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  • Writer's pictureMags Rafael-Salvador

Baler, then and now

Arriving Baler, Aurora at 5am, via Luxury Coach. The drive was a bit bumpy and you can really feel the zigzag roads on the way. The driver was very careful and skillful navigating his way through the darkness and dawn light. No check in at the hotel yet, we proceeded to attend the 10th Philippine – Spanish Friendship Day. Then there was a sumptuous lunch, afternoon was spent visiting The Artist Village which showcases art work, oil paintings, artifact and antiques. It has this beautiful edifice shown on the left which looks as though it’s built somewhere in Baguio without the cold crisp air but instead with breathe of fresh air, smell of trees, mountain and the feel of warm air which goes in and out freely while inside the architecture.

Not a few meters away is the Dicasalarin Cove, guests who are staying in Bahia de Baler may ask for a tour on the island. It’s surprising to see a lighthouse on top of a mountain (right picture). The Dicasalarin beach which is becoming popular among beach lovers is located on the foothills of Sierra Madre mountain range, you can hear the gentle waves from the Pacific Ocean which is a welcome music for me.

Dicasalarin Cove
Dicasalarin Cove

Time was not a luxury we have right now, I believe a full morning would be ample time to experience the whole beach and see more of the rock formations, unspoiled charm and its natural beauty. We moved on to check in at our hotel Bahia De Baler I to rest and prepare for the next day.

Baler is also known for great sunrise photos. I made sure to experience one whilst I’m there. From the resort I went to walk to Sabang Beach (Two minutes walk max) and I am so not disappointed. The view was so breathtakingly picturesque that I had to call others to witness it as well.

Sunrise at Costa Pacifica, Baler

Immediately after breakfast, we proceeded for some adventure! We walked, hiked, crossed running waters, got wet and made our way to reach the Ditumabo Falls. It was my first time and it’s really exhilarating, tired is the last thing that can come to your mind once you reach the falls. It was so stunning and I wasn’t expecting to dive into the waters, but I did! The water was so cold and yet, very inviting to cool you down after the long walk.. Indeed, life has great pleasures!

In the afternoon we needed to go back at the resort for lunch, and get ready for the surfing lessons. Waves in Sabang Beach is good to start your surfing lessons. Most resort by the beach offers surfing lessons to guests with minimum of P300 for one hour inclusive of surf board rental. This time I did not join the surfing lessons and opted to swim in the beach instead.

And before the day ended we attended the Holy Mass at Baler church, made more famous because of the movie “Baler”. This is where most shots in the film were taken. Actually one of the Tourism Officers in Baler is an actor from the said movie. The evening went so fast, time really flies fast when you’re having fun! Nigh time in Baler is not so busy like other beach destination. Here, night time is simple, take a stroll in the shore under the moonlight, go in a café , go karaoke singing in local restos or simply bring a novel and have a good read.

Museo De Baler
Museo de baler

The next morning it was pure cultural heritage and exploring the town proper of Baler. We visited Museo de Baler which houses significant pieces that narrates the history of Baler during the Spanish colonization. It also creates an ambiance of modern museum with the “Like us on Facebook” area and “I love Baler” back draft provided for photo op. There was also photo and poetry exhibit as well as featured Filipino filmmakers which the Instituto Cervantes made a detailed touring exhibit in the museum. Bonus is finding the actual car which Manuel Quezon used parked outside the museum, it is vintage and still looked superb even after all these years.

In the town proper we also visited the interesting Bahay ni Aurora and the local town market which sells different souvenirs and goodies. They have here famous peanut butter, the not so sweet and oily but with distinct creamy peanut flavor which makes a nice pasalubong. Last stop was the largest Balete Tree in the Philippines, roots as huge as electrical post and tree as tall as a low rise building. It’s size was a challenge to fit it in one frame. Inside are more thick roots which formed smaller caves inside the trunk. Good thing it’s still early so it’s not that scary but it still feels creepy and I can’t imagine how would it feel near this tree when it’s nigh time already…

T’was late in the afternoon that we went back to Manila and ended our Baler experience. The trip, the long drive, the serene beach, the rich history coupled with adventure and simple living was indeed a Thumbs Up getaway experience for travel enthusiast like me!

***This article was originally published at

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