Topping the list of beach destinations and one of the top surf spots in the Philippines, Baler has a lot to offer aside from its 9-foot waves that attract hundreds of surfers during the surfing seasons from September to February. Baler is rich in history from the American colonia period up to its conversion to cityhood. So if you have the passion to learn more about Philippine history while relaxing, Baler is perfect for you.
Two weeks ago, we booked the Baler Tour of one of the local travel and tour agencies here in Manila and next thing we knew, we were off to a 6-hour roller coaster ride to Baler. It was 12:45AM when we left Manila, and by 7AM we were able to reach our destination. We checked-in at Aling Baby’s Transient House, ate our free breakfast and freshened up. 8am when the tour was started officially.
We hired a tricycle from the main road (P100 per person if you aren’t booking for all-day transportation) to skip a trail with a ten-minute walk over small, loose rocks. The tricycle will drop you off at a bamboo bridge over the first stream you must cross. There’s already a low, wide waterfall at this point that reflects the light perfectly at around 9:00 AM. After 30 minutes of low-stress, high-reward trekking, we’ve finally reached the Mother Falls.
Mother Falls / Ditumabo Falls – Towering at around 140 feet and with the cold water from the highland of Sierra Madre Mountain Range, Ditumabo Falls is an imposing icon of the province. The freely cascading water drops into a wide rocky basin forming a natural pool ideal for swimming.
Sabang Beach – This bay is located in the northeastern portion of Luzon island and is an extension of the Philippine Sea that’s bordered by four municipalities of Aurora province. From mid September to early March, the bay is known for its great surfing conditions. In 1976, the movie Apocalypse Now was filmed there which introduced the sport to the area. Also, the bay has been the home of the annual Aurora Surfing Cup since 1997. During other months of the year, Sabang Beach is ideal for snorkeling, windsurfing and diving.
Ermita Hill – Situated in Mt. Dibuladan at SitioDicaloyungan, Zabali, Baler, Aurora, Ermita Hills is part of the 196.6 hectares of land. The hills play an important part in the history of Baler. It is where the only survivors of the catastrophe “Tromba Marina” (tsunami) fled for safety on the night of December 27, 1735 where the entire old town of Baler was engulfed with sea water.
It has a plateau covering the area and is approximately 40 meters above the sea-level. It provides a magnificent view of Baler Bay, Dima-Dimalangat and Aniao Islets. This plateau serves as an attraction for tourists to take in the fascinating view of the Pacific Ocean, Sabang Beach, river of Delta, thriving mangroves and the town of Baler. Ermita Hill is suitable for camping activities and trekking.
Tromba Marina (Tsunami) – Located at the foot of Ermita Hill along the main road, this life-sized sculpture serves as a reminder of what happened during the catastrophe on 1735. Families were climbing the hill while there were huge waves just behind them. People living there believe that only 7 families were able to climb the hill successfully and survived.
Aniao Islet – These are two small islands lying south of the islet of Dima-Dimangalat. These islets have small trees and other greenery growing on top surfaces.
It was 8PM when we had our dinner at one of the best small restaurants in the province. For just Php100, it will satisfy your cravings by their special tapsilog.
Full and satisfied, we went back to the transient house after our dinner. It was an awesome first day of the tour.
Day 2: City Tour
It was 8am when we had our breakfast, packed-up all our things and left the house for the start of the city tour.
Museo De Baler – This museum displays artifacts and paintings about the history of Aurora, exhibits on the ethnic groups Dumagat and Ilongot, and photos and memorabilia of native son, Manuel L. Quezon, the second Philippine president. There is also a section regarding the Siege of Baler, with some film props from the local film “Baler.”
Aurora Quezon’s Ancestral House – Located at the front side of Baler Parish Church is the ancestral house of Dona Aurora Quezon, the mother of Manuel L. Quezon and to whom the province got its name. There are a lot of antique items preserved at the old house such as paintings, books and even the car used by Quezon when he was still the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.
Balete Tree – Also known as Balite or Baliti are several species of trees in the Philippines from the enusFicus that are broadly referred to as balete in the local language.
It was 12 noon when we finished the city tour and we went directly to souvenir shops and bought items. An hour after that, we finally bid our goodbye to our fun Baler adventure and went back to Manila.
Just like my Ilocos tour, I highly recommend that you put Baler in your list of destinations to visit in the Philippines. In fact, it should be one of the top! Aside from the rich culture brought by its historical places, there are also a lot of places that you can visit for a fun and relaxing escapade.
There you go! Do you have your own Baler story? Share it below.