The waves of Baler

I can't believe it's almost March and I don't have a decent beach trip planned yet.

That was what I was thinking while browsing through Travelfactor.org's site a couple of months ago.  I usually plan trips DIY style but at that time, I just wanted to get away minus all the planning and researching. (We also went with Travelfactor for our Mt. Pulag trip last year.  And I can say, it was really hassle-free!)  While going through the list of their upcoming trips, the words "SURFVIVOR BALER" caught my eye.

I've done surfing in La Union several times.  And I've always been curious what it would be like to ride the waves in Baler seeing that so many people I know enjoy frequenting the province.  So without hesitation, I contacted my friends Peter and Jen and registered for a weekend of adventure.

The road to Baler
As expected, Travelfactor's service did not disappoint.  The three of us met up with the group and Aica, our designated travel coordinator for the trip, at McDonald's El Pueblo around 11:00pm.  Then around 12:00mn, we boarded the tourist bus and headed to Baler, Aurora.

For those who are planning a DIY trip, here's how you can get from Manila to Baler:
BY PRIVATE CAR.  You can get to Baler via McArthur Highway and Daang Maharlika, or thru NLEX ( EXIT at Mabalacat toll gate) and SCTEX ( ENTRY at LaPaz, Tarlac toll gate) until you get to Cabanatuan City . From Cabanatuan, take the Nueva Ecija-Aurora highway, passing thru the towns of Talavera , Rizal, and Pantabangan until you reach the Aurora border, then thru the towns of Maria Aurora, San Luis , and finally, Baler. The ride could take about five hours.
BY PUBLIC BUS.  Genesis Transport Bus provides the only direct route to Baler from Metro Manila. One way fare costs PhP404. Its terminal is located along EDSA in Cubao, Quezon City. There are three trips a day starting at 4:30 A.M. till 7:30 A.M. The bus ride could take about six hours.  (Via Beautiful Baler Tours)
I thought it was going to be a looooong ride but before I knew it, we were already in Baler, watching the sunrise. (Yes, if you must ask, I slept through the whole ride.  That's my special skill haha.)

Hello, Baler.

After we checked in at AMCO Beach Resort (one of the cheaper resorts in the area), we slathered on some sunblock and got ready for some surfing fun!

Surf's up!
Since I don't surf regularly, I always get nervous during my first few minutes on the surfboard.  And true enough, I wiped out on my first wave.  (It happens everytime!)  But after the second wave, I found my footing and balance again and enjoyed the rest of the rides.

Stoked!  Riding the waves of Baler.

According to our instructors, surfing in Baler is year-round.  Sometimes (sometimes!), they hit an off-season from June-July, but even then, you can still spot some waves.

Surfing lessons.
Ready for some action!
A local breezing through the waves.  One of those rare moments I wished I didn't sell my zoom lens :p
Students waiting for some waves.

After an hour of surf lessons (later in the afternoon, we'd have another set with the same instructors), we decided to stroll around and see what else we can find on the beach strip.





Bottoms up!  But of course, any beach trip wouldn't be complete without these haha.

Unexpected treat
The next day, it was either a few hours lounging under the sun or a trek to the Mother Falls, otherwise known as the Ditumabo Falls, which is found in, well, Barangay Ditumabo.  I honestly wasn't up for a tiring trek but I figured since we were already there, might as well check it out.  Besides, my body could use a little exercise :p

Through the help of Jen's instructor, Ryan, we rented a tricycle which would bring us to and from the falls for Php800 (USD18.80).  It was an approximately 20-minute ride to the registration area (which is actually just a small hut with a table and benches) and from there, a 30-minute trek.




It was actually a nice trek, given the tranquility of the surroundings.  Though I did manage to get myself some scrapes and bruises haha.




After nearly dropping my camera into the river, I almost regretted choosing the falls over some beach time (when all I wanted to do that weekend was relax) but not after I saw this:



The falls ain't that grand actually.  But the water was so clear it was almost like the lagoons they have in Coron, Palawan.   We spent about an hour in the freezing water (Yes, freezing!) before we finally headed back to our hotel to pack our stuff.

Cheap trip
Our total damage for the trip?  Php3,700 (USD86.95) inclusive of the following (c/o Travelfactor):

Transportation to and from Manila
Accommodation
2 surfing lessons
Breakfast for Day 2

Plus the 800-peso tricycle rent and meals not provided by the tour group, of course.

Not bad for a hassle free trip, right?  Although I believe you can come up with a smaller budget if you go for a DIY trip.  Which is what we plan to do when we go back next month.  Yey!

Comments

  1. Koryn!

    I can't wait to go to Baler again!!!! Do we do it DIY style this time? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I think it's easy enough. Even if we go by bus :) Thank you Genesis transport haha.

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  2. Thanks for dropping by my site so I could find you here. :)

    I collect surf magazines that I buy in BOOKSALE but never had a chance yet to step on a real surfboard with real waves. We planned to go to Baler too last Holyweek long vacation but accommodations were all booked.

    Must try what you did. Very detailed info. Love your photos. (I agree) one needs zoom lens in this case. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, I sold mine in exchange for a prime lens haha. I highly encourage you to go! :) If not Baler, La Union is nice also. But their are days in LU where there are no waves, you have to check with the locals first :)

      I'm not a regular surfer but everytime I try, I get stoked :)

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  3. I wanna try to surf even once.
    I love ur shots.. so nice! Following you and thanks for dropping by at mitchlists.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should! You'll experience a different kind of high, promise :) But expect some bruises in the process haha.

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  4. LOVELY pics!!! super!!! teach a non-photog like me how to do all this!:D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I usually say--don't think, just shoot! ;)

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  5. Beautiful photos mother!!!
    And I want to go to Baler, too! If you guys are going back, tell me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's go! We might go sometime between last week of June and mid-week of July :)

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  6. Nice pics! Wanna learn how to surf soon.

    Btw, followed your blog through GFC. Hope you could follow mine as well.

    http://relaxandpleaseyourtastebuds.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shashi and Beij! Thanks for dropping by :)

      You should! Surfing gives you a different kind of thrill and high :)

      Delete

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