After 6 months of internship, and finally being able to graduate in college, I am officially a unemployed! What better way to kill time before local board exam is to wander while I still have the opportunity.

Hearing stories from my mom on how she was able to travel across the globe when she was a young adult inspired me to look forward to this very day. So when I stumbled upon Travel Factor, I decided to book a tour to Baler with my mom on April 9-11, 2015. Their package includes roundtrip air-con transfer, accommodation, 2-hour-surfing with instructor, travel insurance, and inland tour.

Our call time was 12:00 am in Ortigas, and we departed at 2:00am (supposedly, 1:00am). By 7:00 am, we finally reached Baler, and stayed at La Flor, our lodging for the rest of the trip. The place is a budget-type lodging, perfect for travellers who seeks cheaper accommodations.

Our first activity was surfing, of course. Baler is a famous surfing spot near Manila that is easily accessible by riding a bus or private car. There are many beaches in this province, but Sabang Beach has been a good choice, especially for beginners. Surfing schools are also located nearby.

I have never tried to surf in my life, and have not been a very good swimmer, so I was a little uneasy about the whole concept of surfing. But the instructors in Baler are kind and optimistic, and having been taught on to ride a surfboard properly, and how to maintain balance, it made the whole experience fun. After a few wipeouts, I was finally able to stand on my own and enjoy a long ride with my board. On that moment, I thought of switching career, and pursue becoming a professional surfer! LOL Honestly, it was a thrilling experience.

 At around 10:00 am, we proceeded on our tour. Our first stop was Ditumabo Falls, also known as Mother Falls. Along the way to Ditumabo, you’ll be able to pass by a smaller waterfall called Daughter Falls. Our travel coordinator (Hey, Jabin!) hired tricycles for the inland tour. From our drop-off point, we trekked up for 30-45 minutes before reaching the destination. Along the way, there are small stores open that offers food, souvenirs, and drinks.

By the time we reached the Mother Falls, my phone battery died! Betrayal at its best 🙁

Then we headed to the Balete Tree, a 600-year-old tree, so huge it could actually eat an entire village (just kidding!). Sadly, I wasn’t able to take a picture (again). After, we went back again to Sabang Beach.

For dinner, we went to Yellow Fin, a local grill restaurant near our La Flor. They serve the best seafood, plus price is cheap. It’s no brainer why the place is packed with people during the night. I suggest you make a reservation in the afternoon. Check out for their grilled squid, it’s simply the best.

The next day, we woke up at 7:00 am for our call time. By 8:00 am, we continued with our inland tour. Our first destination was Ermita Hills.

From the deck, you will be able to see the Pacific Ocean. Different hues of blue separated, and connected at the same time, it’s effortlessly breathtaking. For someone, like me, to see this for the first time, I was left in awe.

  

Our next stop was Dicasalarin Cove. This beach is perfect for beach bumming, as the waves ranges from flat to small. Try to visit the lighthouse located on the side of the beach to get a better view of the cove. There are restaurants and cottages available so we stayed here for lunch.

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On the afternoon, we went to Museo de Baler and to Maria Aurora’s House for our final stop. At around 3:00 pm, we finally went back to La Flor.

For dinner, we went to Gerry Shan’s Place, a buffet restaurant, with Gladys, and her family. For PHP 200.00/head, they offer a wide selection of good food.

On our last day in Baler, there was nothing planned to do, so it was basically a free time. My mom and I decided to go to the wet market to buy some lobsters, but there were no available lobsters that time as the port distributes seafoods to the market every afternoon. We went shopping for thrift clothes instead since there’s an ukay-ukay nearby.

We still had few time to kill so we rented a tricycle going to the Hanging Bridge located in Barangay Zubali. After that, we went to Sabang Beach for another session of surfing (I have to seize the moment!) before heading back to Manila.

I’m glad I was able to see a glimpse of what Philippines really is. I just realized that I was a foreigner of my own country, and I wanted to do something about that. I never thought how big the potential our country possesses in terms of tourism. I want to keep exploring, and learn our culture. I believe experience is a great teacher, and I’m looking forward to visit the other parts of the Philippines soon!

PS: Also, I need to invest on a camera.

Notes:

  • By public transportation, ride a bus going to Baler. Travel time is usually 5-6 hours.
  • For inland tours, there are tricycles readily available around that you can rent for the whole day. They also have package tours already.
  • People of Baler are nice. Since it’s my first time to travel out of town, I am surprised how people could be that kind.
  • I think surfboard rental is around PHP 200.00, and instructor’s fee is also PHP 200.00
  • Trekking up to the Ditumabo Falls depends on your pace. It’s fairly easy, but take caution as you have to cross a river, and pass through a bridge made of bamboo.
  • Look out for the Tromba Marina Statue located at the foot of Ermita Hill. It depicts the story of locals who survived the great waves of the sea by climbing the hill.