I organized a trip to Baler, Aurora on a long weekend in June. As early as 3am, seven of us were already at the Manila Genesis Bus Terminal along Edsa corner New York St. (tel. 7090545/4211425). Given that the bus seats were on first-come, first-served basis, all seats were already occupied as early as 3.30am. It was a good thing that the next bus was a deluxe type, which meant more comfortable seats and limited stopovers. We paid P500 each and it left an hour earlier than the supposed 5am schedule.
When we arrived at Baler, we rode a tricycle (fare: P39.00) going to Bays Inn Resort (Mobile 0918.9266697), which is along Sabang beach. The resort charged modestly for a good accommodation at P1,600 per night for 4 people with breakfast. We had two rooms: I occupied the room located at the ground floor while the others stayed at the second floor. I enjoyed the location of our resort even more because we had unlimited access to wi-fi internet.
We had lunch at the resort and spent P85, which included a viand, rice, and softdrink. It was cheap considering that the ambiance included a good view of the beach and refreshing dose of the sea breeze.
After the meal, we went to Quezon Park and Museo de Baler where we were given free access. As we tour the museum, we understood and enjoyed the place even more. We also visited Doña Aurora house and (I forgot the name of a BalerChurch), the historical church of the town. We hired two tricycle drivers for our tour (P400 tricycle rental for the half-day tour) to the oldest and tallest Banyan tree in the country, which is situated in Maria Aurora town. It was an hour of tricycle ride. Upon seeing the tree, we were amazed on how huge the tree was and we even got inside through its roots. It was an eerie feeling knowing that the tree was often used in horror films. Inside the tree, it was dark and we felt like there were snakes beneath the fallen leaves that covered the whole floor.
We then hurriedly went to Ermita Hill to catch a glimpse of the bay. It took a long walk towards the top where a huge cross was placed. Actually the cross is visible from our resort especially in the evening when the lights were turned on. The driver even pointed to the house of the governor, which was big and very visible from the area. I asked the drivers to bring us to the Pasalubong Center where I bought souvenir items like shirts, delicacies and native hats. We returned to the resort and invited the drivers for snack before taking a swim. We swam from 5pm until 8 in the evening. We enjoyed the experience of swimming in the strong waves and being brought to the shore. It was like we were in a wave pool having a whole body massage. I particularly like the sea water because it was less salty and did not hurt my eyes at all. I could swim even without goggles.
On our second day, we left the resort at 7am because we wanted to visit practically all the beautiful places of the province. Our first stop was the Cunayan Falls. Before going to the falls, we paid twice for our vehicle to pass through two private lots and of course payment for the entrance to the water falls. I think the local government should do something for the so called “toll fees” just to go to the falls because it created negative impressions. The town should promote tourism and provide access to these sites without paying for unnecessary fees like road access. Although the water falls was small, it was beautiful and the water was very clean and cold. Everyone enjoyed the swim except for me because I ended up being the photographer of the group.
Our next stop was the small irrigation dam but it was nothing spectacular so I asked the drivers to bring us to Lukso-Lukso islets. I was not actually sure if we were at the right area; we had to walk carefully because it was slippery and there were pointed rocks and corals. There was also a cave but we did not enter it because it was difficult to move around and it was very hot. We wanted to go on top of this mountain where the cave is but without the tricycle, we had to walk. We just walked for 5 minutes before everyone decided not to go on with the idea. We road the tricycle and rented it P500.
Since it was a tiring morning, we decided to take lunch at our resort and be back at the beach by 4pm for the surfing lessons. Only three in my group took up the challenge for one-hour surfing lessons. They enjoyed it as evidenced in the photos taken. Since it was our last day, I went to the bus depot to arrange for our early morning trip. The bus conductor in-charge of the deluxe bus advised me to just be there before 4am.
The following day, one of the tricycle drivers did not show up. I was bothered with it since we initially gave the driver some money for the gas! We learned our lesson not to easily trust people that we meet. Only one tricycle brought us to the bus garage and the rest waited at the bus terminal. Three of us stayed at the garage in order to reserve seats once the bus arrived in the terminal. There were also other travelers who waited for hours for the deluxe bus to arrive. The long hours of wait paid off since it was the only comfortable bus available in the area. By lunch time, we were already back in Quezon City.
The cost of the whole trip was only P3,382 including the souvenirs. If I would have another free time, I will try to go back and just stay at the resort to relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
Visited last June 12 – 14, 2010