SURFING CAPITAL OF THE NORTH
When we heard surfing, Baler is the place to be. Locals are friendly and accommodating, food is good and the waves are naturally beautiful. The place of Baler is the place to because of not just the sea but also their nature and culture.
Baler is very accessible by land from Metro Manila, we do not have to go through the risk of getting a flight cancelled. Baler has always been known as a surfing destination and we’re not really into surfing. However, this town and its surrounding municipalities have so much more to offer besides riding the waves of the wild Pacific blue.
By private vehicle: If coming from Manila, take the NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), then the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) and exit at La Paz. Take the road going to Cabanatuan City then, just before you enter Cabanatuan, follow the road going to Pantabangan and all the way to Baler. The drive will normally take 5 hours. You will pass by the scenic Pantabangan Dam and a mountainous stretch of the Aurora Memorial National Park where the road becomes steep and winding but negotiable.
By bus: There are regular air con buses such as Genesis that go directly to Baler for P550 per person. Travel time is 6-7 hours. Genesis also has a Joy Bus Executive option which is a more comfortable non-stop ride complete with wi-fi, pillows, blankets and snacks for P750. They also have a comfort room aboard these buses. Travel time on the Joy Bus is about 5-6 hours.
In our case, we choose the Joy bus, more convenient and we book our trip 10pm and the departure time is 1:00am
TIP: Buy your ticket advance because trips are very even if its not peak season. I encourage book early or else next trip will be the next day (less hassle, less worries)
If you have your own car, it will be very easy to explore Baler. The roads are mostly paved, and tourist attractions are not that far apart. If you want, you can just hire a guide to give you directions and more local insights about each stop. Guide fee: P500.
Otherwise, you have four options.
- By van. P2500 per day. Good for up to 10 pax.
- By tricycle. Full day tour, P800 per day. Half-day tour, P300. Up to 3 pax.
- By bicycle. Mountain bike rental, P300 per day or P35 per hour.
- By motorcycle. Cheapest motorbike rental we found, P800 per day. Not sure if there are lower options.
WHERE TO STAY
There is a wide range of accommodations in Baler from home-stays(Transient Houses) to luxurious resorts. Many of them are located right on Sabang Beach along with several cafes and restaurants, but there are also a few more located in the town proper and some much further out such as the ones in Cemento Beach, Diguisit Beach and Dicasalarin Cove, all southeast of Sabang. We settled at my Co-Teacher’s Friend House at Sabang, just a few steps away from the beach. This Transient House is affordable, clean, well-maintained and run by friendly and accommodating owners and staff. This Transient House cost 2000 PHP/night good for 4 People, this includes Air Con, 1 King Sized Bed, 1 Double Deck Bed, TV and Comfort Room. Its Cheap and affordable.
WHAT TO DO
If you’re traveling within Baler town, the tricycle will be your main mode of public transport. You can also hire trikes to take you to destinations outside Baler including the Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, the Balete Park & Millennium Tree in Maria Aurora and even Ampere Beach in Dipaculao (1 hour away by trike). The trike drivers double as tour guides. Many will offer tour packages for a day or half a day.
My friend which is a local from baler arrange us a tour on a discounted price. we decided to take the day trike tour to the following:
- Diguisit Beach
- Museo de Baler
- Ermita Hill
- Manuel Luis Quezon Monument
- Baler Church
- Baler Emblem
- Doña Aurora Quezon House
- Ditumabo Falls (Mother Falls)
- Aniao Islet View
What is Baler without Surfing? Sabang Beach the popular beach in Baler, Aurora. This is the main reason why people love to go to baler. And this place is the best place for surfing at least for beginners and amateur surfers. You can learned here and rent a surfboard for 1 hour at a cost of 300PHP. Not bad at this price. Locals here offers quick surfing lesson and guide you when you are in the sea.
Surfing lesson costs: Php 350 per hour with personal surfing instructor. Board rental is Php 200 per hour.
The Hanging bridge is a steel cable foot bridge over the moss-green waters if the Tibag-Sabang River. Thos river empties into Baler Bay at the south of Sabang Beach.
A private beach tucked neatly behind the hills of Baler. If you plan on visiting, you will have to register beforehand at Costa Pacifica. (The two properties are owned by the same owner.) If you want to maximize your stay here, we recommend dedicating an entire morning.
Again, tricycles can’t access this because the road is too steep so you might want to pre-arrange a habal-habal ride to take you to Dicasalarin from the trike dropoff point. Your tricycle driver likely knows someone.
Opening hours: 8am-5pm
Entrance Fee: P300 (P100 for Costa Pacifica guests)
Habal-habal ride: P200-P300 roundtrip
Baler also have a magnificent Mother Falls. This also adventurers want. Especially the adventurous one. The Ditumabo Falls are often called by locals the Mother Falls because it is believed to be the biggest in the province. The hike to the falls carried us over rocky ground, rickety bamboo bridges over streams and at least two stream crossings.
Where the six families who survived the tsunami ran to. From here, you can enjoy a great view of Baler town and Sabang Beach and other surrounding areas. The entrance fee goes to the scholarship of several students at a nearby college.
Entrance Fee: P15
Parking Fee: P10
- Buy/ Book your Joy Bus Ticket. Buying Ticket early save you to the que and also you can pick your seat in the joy bus.
- Eat at cheaper eateries. The sample itinerary above urges you to eat at Bayler View or Kubli Bistro, but there are much cheaper food places around town. P100 should be more than enough for a decent meal.
- Baler Market also have a cheap karinderya (cheap resto) that cos 50 per meal just ride a tricycle going to the town proper. You can catch the Jollibee on a cart or Chowking.
- Wrap up your tour early so you could catch the 2pm Genesis bus to Manila instead of taking the Joybus. It will save you P200.
- As mentioned, the cost will drop significantly if you have your own ride and your group is bigger. This way you have more to split the gas and toll expenses with.
- Joybus Ride Going to Baler: 750PHP
- Tricycle Ride Going to Sabang Beach: 10PHP
- Transient House (2000x2nights) 4 pax: 1000PHP
- Lunch (Eat all you can): 200PHP
- Sabang Beach Swimming (FREE)
- *Surfing + Instructor: 300PHP
- Dinner: 120PHP
- TOTAL: 2,380PHP
- Breakfast : 0PHP
- Haft day TOUR (400PHP) 4 pax: 100PHP
- Lunch (The Driver drove us to the
- seafood house eat all you can): 200PHP
- Dinner: 100PHP
- TOTAL: 400PHP
- Breakfast ; 100PHP
- Falls Tour (400PHP) 4pax: 100PHP
- Lunch: 100PHP
- Pasalubong Center: 300PHP
- Joy Bus Ticket to Manila: 750PHP
- TOTAL: 1,350PHP
TOTAL 3Days 2 Nights: 4,130PHP
Day 1: Sabang Beach
10:00pm- ETD to Manila *Were from Batangas 🙂
12:00am- Buy ticket at Genesis Bus Hop to Farmers Plaza for Dinner
01:30 am- ETD Genesis Bus Cubao
08:00 am- ETA Baler
08:30 am- Early hotel check in or baggage drop
09:00 am- Breakfast
10:00 am- Sleep (we don’t have a enough sleep )
02:20 pm- Eat late lunch
03:00 pm- Back to Hotel (Getting Ready for our Sabang Beach Swimming)
05:00 pm- Freshen up
05:30 pm- Book a Tour for Whole Day Tour
07:00 pm- Dinner
10:00pm- Lights out
Day 2: Dicasalarin Tour
Start Tricycle Tour
09:30 am- Transfer to habal-habal
09:40 am- Dicasalarin Cove
11:40 am- Aniao Rock Formations
12:00 pm- Diguisit Falls
01:00 pm- Lunch at Poblacion (end tour)
02:00 pm- Back at hotel, rest
03:30 pm- Surf time at Sabang Beach!
05:30 pm- Watch sunset
06:10 pm- Freshen up at hotel
07:30 pm- Dinner
10:00 pm- Lights out
Day 3: DITUMABO FALLS + TOWN TOUR
07:00 am- Start tricycle tour
07:30 am- Ditumabo Falls
09:30 am- Balete Park
10:30 am- Continue tour: see other stops
12:30 pm- Lunch at Kubli Bistro (end tour)
02:00 pm- Back at hotel, check out
03:30 pm- Joybus to Manila