> Nomadic at Puso: Baler, Aurora

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Baler, Aurora

Discovering the Simple and Peaceful town of Baler
One fine weekend, my friend and new found friends decided to go a place called Baler.
This place became famous because of its huge waves which is good for sea surfing.

Enjoy Reading. 

This blog post is more on the experience we had than being a guide to those people who wants to go here. Haha. Just to remind you in advance.

Genesis Transport

The date is March 14, 2014 for the Day 0.
We met at the Genesis Transport Bus terminal at 9 p.m.
According to our sources, there is no reservation for the regular bus. You must go at the terminal personally to ask from the guard a “number” which is handwritten on a piece of number and that would be your reserve slot.
Take note, you can’t walk out of the terminal because someone may took your slot (chance passenger it is, hehe.)

Second to the last trip is 10 p.m. and last trip is 11 p.m.
The first trip for the following day would be 3 a.m. We got a “reservation” slots for the last trip but then a big thanks to my friend, Rhozie because we had the chance to ride on the 10 p.m. bus.
How? Just ask her. Hehe.

FYI, there’s also a Joy Bus that you can ride. This is much cozier but then you’ll be comfortable during the trip, there’s a portalet and travel time would only be less than five hours.

Not unlike riding on a regular air-conditioned bus where in I slept like a fetus, sometimes like a worm or whatever.

After six hours of not so good sleep while travelling, hello Baler!
Welcome to us!

The Lodge/ Homestay
We reached Baler at 5 a.m. and it feels like we were in Baguio because of the cold weather there. We took a tricycle and brought us to the lodge where we will stay.
Thank you Ms. Thess Cunanan for accommodating us! Here’s her number if you want to visit Baler and there’s no place to stay.  (+63) 0999-9926355
While this is the number of her daughter who posted on FB about their place to stay;  (+63)09157910612  ,
Hello there, Miss Tala Cunanan! :)

Breakfast / Where to Eat
At six a.m., we took our breakfast on what they used to call as rolling stores.
Good thing about these rolling stores is that they are just beside Museo De Baler and near to other tourist spots at Baler.
So we had the chance to take a sneak peak on some of these places like Museo De Baler, Quezon Park, Dona Aragon House, Baler Church and Baler Municipal Hall.

The Tour Around Baler
Ms. Thess Cunanan is also offering a travel  tour around Baler. Since we were four in the group, we took their Picanto Car as our vehicle.
They also have vans and tricycles.

As per them, tricycle fee costs Php. 800.00 for the whole day.
Van is Php. 2, 500.00
And their car is Php. 1,500.00

Being budget wise, I much preferred the tricycle one but then my companions want the car.
I agree to them with this subdivision of fee:
I will pay 300
Rhozie will also pay 300
Myra will pay 400
And Kaye will pay 500.
So, okay. Deal!

Our Service . The Driver cum Tour Guide
He’s kuya that we haven’t got the chance to know his name.
He became our driver, our tourist guide and our photographer. All in one, huh.
Anyway, he’s a nephew of Ms. Thess.
He thought that we were only college students. Thanks for the compliment, Kuya (Big Brother)!
As per our conversation, he’s a Marketing graduate (like me. Ehem.) He tried to apply in Manila but then he finally decided to stay at Baler.
While touring, he told us some facts about Baler. Kuya Kim?

ASCOT stands for Aurora State College of Technology. I think, this is their UP here at Aurora Province.
And this is our first stop.
We were quiet amaze by this school since it is located just at the foot of a mountain and when you look further, you will see that there’s a building located on a higher heel.

Ermita Hill
There is no registration fee on going here. Just registration of your name only.
As we reached the top, there we saw the very beautiful scenic view of Baler Bay. And we just love it so much!
Visitors can also take a picnic here since there are picnic huts around the area.

The Big White Cross
Yes, we climbed it. It’s tiring but yet fulfilling. You will reach the big white cross then when you finish climbing that very loonnnngggg stairs.
I suggest that maintenance of cleanliness is a must here. There are too many dried leaves, twigs and other trashes as we go up.

The Tromba Marina
Just below Ermita Hill is the statue of seven people who according to our historian slash tour guide, there are the people who surpassed or survived that big tidal wave that hit Baler way back December 1735. And these seven people with each different surname served as the ancestors of the modern people here in Baler. Their surnames are quiet popular or common here. Just like Angara. Sounds familiar right?

Baler Fish Port
Kuya didn’t elaborate this place.
All he said that this place has a nice view and very good for picture taking which I think he’s really right!

Mt. Carmel Shrine
Just across the street of Baler Fish Port is this Mt. Carmel Shrine. I guess, she is the patron saint here.

Diguisit Falls
They (means not including me) trek that not so high mountain side to reach that not so big falls.
I didn’t trek because I’m an accident prone queen when it comes to going down a steep hill especially when it’s muddy. Learn from my past experiences though. Hahaha! (See my Puerto Galera and Baguio Travel posts.)

Diguisit Islets/ Baler Rock Formations
And this place I fell in loved the most.  We were lucky enough because it was still on low tide when we got here so we had the chance to step down on the islets that according again to Kuya, this place were filled with seawater up to our waist or even higher when it’s high tide.
Hello there starfishes and little fishes that swim on the shallow water!

Lunch at the Ihaw-ihaw resto
It was already lunch time and we were starving so we went back to Poblacion (means Bayan or the Urban side) to have our lunch.
We ate on a Ihaw-ihaw resto.

Roasted Squid and Roasted Pork is love!

Balete Tree at Maria Aurora
After our mouthwatering lunch, we went outside Baler, Aurora.

Our destination is the Balete Tree located at Maria Aurora, Aurora which is 10 kilometers from Baler.
This Balete Tree became famous because as per them, this a Centennial old tree plus its extraordinary size and its hollow place inside it where in we can actually enter.

Wait. There’s an entrance fee here which is Php. 10 pesos per person. This is for the maintenance (daw) of the place. I heard that this place grew up on a private own land. Maybe that’s why there has a fee here.
Personnel here are quiet entertaining to all the tourists. Aside from assisting us inside the Balete Tree, they even have their “camera trick shots” being offered for free. Future photographer wannabes. Which later we found out that it was just Panorama. Haha. They are also funny and kind. So I think, entrance fee is worth the pay.

Back to Poblacion

Baler Church
This time, we had the chance to enter the church. We offered a prayer and toured around inside.

Museo De Baler
We also entered this place and upon entry, they were asking for donations only for the maintenance of the place.
This museum has a bird’s eye view 3d map of Baler Aurora, some artifacts, paintings and of course some illustrations of the history of Baler.

Dona Aragon House
Just across the Museo De Baler is the House of Dona Aragon. And it’s now also a museum.
Dona Aragon was the wife of former President Manuel Quezon.
Their home is pretty nice with some artifacts and old furniture inside it.
It feels like you are living on their era. Like time travelling. Hehe.
Donation is also for accepting here.

Souvenir Shop/ Pasalubong Buying
Of course, this shouldn’t be out of the list.

Alam na! (You already know it!) We’re Filipino, right?

Baler’s Hanging Bridge
The hanging bridge is located at Barangay Zabali, Baler Aurora.
Actually, this is not considered as a tourist spot but a general usage of locals here. 
Even though it is, we took a time to go here and we weren’t disappointed.  The scenic view  is awesome, as in totally wonderful!
With the river below and mountain on the other side, adventure it is! As the bridge sways when the strong wind blows and when other people is passing, if it’s your first time (like us) crossing it, it feels like your gonna fall anytime.
Kaye was a bit scared. Hehe.
And so am I. But then as I watched the kids playing around, running up to the middle of the bridge then jump off to the river, I envy them that I also wanted to try it! Haha.

Sabang Beach
Just very good timing, the sun is already settling down. And it’s time for a good swim though!
We had a great time playing with those huge waves. And the experience is priceless.

Back to Lodge
At past six p.m. we were back to our lodge.
After cleaning ourselves and fixing our things, we all took a short nap. It is very explainable since it has been a very tiring yet enjoyable long day for us.

At nine p.m., I woke them up for our dinner. We ate again at one of the restaurants there.

Then back to lodge for a good night sleep.

Day 2
Good morning world!
Rhozie woke us up at 7 a.m. because we’re gonna hear a mass in Baler Church at 8 a.m.

Baler Church Mass vs Victory Fort
We reached Baler Church just in time. The mass is about to begin.
I can’t stop myself from comparing the mass or rather the homily to the Christian Fellowship I am attending at Every Nation Victory Fort.
As the priest is speaking, there were also pictures flashing on th LCD screens and the homily of the priest I think it is already written and he was just reading it.

Anyway, it’s a bit nice because people will not get bored listening to Father.

We had our breakfast on the same restaurant that we had our dinner last night.

Pasalubong Buying Part 2
I just can’t stop our self from buying again. Hohoho!

Leaving Baler
At 11 a.m., we were already at the Bus  Terminal ready to go home.

Baler is a peaceful and wonderful place so take time to visit this. Aside from that, if you are a budget conscious traveler like me, Baler would be just fine.

I will post later on the budget and itinerary that we had.

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