My summer started late this year. And I love hitting the beach again and again, and just let the waves serenade me. So I looked for provinces I have never been to and I ended up with Baler, Aurora.
Two things why Baler topped my list: first, it is undeniably crowded. For my first solo travel, it’s pretty acceptable to be in a place where I won’t feel alone. Haha! And second, it’s because of The Circle Hostel. I really love Circle the first moment I walked in their Zambales branch.
So I packed light, taking with me my camera and a brave soul.
Day 1 | June 11, 2016 | Saturday
The Joy Bus last trip is at 5:30 AM and ticket reservation is a must. Usually, when you missed the Genesis trip, options are 1) to go for a deluxe – as a chance passenger, or 2) get a bus going to Cabanatuan and from there, ride a van to Baler.
It was exactly 2PM when I finally set foot on Aurora. Upon arrival at the terminal, I went straight to the ticketing office and secured myself a trip going back to Manila on the 13th.
The Circle Hostel, Baler is actually bigger than in Liw-liwa, Zambales. But still has the same homey feeling.
After setting my things up, putting them in the locker, I dashed off to Sabang beach.
I just strolled, took photos of almost anything until I reached the famous Baler Surfer Grill. I had my linner here (Lunch+Dinner = I just learned this from a client. Like, woah).
It was a fulfilling meal, though. And really that cheap! Then I headed to the shore and found a good spot to read the book my boss left on my desk days before my trip.
I went back to the hostel and washed up. Other guests were at the common area. And as the motto of the hostel, “There are no strangers,” you will really find yourself interacting with people you just met.
By 8PM, I went out again to try my luck on capturing the Milky Way. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and there were not enough stars.
At past 10PM, I went back to the hostel because it started raining. Other guests were still up to have a chat.
Day 2 | June 12, 2016 | Sunday
Tricycle operators are credited to conduct tours. It’s a great way to support the locals.
Back in Cubao terminal, I met a lovely couple. I asked them if they already have a guide for the Baler tour, good thing wala pa daw. I really need to look for 2 joiners because I don’t want to pay for the whole tour when it’s rate is really for 3 people.
My contact is asking for PHP1000 for the whole day trip! Just when Mel (the girl) found another guide who’s asking price is only PHP 800 for a day trip good for 3 pax, we knew what to do.
So it’s Kuya June who won the “mas-mababa-ako-maningil-bruh” game.
Destination 1: Millennium Tree
Destination 2: Mother Falls
Along the trail, there are food stalls. We opted to have our lunch here.
Destination 3: Dicasalarin Cove | Beach
An hour away from the town proper is Dicasalarin Cove. Kidding aside, this is one of such lovely beaches I’ve been to. It’s so pristine. The waters are so crystal and cold, the sand is powdery white, more importantly, zero litter and zero noise.
Or am I just biased because we arrived here on a Sunday? Well either way, I am in love with this place. I suggest that if you will avail of the tour, ask your guide if you can have Dicasalarin beach visited last so you can spend all your remaining time here.
You can hike up the Lighthouse to get a better view of the place. Most travelers tagged the view up there as same with Batanes
Destination 4: Daguisit Falls
Thank God… FREE. After slashing PHP 450 from my pocket for that heavenly gorgeous Dicasalarin Cove, my heart couldn’t take anymore it if I have to pay for another entrance fee.
Daguisit is just along the road. Few minute hike and you can dip into this tiny refreshing body of water.
Destination 5: Hanging Bridge
I don’t know what to say but it’s a Hanging Bridge with… people passing on it? Haha!
Destination 6: Ermita Hill
Another tourist spot found along the road. The history that lies beneath this hill is a stopper. Imagine how people of Baler survived a terrifying tsunami just because they dragged their way up the Ermita Hill. According to Kuya Buko Juice , even up to this date, whenever there’s a tsunami warning, people would hike up the hill for safety.
Destination 7-8-9: Quzeon Park + Museo de Baler + Aurora Quezon Ancestral House
Destination 10: Baler Church
Just right in front of Aurora House, so I included it here.
It’s past 5PM when I got back to the hostel. After washing up and getting some rest, my co-travelers invited me to have dinner with them. We had our tummies filled with great food of Kusina Luntian.
We all agreed to spend the night at the shore while playing some “I never had ever” game. It was also the moment I got to capture one majestic view up there!
The night was young when we decided to sing our lungs out in Bitz Bar, just next to our hostel.
I can’t remember what time was it when we went back to the hostel. I even slept on the 2nd floor common area because I was charging my phone. It was such a night!
Day 3 | June 13, 2016 | Monday
On my last day, I had a coffee for PHP 40 and of course, the free breakfast. Three more travelers checked in, all foreigners. We had small chit chats over breakfast before Gabie (awesome pure Pinay who grew up in Cali) and I decided to hit the beach before heading back to Manila. Last minute tan.
Krishka and I also did some painting.
And it’s time for me to head home. 🙂
BTW, here’s our guide and his contact details:
Day 1 | June 11, 2016
4:00 AM – ETA Joy Bus Terminal
5:45 AM – ETD from Cubao to Baler, Aurora
2:00 PM – Check in at The Circle Hostel, Baler
3:00 PM onwards – Headed to Sabang Beach
10:00 PM – Hammock time
Day 2 | June 12, 2016
6:30 AM – Wake up call – Free breakfast (their famous bread-banana-peanut butter combi)
7:30 AM – Prep for Baler tour
8:00 AM – Let’s go!
6:00 PM – Went back to the hostel
8:00 PM onwards – Dinner with the group/ Chillin by the beach/ Socials
Day 3 | June 13, 2016
8:00 AM – Wake up call – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Chillin, painting
10:00 AM – Wash up – Prep things
11:30 PM – ETA at Joy Bus Station Baler from The Circle
12:00 NN – ETD to Cubao
6:00 PM – Arrived in Cubao
PHP 650 – Deluxe (Cubao – Baler)
PHP 650 – Deluxe (Baler – Cubao)
PHP 700 – 2N Hammock accommodation (off-peak rate of PHP 350/night)
PHP 15 – Trike from terminal to Circle
PHP 94 – Beginner Liempo Meal + plain rice upgraded to Java rice
PHP 80 – Mango+Banana shake
PHP 10 – Millennium Tree Entrance Fee
PHP 30 – Mother Falls Entrance Fee
PHP 120 – My lunch + refreshing buko juice and Kuya June’s lunch (I’m feeling generous, libre ko na ikaw kuya)
PHP 300 –Dicasalarin Cove | Beach Entrance Fee (this is a private property of the Angara’s)
PHP 150 – Habal-habal return trip (you’ll be needing a motor ride to and from the cove.
PHP 60 – Souvenir (a keychain for my bag and a ref magnet for my mother dear)
PHP 20 – Buko juice from Kuya ‘coz I need a drink while he’s narrating a story of the Ermita Hill
PHP 30 – Museo de Baler + Aurora Quezon Ancestral House Entrance Fee
PHP 270 – My share for the tour (it’s really PHP 267 per head, but I have no exact bill. Plus I am feeling so generous for the 2nd time, I gave an extra PHP 3 hihi)
PHP 000 – Thanks to our friend from Guam, Luke! I got a free dinner on my 2nd night. Plus a bottle of Banayad Whiskey.
PHP 40 – A cup of coffee on my 3rd day
PHP 15 – Trike fare from the hostel to the bus station
PHP 35 – Take out lunch for the trip
TOTAL: PHP 3,269