Aurora, Hotels + Staycation
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The Circle Hostel: Where Budget-Conscious and Artsy Travelers Meet

BALER, AURORA – You are a bit adventurous yet you’re conscious about the budget. Or you love colors and maybe a bit of arts.

Surfboards. Wall Paints. Handwritten Dedications. Hammocks. Pebbles.

These, and Nipa huts, and a simple native common area are elements that make The Circle Hostel the artsy yet budget-friendly hostel, a home away from home.

This hostel proves that you don’t need a posh hotel to have an experience of a lifetime. Sometimes, all you need are new would-be friends, Instragram-able photos, and some good foods. With these and great experience in mind, the Circle Hostel is the place to be. At least when your destination is this surfing haven.

“First time is always the best time to remember.”

It sounds more of a fact to me than just some nice-sounding quotation worthy of a Facebook post. It was my first time staying in a hostel. I am no introvert but I sometime hate to be surrounded with a lot of people, especially strangers who are mostly expert of doing things I am just starting to learn about. Say surfing for instance. I easily get intimidated.

Hostels are a magnet for people. Hostels in the Philippines, particularly in surfing destinations like La Union, Siargao, and Baler are like a sweet candy left in the middle of ants’ colonies. They attract them so easily.

Without much preparation, our original plan was to go glamping but it sounded boring after some spirited discussions, so the next plan needed to push through: stay in a hostel, mingle with people, and go surfing with the locals. Hesitant at first but it was the best time to try staying in a hostel. So together with a friend, I booked a bus trip to Baler one weekend.

After a few hours of travel from Manila, we saw ourselves unpacking in one of this hostel’s rooms. A simple Nipa-hut that accommodate groups whether large or small, couples, or solo travelers, the hostel offers not only the usual comfort but a nice backdrop for photo shoots.

The Circle Hostel photo of the common area

This is the common area for the guests of The Circle Hostel in Baler. Visitors could use the hammocks to either take a nap or read their favorite books.

These hammocks serve as the bed for the super-budget travelers who would rather stay outdoor and just take a few hours of sleep.

These hammocks serve as the bed for the super-budget travelers who would rather stay outdoor and just take a few hours of sleep.

Local surfers were there to mingle, and tell visitors stories of great surfing escapades, including the best places to be while in this town. They even invited us to join one of their surfing sessions in the nearby town.

It has common wash rooms and shower rooms for everyone’s use. The common kitchen offers free food, including free breakfast while they also accept short orders. Their pastas are delicious, and meals are within the budget.

A simple meal costs only around P100-P200 ($2-4).

A simple meal costs only around P100-P200 ($2-4).

01 Starbucks and food

The common area was my favorite place when trying to be idle. While their brewed coffee is less than P100 (US $2), I brought sachets of Starbucks Matcha with me. Cups and mugs are free to use and they provide hot and cold water as well.

Common to most local hotels maybe, the Filipino hospitality is felt in here. Feel free to ask anyone residing in the area and you will get the kindest response.

READ ALSO: Chasing Waterfalls in Aurora

AFTER ANOTHER DAY, local surfers go home carrying surf boards on their head.

AFTER ANOTHER DAY, local surfers go home carrying surf boards on their head.

If staying in hostels is as good as our stay at The Circle Hostel, I wouldn’t mind staying in one every time I travel. Indeed, first time is always the best time to remember – and I’d be glad not to forget this experience.

So the next time your inner wanderlust invites you for an out of town getaway, don’t give him a hard time. Just give in. Pack your bags and travel all the way down here for that great escape with the seas.

Photos taken by this writer, others are from The Circle Hostel and travelsurfrepeat.com.

THE CIRCLE HOSTEL – BALER
Buton Street, Brgy. Sabang, Aurora, Baler, Philippines
EMAIL: baler@thecirclehostel.com
WEBSITE: http://baler.thecirclehostel.com

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