. I just love how sunrise (and sunset) makes me feel good.

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How To Go To Ampere Beach: From Baler town proper, take a tricycle to Ampere Point/Bunga Point. The travel time is around one hour. Best time to go is before sunrise.

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