First travel for the year, 2016. We started our journey on the surfing pride capital – Baler which is located in Aurora province, Northeast of Luzon.
We have no car for the trip, on budget and pure DIY, here is an overview of our 3 days – 2 night exploration survival:
How to get there?
We chose for a linked ride via Five Star bus from Manila to Cabanatuan. The drop off is at Central Terminal where vans going to Baler are waiting. There are public vans at any time, as long as there are commuters in line. On holidays, make sure to ride early.
If you want direct bus routes going to Baler from Manila, you can ride bus lines like Joybus and Genesis. You can check out their site for schedules and fare guides.
How long is the travel time?
Roughly 5-6 hours. The bus from Manila to Cabanatuan has stop over in Tarlac where you can eat and have pee break, while the vans going to Baler will also stop via a carinderia in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
Where to stay?
There are lots of cheap to luxury accomodation options in Baler. You can choose from transient houses, inns, hotels and resort.
Here are some good & cheap picks for budget travellers that we would like to try also when we get back to Baler:
– The Circle Hostel
– Secret Spot
– Charlie Does Inn
– Aliya Surf Camp
– Bayler View
– Pacific Wave Inn
– Casa De Viajeros
– Twin’s Inn
For our tour we stayed at Transient house near Sabang Beach which is extremely cheap at around 350 per night per person.
Contact number: +639219997585
Where to eat?
You dont need to spend too much on food in Baler. There are lots of decent carinderias along Sabang Beach, municipal area, rolling store near Museo de Baler and even mobile Jollibee near Baler Church.
To try out the bragged restaurants in Baler, here are some of our recommendations:
1. Yellow Finn –
Location: Sabang Beach near Charlie Does
Menu: BBQ, Liempo, Silogs, Beer
Price: 200 – 300 for 2 pax
2. Bay Surfer Grill –
Ultimate Grilling Sensation in Baler
Location: Sabang Beach
Menu: Chicken, Steak, Surfer’s choice
Healthy fruit shakes and drinks
Price: 200-300 for 2 pax
3. Yolly’s Ihaw Ihaw and Seafood Resto
Location: Quezon St cor. Recto Baler
Menu: Grilled Fish, Crabs, Shrimps
Price: 200-300 for 2 pax
4. Gerry Shan’s Place – Buffet
Location: Quezon St. near municipal area
Menu: Eat all you can buffet mainly on Filipino and Chinese dishes
Price: 200 per pax
How to make the best out of Baler?
Most of the travellers in Baler have private cars to make out the best in the tourist spots.
But dont worry, if you dont have a car with you, travel with style by renting a local tricycle. Make sure to arrange beforehand the list of places you want to visit. Haggle with the driver, rates are usually from 700 – 1500.
For our tricycle driver/guide, you may contact him via this number:
- Nestor Villanos – 09472931805
What to do in Baler?
DAY 1 – Long Ride and Surfing
1. Unleash your adventure spirit in Dimatubo Mother Falls. Get an hour trek to the falls where you’ll cross rivers and such. Dip in the cold waters of the falls and see its power beyond.
2. Feel amazed with Old Balete Tree. Imagine how tall the tree could grow higher. You can try to reach the top as long as you dont fall. ✌
3. Cross the hanging bridge. Make sure to have some donations for the preservation of the area. You can enjoy the moment in the center of the hanging bridge. Talk with the birds, explore horizons, feel the breeze.
4. Learn surfing and explore Sabang Beach. For begginers like us, the waves are like slammers. You may have surfing lessons for an hour, half day or whole day. This includes a board and a surfing instructor. This is best to do in the afternoon while Mr. Sun is setting down.
DAY 2 – Zabali Area and Dicasalarin Tour
5. Wake up early in the morning and climb Ermita Hill up to the peak. There are series of steps that would help you reach the top faster. Once you reached the up hill, you’ll be overlooking Sabang Beach.
6. Side trip to Baler Fish Port. Appreciate local industry in Baler by viewing their docking points for local fishermen.
7. Marvel at Aniao and Diguisit Islets. These are rock formations made by the large waves of Baler. Hop from one islet to another and take lots of photos. Feel like youre on a post card in every shot.
8. Dip into Diguisit Waterfalls. Ever wondered that you have mini falls near the roads in Manila. Dont miss the chance by taking up higher level and freshen up with the cool water from the falls.
9. Swim in AMCO Diguisit Beach. They have the most picture perfect view around the area. As privately owned, there are pools, accomodation and huts where families and barkadas can stay for a day or night.
10. A road farther and you can tell your driver to stop over the Baler’s Parola. You need to hike a hill to be able to reach the Parola. There are kids who act as guides for tourists. The trail is relatively average, it’s just somehow slippery.
Once you reached the peak, you’ll be able to see the top view of diguisit beach. The waves and breeze are refreshing.
11. Highlight your half day tour in Dicasalarin Cove by the Angaras. For an entrance fee of 300 pesos, you can enjoy all the amenities in the cove. It’s best to spend your afternoon tour in the area to fully utilize your stay.
Take a snapshot of the map once you reached the entrance so you’ll never get lost. The first thing you can do is to hike up to the Baler’s light house. Let the map guide you or ask locals.
You’ll pass by the white beach, huts, rock formations and slammering waves. The place is real PARADISE, definitely best view in Baler for us.
Setting up a tent by the beach is an awesome idea too. Barkadas and family can pick this as an option for stay as well, the view is exhilerating!
Roam around the area and find cute wild pigs in their pens. There are also other activities like recreation and waterfalls, but due to time limitation we are not able to do all the activities. 😂
DAY 3 – City Tour
12. Walk around Baler town. Explore the area and get to know more about the locals. Pay a visit to the local church and haggle across pasalubong centers.
13. Unleash your artistry and appreciate posters and paintings by visiting Museo De Baler. Entrance fee will be collected for the municipal funds.
14. Have some photoshoots in the municipal hall. You’ll see youths and kids playing along the grounds. ATMs and money exchangers can be found in this area too.
15. Wondering about the person behind the province’s name? Travel through time in Dona Aurora Quezon’s ancestral house.
What to buy for pasalubong?
You can roam around the Quezon St for non food pasalubong stalls where they sell keychains, stickers, bags and signature shirts.
For food pasalubongs, opt to do haggling in the public market area, you’ll see a big sign “Pasalubong Center” near the terminal.
You can choose from below food picks:
-Peanut Butter from Nanay Pacing
-Crispy gabi and Banana Chips
You can find other Nanay Pacing’s products near JoyBus terminal.
How much to spend in Baler?
It actually depends on your itinerary, food options, travel way and accomodation. But to give you an idea on the budget for our stay, here were our sample expenses:
180/pax – Manila to Cabanatuan
220/pax – Van from Cabanatuan to Baler 1200 – Tricycle tour for 2 days
10 – Parking Fee in Mother Falls
50 – Parking Fee in Dicasalarin
220/pax – Van from Baler to Cabanatuan
180/pax – Cabanatuan to Manila
1400 – 3d2n stay in the Transient House
30/pax – Dona Aurora House and Museo de Baler
20/pax – Amco Beach Resort
20/pax – Balete tree
30/pax – Ditumabo falls
300/pax – Dicasalarin Cove
10/pax – Parola
300/pax -Surfing Lessons with board
FOOD – Around 2000 for 3d2n for 2. ✌
All in all, the moments were great in meeting #SiBaler! The return to Manila was like a big hangover.
Have you been to Baler?
How did your experience went so far? ☺