“Aurora Rising” – a tagline that fits one of the Philippines’ hottest tourist destinations today, Baler. Serving as the provincial capital of Aurora, Baler is considered one of the top surf spots in the tropical country, an ideal activity to cross out from your Summer to-do list.
The planning for our next trip.
After our trip from Nagsasa Cove last February, our team planned for the next team building/outing, and everyone suggested Baler as a lot of us wanted to try surfing. We all agreed to go by March, and proceeded to discuss about how we’ll eat, where we’ll settle in, and what we’ll do while we’re there. Janna was told by her cousin of an affordable place for groups at Sabang Beach (where the surfing spot is), and she contacted that place called Woodshack while our boss arranged the date and payment– P 5,000 for 2 days and 1 night. We also rented a van or mini coaster costing P12,000 for the whole trip with the inclusion of gas and toll fees.
Arriving at Baler.
2soulsfootprints @ Baler
Excitement practically oozed off of everyone onced we reached Baler, not because we want to surf or want to go places that we want to go, but because all of us were tired– we went directly to Baler after our shift which is between 5PM-4AM, so we lack sleep and everyone wants to go directly to Woodshack and rest. Our travel time takes around 7-9 hours due to a lot of stop overs. After we found Woodshack, some of us feigned sleep whilst the others prepare dinner or took a dip at Sabang Beach.
The 2nd day at Baler.
Every one woke up early as we planned to go to Mother/Ditumabo Falls. When we arrived at San Luis, Aurora, we paid P30/pax for our entrance and P200 for our guides. The whole trek takes around 30 minutes, so make sure you wear a good pair of slippers, sandals or treking shoes as the trail is steep and rocky. You will need to cross rivers, walk in a rocky terrain and cross a wooden bridge.
Don’t worry, it’ll get easier when you are closer to the falls as there is a man made pathway going there. After we reached our destination, everyone jumps in immediately out of excitement, and were welcomed by the freezing cold water. We didn’t mind the coldness of the water, it’s already raining during our trek, plus Summer in the Philippines is very hot and this is a good chance to cool down.
Mother or Ditumabo Falls is a great place to visit! Why? The adventure during the trek will already give you a heart-pounding experience even though it’s an easy, short trek. The thing that makes it difficult on going to the falls is the trek, which is full of rocks especially when crossing the rivers. On the other hand, once you get there you will be greeted by the huge falls, and even if you don’t want to swim, just the mesmerizing sight of the falls will make your trip enjoyable.
After our trek we went back to Woodshack,ate our lunch then went directly to Sabang Beach to swim and surf.
Baler Bay is one of the surfing spots in the Philippines due to it’s great surfing condition, and the most visited place is the Sabang Beach. However, it’s not limited to surfing only and you can still take a dip for those who don’t want to surf. Just make sure to swim in the area where you can only swim as there are a lot of rip currents in the area. Rip currents in our own explanation is a current in a beach that when caught, you will not be able to move nor swim back no matter how hard you tried. Most people drown because they get tired swimming back to the shore especially when panic sets in.
The best thing to do when caught in a riptide, based on our research, is to swim parallel to the shore or wait until the current stops. There’s a lot of surfers that will ask you to stay away from places where you might get caught in the rip currents. During our stay at the beach, there are 4 people who nearly drowned from the the rip currents, but thankfully, were saved by the surfers nearby. One of the surfers who borrowed my surfboard told us that these 4 people tried their best to swim back, but to no avail as they were already in a rip current. Once the surfers are near these people, they were already tired of swimming and staying afloat in the water, so please listen to those people. If they asked you to stay away from an area, STAY AWAY!
Did you know? The movie “Apocalypse Now” is filmed at Baler Bay, and they introduced surfing at this area. The production crew even left behind a surfboard for the locals to use.
There are places in Sabang Beach offering surfing lessons, P 350 for 1 hour, then P 200 for 1-hour use of surf board or P 400 for halfday use. For us, it’s too much as we need lessons first and we want to use it for half a day, which will cause us P350 + P400 = P750/pax each. One of our teammates manage to find someone who offers us P500/pax each for 1-hour surfing lessons and halfday use of surfboard. We asked them if they will accept a payment P400/pax and they complied. We immediately grab this oppurtunity as this is a great deal. It’s just too bad as we did not manage to get their contact number. The surfers will ask you do a little stretching first before teaching you about the proper position in standing on the surfboard, and how to keep balance. Surfing looks easy, but actually, it’s not, making you wonder how some people make it look effortless. Once you get the hang of it though, it feels so great that you want to do it over and over again. After surfing, your body will ache, but the experience worth it and all of us who surfed at Sabang beach looks forward to surf again.
After surfing, we bought souvenirs at the town proper of Baler, and went straight home. ‘Twas a tiring vacation, but the experience and enjoyment will last. Carpe Diem!