Baler, Aurora — WHEN ONE DAY you suddenly feel the need to break away from your daily routine, think of Baler in the province of Aurora.
The waves of its many beaches, and its majestic waterfalls await every weary soul that needs some resting, if not an adventure. Whichever you prefer.
Just before the summer officially ends, and when storms are about to hit the Philippines, we found ourselves enjoying this part of Central Luzon, and we’re enchanted by its rural beauty. Not that I am not used to rural living for I am a native of Palawan province before deciding to be based in Metro Manila, but Baler provides a refreshing feeling. Its enchanting beauty was enough to get one excited all throughout his/her stay, I suppose. It was enough for my heart to beat faster, my adrenaline to rush, and my jaws to drop.
Baler is maybe synonymous to ‘surfing’ and every surfer knows that. More than that, it provides every visitor whatever it needs: either waves to ride on, waterfalls to shower under, or simply a place to rest for a day or two, if not to settle for good. Well, we heard stories of visitors who, after having a taste of this town have decided to sell their properties in the metro to live a simpler, humble life here. Who could blame them?
Surfing in Baler
Baler is definitely a surfers’ haven, if not heaven. It is among the top three places to go to when you love riding the waves while in the Philippines. The other two popular surfing destinations are La Union in the Ilocos Region and Siargao in Surigao del Norte.
So if you are to ask anyone what Baler’s main attraction is, don’t be surprised when the common answer you’d get would be “waves.” Nine-feet waves to be exact.
Surfing is best experienced here between the months of September and February, when the shores welcome the big waves generously being given by the Pacific Ocean. During these months, tourists flock to the town with one thing in mind: to surf. Local and international surfers also visit Baler for the Aurora Surfing Cup, which has been an annual tradition since 1997.
Our visit wasn’t a surfing season but Baler didn’t disappoint. Aside from the waves along Baler Bay, there are actually a lot of alternative places to go to for surfing when in Aurora — just make sure to befriend the locals. They’ll be your heroes.
Lucky for us to have been invited by a few friends from The Circle Hostel to join them as they search for bigger waves. A few kilometers away from the town is Lipit Beach that served as our surfing spot for a day here. We didn’t expect the weather to cooperate but the sun was up, the skies were clear, and the seas played with us very well by rolling decent waves all throughout our surfing session. For the newbies, an hour of surfing lessons in Baler is at P350.
It wasn’t my first time to surf but I still maximized the surfing lesson from Louie, a local surfer who guided me, as I catch waves for almost an hour under the scorching heat of the afternoon sun. After the session, we capped the day with a sumptuous boodle fight on a surf board together with our newfound surfer-friends. If surfing has taught me one lesson, it’s not about playing with the waves but being one with them, and letting them wash away every unnecessary particles of life.
How to go to Baler? From Metro Manila, ride a bus (Genesis/Joybus) from Cubao. It takes 4-6 hours to Baler. Fare is between P450-P750 depending on your choice of bus. We took the De Luxe (Sleeper Bus) and it took us less than 5 hours of non-stop bus ride to Baler. Fare was at P750 with free water and light snacks. [Featured photo from islandsofthephilippines.com].