A municipality located in the north-eastern part of Luzon, Baler boasts the nine-feet waves that made the place a top surfing spot. Aside from that, it hosts astounding geographic formations and views that make your heart skip beats.
Baler, probably for me, is the very example of “gandang di mo inakala”. I never had expectations from it except for surfing, so when I saw all the Instagram-worthy places, I couldn’t help but just be simply enchanted.
How to get there from Cubao (MNL):
For a hassle-free trip, book your bus tickets ahead of time – we tried PinoyTravel and I have nothing but good words (https://www.pinoytravel.com.ph), though there’s an additional service fee charge of 85PHP.
The deluxe bus has a comfort room which makes it a better choice for those who keep on taking a toilet break as it’s an 8-hour trip. It costs 700php one way and includes a snack, a bottle of water, a pillow and a blanket.
The semi-deluxe is 650php one way.
|Origin:||Cubao Quezon City, Metro Manila|
|Service Type:||JoyBus (Deluxe)|
|Terminal:||704 EDSA Corner New York St., Brgy. Erodriguez Sr., Cubao, Quezon City|
Where to eat:
Gerry Shan’s Place – the famous budget buffet for only 185php, not bad. It’s pretty famous around the town and tour guides would always end the tour by dropping you at this place. Food was great, to be honest! I didn’t expect much but it was actually worth more than the price.
Yellow Fin Bar and Grill – well, I can’t really say much about this place. It’s in the top ten list of best restaurants in Baler but we were pretty disappointed. Service sucked! We waited for like 15-20minutes to be seated down, had a number of raising our hands to call the servers to order, there wasn’t a lot of variety in their menu (all grilled, I can’t blame them tho, the name said it so!), almost an hour of waiting for the food, I was so hungry I was gonna explode anytime, and another 30 minutes to get the bill. We paid directly to the server near the bar and another 10 minutes to get the change. Never again.
Surfer’s Grill – I don’t remember what we ordered here, it was pretty okay. Was it rice bowls? The location was amazing and the beetle was a sight though. 😉
There was one restaurant that I really liked, it was located across the Yellow Fin and Grill, though I forgot the name. It was an inn with a little restaurant fronting the beach. They had yummy yummy seafood and it was pretty cheap!
Where to Stay:
Aliya Surf Camp and Resort was our best choice, but since it was fully booked, we chose Mahdox Backdoor Villa. I actually thought it was located at the beach front, but it turned out you need to walk around 5minutes more. Neat and cozy but pretty pricey for a simple room. Rate starts from 2000php (for two) with yummy breakfast/coffee.
What to do:
SURF! I like Baler’s waves better than La Union’s. The waves are pretty consistent and water was shallow. There was a longer time to actually enjoy standing on your surf board until you reach the shoreline. Most accommodations offer cheaper rates for surfing lessons. We paid 300php for an instructor and surfing board for an hour’s lesson.
Sign up for a tour! We arrived early morning in Baler and we then hired a tricycle to take us around. It was around 500PHP and he brought us to different places. It was nice that we started early so there weren’t any crowds around.
My favorite place in Baler is the Dicasalarin Cove that belongs to the Angaras. Travel time almost took an hour, and the road was pretty steep and dangerous. It was a miracle how the tricycle was able to drive up the mountain.
Upon reaching the entrance of the cove, we were told to hire a motorcycle as the tricycle couldn’t drive down anymore. Entrance fee for the cove was 300php and motorcycle rental fee was 200php.
The road was winding and it was pretty scary, but it was all worth it! I’ve always loved views like this – huge, as if God’s reminding you that everything you worry about is small and there are far better things that you should be thinking about!
There was something in Baler that I still couldn’t pinpoint exactly what made it so magical. Maybe it was the view, maybe it was the fact that it was so unexpectedly beautiful, maybe it was the company, or maybe it was a place when something new and good started, without me knowing.