The Road Less Traveled: I Did Not Surf in Baler

When you say you’re going to Baler, 99.9% of the time people think you’re going there to surf.

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I did not.

It was one cool non-summer morning. Things were taking a toll on me.

I just had to leave.

So I packed my just unpacked luggage. Filled it with shirts and shorts I can use for the beach.

I had to go. Immediately.

At first, I didn’t have a destination. But I thought, why not Baler? I haven’t been there. No memories to think about.

Fresh start.

DAY 1

The drive to Baler isn’t really that long. I had a stopover in Pampanga so from there it just took a little close to four hours.

Four hours of wide, open sometimes twisty roads. Four hours of green backdrop. Four hours of fresh air. Four hours of singing in the car. Four hours to start contemplating.

I arrived in Baler a little past over lunch.

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I had no place to stay in.

I was still fortunate that it wasn’t peak season so finding an inn was pretty easy. I walked-in one and got a room.

I heard good things about Bayler View Inn online.

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And I heard they have good food at the restaurant too. That’s where I stayed and where I ate.

Baler (7) Baler (8)I strongly recommend you try Bayler View’s generous and scrumptious servings of Battered Butter Chicken and Bagnet Pinakbet. 

After unloading my stuff, I went to the beach.

I tried to read a book. No success.

I tried to write my thoughts. No success.

So, I just stared at the beach from noon until dusk.

I had a few cocktails to drink then I retired to my room.

Baler (6)Frozen Margarita because it’s always drink o’clock somewhere.

I wanted to leave again in the morning. Keep on moving. But then again, why not explore the place?

DAY 2

I woke up early in the morning in an attempt to see the sun rise. However, thick clouds blocked the view.

Today, I was going to see the Mother Falls. I heard it’s not to be missed when in Baler.

I agree to whoever said that.

Baler (9)First stream you pass going to the Mother Falls.

The Mother Falls is located in Brgy. Ditumabo in the town of San Luis, Aurora, which is a stone’s throw from Baler.

In Brgy. Ditumabo, there is a tricycle stop that you can take to the entrance of the falls. Tricycle fare is PhP 200 back and forth. The ride was on a rough road, if you have a big car, it may be possible not to take a tricycle.

At the entrance of the falls, you need to pay an environmental fee worth PhP 30. You also need to log in, for safety purposes.

From the entrance to the falls, it is roughly a 1.3-kilometer trek. The trek isn’t that hard even for newbie trekkers and not so fit people like me. Also, the trail is somewhat paved already because there are bamboo bridges and ropes you use when walking on streams of water or large rocks.

For first timers, it is highly recommended to hire a guide. Fee is PhP 300. If you have a nice guide like mine, tip.

The view of the 147-foot falls was awesome. Take a dip. The water is super cold. I liked it. Going in it somewhat felt like it melted all my troubles away.

Baler (3)Mother Falls!

I stayed there for a good hour.

After that, I still had time to spare so I drove off to see the famed Balete tree in Maria, Aurora.

Baler (10)600-year old Balete tree

DAY 3

I woke up early, yet again, to get a glimpse of the sunrise.

Today was my lucky day. The sun shone bright. I felt like there was hope.

After a quick breakfast, I decided to hit the road again.

I was headed to Isabela, taking more roads less traveled. I swear, the next road I took is the roughest I have ever been. Buwis buhay ika nga.

Baler (1)Casiguran, Aurora. I passed by Quirino going to Isabela. This is somewhat the entry point to the roughest road I have ever drove on.

But that’s another story.

I did not go to Baler to surf. I watched a lot of people surf though.

That may be a travesty but I went to this place surrounded by angry ocean waves to calm my nerves, to see the bigger perspective on things, and not to take my life back but to possibly have a fresh start.

Btw, to my good friend Cai, I can’t thank you enough for being my professional travel buddy. 🙂

Read more about my previous road less traveled trip.

Aside from surf, what else did you do when you visited Baler?






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