My summer was packed with colorful adventures. Another late summer trip last June which was memorable to me was when I traveled to Baler for a team building with Team D. I mentioned in my previous post that I am always game for team buildings because I want to bond with my associates outside work and at the same time be able to travel out of town.
Jhustine and I joined this team building not only because of the awesome company, but also we wanted to try surfing as first timers. For me, this sport looks intimidating but also interesting that we did not let the chance pass. Although it reminds me of my skateboard accident where the movements and stances are similar, I was also eager to learn it despite the lack of experience.
Where to Stay in Baler
There are countless accommodation choices in Baler. We chose the inn that can accommodate a group of 15 people in two rooms. We stayed at Pacific Waves Inn, just a few minutes away from the beach. The rooms have bunk beds ideal for big groups. The beds and bathrooms are just so-so, but at least, it’s just near the surfing spot.
Where to Eat in Baler
As a famous tourist destination, Baler also offers a wide array of dining places. Those restaurants near Sabang beach are somewhat pricey, ranging from Php 200 and above. However, there are plenty of budget restaurants if you will look around.
Near the beach, we tried Baler Surfer Grill, a grill house specializing in grilled fish, pork, beef, and chicken. Although the menu is simple and limited, the meat selections are worth trying. The meat portions are good for two people, but the rice is not.
On the other hand, we had a satisfying brunch in one of the eateries near Baler Museum. Home-style cooking is unbeatable! We had Tortang Talong, Beef Steak, Caldereta, Grilled Squid and Tuna Belly for a hundred bucks or less per meal. Drooling? Unfortunately, I was not able to take photos of it due to extreme hunger.
I’ve also heard that there are lots of “seafood-paluto” restaurants in the area which I am excited to try on my next visit.
Surfing in Baler
Sabang beach is the perfect location for surfing. The long stretch of fine gray sand shoreline makes it distinctively attractive for surfers and travelers.
What is Baler without surfing? Although I was hesitant at first, Jhustine finally convinced me to try it. It was raining hard in Manila that time but we were blessed to have a good weather in Baler. Although there were light drizzles and grey skies, the rain was not that bad to stop us from surfing.
Just walk along the shores of Sabang beach and many will offer surfing lessons. The rate per hour is Php 350 inclusive of one surfing instructor and the use of a surfboard. Before getting into the water, the instructor will teach you the correct positioning of the hands and the feet, and how to maintain your balance while surfing. The board will be attached to either your left or right feet depending on your preference.
During my first few attempts, I always fell from the board even if I haven’t passed the waves yet. There were bumps and bruises and my trainer would always cheer me after falling. But when I finally learned to control my balance and when to shift my body from lying to standing on the board — it was an absolutely great feeling! You just want to stand up for revenge and keep on trying again. Our guides were so kind and motivating. We had several funny banters and even pick-up lines while doing the drill. In return, Jhustine and I gave them tips for their awesome service.
I did not post my photo here anymore. My folks had more amazing stunts as seen below:
Side Trips in Baler
Before checking in at the resort, we had the chance to visit a few famous landmarks in the Baler. We weren’t able to explore Mother Falls and Diguisit Beach, but relived history and enjoyed other natural wonders through the spots we went to.
Located in the town of Maria Aurora, the century-old Balete tree has become a tourist attraction not only for its age but for its sturdy structure. You can climb the branches and even pass through the small entrance in the tree. Just be careful!
Museo de Baler
With a minimal entrance fee, you can appreciate the province’s preserved artifacts, history, governance, and culture. The museum is a bit small but it will showcase you a bit of Aurora’s past.
Replica of Aurora Quezon’s Ancestral House
Inside this house you will see paintings, memorabilia, old appliances and furniture of the couple Manuel L. Quezon and Aurora Quezon.
Posing at the Baler Letters
Need I say more?
Of course, this won’t be missed. There are several stores selling Baler souvenirs such as shirts, magnets, mugs, keychains and even Baler’s sweet delicacies. Just look around for the cheaper prices.
A Newbie’s Wishlist
- Go to Mother Falls
- Go to Diguisit Beach
- Explore more restaurants – especially the seafood paluto
- Check-in at Sam Pinto’s Resort (found it in Deal Grocer)
- Spend at least 3 days and two nights in Baler
- Spend more surfing hours with the locals
Looking forward for a repeat
I was wrong that Baler won’t be enticing to me. The series of experiences from the historical tours, to food trips and surfing lessons were unforgettable. I look forward to doing more interesting things and discovering more tourist attractions on my next visit.
Note: Special thanks to Mario Bautista and Grace Geli for the awesome photos!!