Baler is said to be the surfing capital of the Philippines maybe because it is the first place that Pinas surfing was born. According to the residence it was started when the movie Apocalypse was shot in the area.
The most challenging part here is the reservation of the bus, well, you have three options, the first one is the Genesis’s Joybus, their luxury bus going to Baler the other one is the standard bus and the last one is the split trip, you have to get on a bus going to Cabanatuan and from there you need another ride to Baler
If you want to have a comfortable journey you need to reserve a slot in Joybus a month before your trip, it is spacious indeed and it also provides snack for their passengers and even a blanket. (don’t forget to bring jacket, aircondition is so cold)and it also has comfort room on board because it doesn’t have stop over. The travel time is 4-5 hours. They have 3 trips in a day 12:30am 1:30am and 3:30am.
If you are not lucky enough to get a slot in Joybus and you still want to pursue they still have the standard bus and it is airditioned as well.
We had the first trip which is 12:30am, the trip was smooth and you will not notice the travel time since all passengers were asleep. We arrived at the terminal at 5:00am. From terminal you have to ride a tricycle to sabang front beach for 12php each. We headed straight to Bay’s Inn restaurant since they said it is the only place that is open at early morning. They offer breakfast buffet for 150php each only, all the foods were delicious (SULIT!)
We still don’t have a place to stay so we tried our luck and find a lodge in the vicinity and luckily we still got a vacant room in Surfer Girls Lodge for 1,300 2pax and air conditioned, it does have tv too. For a group who is travelling for a limited budget we found a decent homestay in June Samano Homestay for just 1,500 for 5 pax and it is also airconditioned with private comfort room.
After settling down and catching some rest we rented a surf board and hired an instructor since it was our first time
Surf board 200php/hour
But you can rent a board for half day or whole day if you can already be on yourself.
After a surfing lesson we went on a tour to the Mother Falls and Balete Tree. All the means of transportation here is tricycle, you can’t see any jeepney on the road actually, so we hired a tricycle and a driver whose name is King to give us a tour for 800php, since we are four in group we just paid 200php per head.
The falls is 30 minutes away from Sabang and when we got to the jump off we need to trek for an hour to the main attraction. Once we reached the falls it looks majestic J and the water is so cold but still tolerable.
After that we went straight to Balete Tree and can you believe it the age of the tree is 600! Mother of all trees ha ha! You can even go inside of it and for more adventure climb at the top of the tree.
For our dinner we went to the famous Gerry Shan’s restaurant you can have an eat all you can buffet for only 180php and the food were also delightful and right after that we went to Bayler View to have some drinks.
There is ongoing surfing competition when we are in Baler so it is really fun watching the pros surfing especially with the first timers like us.
To maximize the stay you can still surf in the morning which has the best waves. And right after that we packed our things and had our lunch at rolling store they were the cariderias at the town proper and since our bus will leave at 3:00pm and it is still early we managed to take a tour in Baler Museum and Donya Aurora Quezon House and it is for free! All I can say is our free time is well spent :D Thanks anyway to Boy 2 for the tour and your action star stories :D
Will visit again Baler for sure, it gave us new adventure and new friends as well. And another amusing thing is that you can see the camaraderie in the place and their warm welcome to their guests even if they are from different places.