Surf's up, Baler! Kill your boredom by trying this fun activity out.
Watch this video of our Baler, Aurora adventure :)
Day 1 4am - Leave Manila for Baler 9am - Stopover at Alfonso Castañeda, Nueva Vizcaya 10am - Ditumabo Mother Falls 2pm - Lunch at Gerry Shan's Place 4pm - Bay-ler View Hotel Check-In 5pm - Surfing 8pm - Dinner at Hotel 9pm - Walk by the shore / kwentuhan Day 2 8am - Breakfast at Hotel 12pm - Check-out 12:30- Baler town tour: Museo de Baler, Bahay ni Aurora, Baler Church (and withdraw from ATM) 2pm - Lunch at Baler town 2:30 - Pasalubong-hunting 3pm - Balete Tree 4pm - Leave Baler for Manila 8pm - NLEX Shell stopover 9pm - Manila Arrival
2500php - Our friend's itinerary (inclusive of Van&Diesel + Accommodation)
Day 1 5 - CR on stopover
25 - Breakfast on stopover
5 - Change into swimming clothes at Ditumabo Mother Falls
50 - DitumaboMother Falls (20 php Entrance fee + 450php/15 persons for the Guide) 15 - 5php turon, 10php BananaQ 5 - Change into dry clothes at DitumaboMother Falls 200 - Lunch at Gerry Shan's place 150 - Surfing (300php per surf board with instructor / 2 persons) 184 - Dinner at Bay-ler view Hotel Day 2 10 - Buko juice 15 - Bahay ni Aurora entrance fee 150 - Buffet lunch 20 - Ice cream 10 - Balete Tree entrance fee 10 - Biko ------------- 3354 php
This was held just last June 27-28, 2015. My friend, Nick, is starting up his "Travel and Tour" business and he invited me to this trip he made. I went along because then I don't have to think about the itinerary, transportation and where to stay.
Nick hired a Van+Driver for the trip. Kuya Ed, the driver, knows his way around Baler. He even told us that it's better to start off with Ditumabo Mother Falls so that we can go directly to our hotel and wash ourselves there afterwards. You can contact him at (0907 922 7317). His van would fit 13 people comfortably, upto 15 people squished (hihi!).
Going there takes around 6-7 hours long. Around 6 hours after our trip, we had a little stop at a gasoline station at Alfonso Castañeda. Right beside that gasoline station, there's a canteen and a pay toilet. The toilet is pretty decent. If you are going to follow this itinerary, better to do all your stuff (change to swimming clothes, do number 1 or number 2) here than at Ditumabo Mother Falls. I'll tell you later why. Knowing that we traveled while the sun is not yet up, it was a bit cold inside the van so most of us had either hot porridge or noodles from the canteen.
Ditumabo Mother Falls
So this is our first adventure. Upon arriving, it's better that you are already in your swimming clothes as there are no toilets or restrooms near the falls itself. But if you're not swim ready yet,there is a pay "toilet" at the entrance. But, omg, it costs 5php for something you can't even call a CR. You pay a different fee for taking a bath (10php), taking a pee, doing number 2 or just changing clothes. What I did only was to change clothes but this ate let me in their storage room (because they are selling other stuff like slippers, shorts, etc) which is full of stock inside and nowhere to put my things. There was even no light inside hence I couldn't see a thing. omg! Such torture.
Anyway, there's an entrance fee of 20php per head and have to pay 450php for the guide, which is of good use because when you're at the falls, you can let him hold your stuff while you swim around because there's no place to put your things there. It's a 30-minute walk from the entry point to the falls. The way is a bit steep and rocky. Sometimes (yes because it's not just one), you have to cross a bridge made out of bamboo to get across the stream. If you get thirsty, there's a natural drinking water along the way.
Tadaaa! Beautiful, isn't it? The water there is sooo cold. I had to dip my whole body and get active underwater to get used to its temperature. The part farther from the falls is deep, and near the falls is shallow. Lots of people there enjoy diving (splashing their body) into the deep area. Apart from that, just watching the falls itself and everything around it is kind of eerie as there are water particles flying everywhere.
There are also fruit and snack stalls along the way. Going back, we stopped at a snack stall where they are selling turon and banana-Q. And before getting into the van, again, we had to change to our dry clothes and use the sh*tty restroom.
Lunch at Gerry Shan's Place
On the upper left is the van we rode :3
All I can say is I got what I paid for. 200php for everything including unlimited buffet meal, iced tea and dessert. I liked it there because there's a variety of food: veggies, chicken, shrimp, fish, squid, beef, pork, etc. And their desserts are really yummy like leche flan, cake, fruit salad, filipino rice cakes. Coming here really is a cheat day.
Bay-ler View Hotel
Good, good nap after the long drive and a bunch of lunch. This hotel has a lot to offer at a cheap price. And, hello?! Infront of the hotel is immediately the beach. They'll give a towel along with a sanitary kit for each guest. The room is airconditioned, shower has water heater, and there's also a TV inside the room. Apart from that, next day breakfast is free.
We also had our dinner here. Their food is so delicious and the serving is for big groups. The staff will say that the viand will fit 2-3 persons, but in reality, it's for 4-5. My tip is that order a number of viand which is equal to 2/3 of your group count. I especially liked their Aligue rice, and also the Filipino favorite: Sinigang. Overall, I like here more than Gerry Shan's because the place is more neat and the food is served nicely. The ambiance is just perfect. You hear the waves loudly gushing on the shore while waiting for the food.
If you don't want to spend so much on dinner, you can try the establishments on the road just a minute walk from the hotel where they offer meals around 50php-150php.
Going back to after our nap, of course we shouldn't miss the highlight of Baler: SURFING! Just infront of the hotel, you can rent out a surf board for 200 per hour. But if you're a beginner, it is preferred to have an instructor along at only 300 per hour (yes, that's including the rent for surf board). At peak season, they offer it at 350 per hour instead. Since I don't like spending a lot, I split the fee with a friend so we take turns surfing.
Surfing is so much fun! It's not difficult unless you have problems with balance like me (tall, slim people problems :P ). Anyhow, it's just my first time ^^.
If you are going to surf, better do it in the afternoon. Don't wait for next day because Baler is in the east (where the sun rises in the morning (general knowledge... duh!)), so obviously, you'll only get burnt skin if you do it in the morning.
Baler Town Tour
Next day after eating our breakfast and checked out of the hotel, we did a tour around the small town of Baler. It would not take more than an hour to roam around all the places. Also, everything is just as close as 20 steps away. Here is a list of what there is to see:
Baler Catholic Church
Bahay ni Aurora
Museo de Baler -- closed when we went there :(
This place never runs out of tourists who want to take a picture with it :)))
Baler Catholic Church
Just some quiet place when there is no mass being held.
Bahay ni Aurora
As told by the caretaker of the house (who also collects the entrance fee), almost all their stuff were transferred to Quezon City Circle Museum. There are only old pictures and paintings of public school students hanging around the house. Those books in the little library are recently published ones. The entrance fee is originally 30php per person. But since there is not much to see at that time, they charged us only 15php per person.
Museo de Baler
It was closed for renovation when we went there :( Infront of it is a park and this big statue of the late President Manuel Quezon.
This one is just infront of the Baler monument. Souvenirs you could find here are magnets, fans which cost around 35php per piece or you could buy 3pcs for 100php. Tshirts are only around 150php. Among other knickknacks you can find are rice cakes, slippers, keychains and native bags and hats.
There is also a Landbank ATM here. If you run out of money while on the trip, of course, you can head here to withdraw.
After all the roaming, we ate lunch at an unlimited buffet karinderia. It is just beside the park located at Aurora cor. Quezon streets. The unlimited meal costs 150php per person.
Every Filipino has heard the scary stories this big old tree, especially the road to it which is Balete drive. The locals believe it to be a dwelling of supernatural beings. Of course, I don't believe in such stories (OR IS IT???)
Going back to stuff that makes more sense. Do you know that you could get inside and through this big tree? It felt like a maze going inside and out :)
Just beside the tree is a small canteen where they cook Filipino rice cakes such as Bico. They sell these freshly cooked lots only 10php a piece. They also sell coconut for 25php which they will open for you if you want to drink it pronto.
On the other side of the tree is a well which I dont know the use of. Maybe just for tourists to take pictures with. hahaha!
Also, don't forget that there's an entrance fee at this area of 10php per person. It is to be payed at the cashier in the canteen area. Don't forget to ask for the "receipt" (in quotes because it's unofficial lol!). There's a person who collects these receipts when you're about to leave the area.
Along the road, are also native filipino stuff such tampipi (backpack), duyan (hammock), walis (broom), storage bins, and baskets.
If you don't plan to spend too much or just want to do surfing, you can opt to ride a JOY BUS from Cubao heading to Baler. It only costs not more than 700php from Cubao to Baler. And then from Baler town, you can ride a trike to resorts for only 20php. Same goes when you get back to Manila area: trike to bus terminal and then Bus to Cubao. The bus is air conditioned with plenty of space so you could sit comfortably while on the road.