Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baler, and the Weekend I Fell in Love with a Tree



I found myself in the lovely capital of Aurora this weekend.


Took a bus with my old roommates at 2:30 in the morning and fell asleep almost immediately.. By the time I woke up, I saw this dazzling view outside my window :)


Then finally we were there. Good morning Baler! Baler is a quaint town up North, and is well known as a surfer's landing, and most rightly so. Almost everyone in the water was there surfing, or at least trying to learn how to surf! The beach itself doesn't have white sand, but it was really clean. But though most people associate Baler with surfing, I found a lot of other reasons to love the place :)

We took a trike from Sabang Beach (200 pesos to the tree and back cause it's pretty far) and headed over to this beautiful, beautiful Balete tree. It was perfect. I love trees. I love everything about them. You can explore this tree from outside and from inside, and light streams in while you climb through its tangle of roots and cobwebs and leaves, and I fell in love! Comic junkies out there might be reminded of the tree in local graphic novel, Trese.

Illustration from http://tresekomix.blogspot.com/
Me coming down from the lovely tree

On the way to the tree and back, we explored the town quite a bit and checked out the local culture. We went to the market, ate in the carinderias and just enjoyed the province where time always seems much slower and the air always feels much cleaner. Also beer seems to taste so much better when you can enjoy the sound of the waves with it.


We left Baler and enjoyed dusk on the road--the light was all yellow. We went home feeling really tired but there is really nothing like being able to travel with people you love :)

Footnotes:


How to get to Baler from Manila / Quezon City:
It's really easy getting there and back, I'm sure there are a lot of options, but the Genesis bus line has trips going straight there. We took one from Cubao and paid about 450 PHP. They also have the Genesis Joybus, which we took going back to Manila for 650--the extra 200 was worth it since the joybus was really nice and clean and had really comfy spacey seats with a blanket and pillow. They even gave nuts and a cupcake and mineral water :) When you get to the last stop, just take a trike to Sabang Beach if you plan to surf. From Sabang, a lot of places are accessible.

Where to Stay in Baler:
There are lots of really cheap accommodations around the area. Try Bahia de Baler, or Bay's Inn for an even cheaper option (we paid 900 for 4 of us in Bay's Inn cause Bahia was fully booked, but don't expect a super nice room--just a place to sleep and shower in).

Travel Tips / What To Do:

Surf: You can't go there and not surf. Surfing lessons are cheap, just 300-400 PHP for an hour. There are a bunch of places offering surfing lessons in the area, you don't need even need to make a reservation to try this. Also I think you're helping the locals cause they're usually the ones teaching :) Just make sure to keep safe!

We ran out of time, but we really wanted to try the ATV's, which they were renting out! You can explore the town in ATV's. You can also jog in the morning--a lot of people were doing this, and I really wished I brought my running shoes with me! Food there is cheap, too--try the carinderias to cut costs and at the same time sort of experience the place like a local. We visited the markets around the area also--it was pretty interesting :) Again, we didn't have time, but you can also try visiting the waterfalls in the area. You can also ask the trike drivers to help you out--they're really accommodating and will gladly bring you anywhere :) On its own the trike ride is fun! You'll really get to see and experience the place.

I hope this entry helps! I kinda want to make my posts useful since I've been kinda traveling around the Philippines lately anyway :) On a side note, I missed the Hot Air Balloon Festival this year for the first time in 5 years! I think it was worth it, though--I guess seeing the balloons 4 years in a row is more than enough!

Have a happy week, everyone!

With Light,
Hannah xx
--


for whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea (or in my case, a tree)
-ee cummings 

28 comments:

  1. I love your adventures! I wish I could live a life like yours. :) Pa-travel2 lang.

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    1. Hi Vim! Thanks! Haha I'm pretending this is my Master's degree :)) I am learning a lot! Marami pa kong gusto makita sa Pinas :)

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  2. That shot of you in the tree is just gorgeous! And the portraits are great as always. Been dying to travel again since LN. Need to get away soon! Nice one! Mirma has some really great profile pics :)

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    1. I know! After LN my travel bug has been biting me even harder, as if that was even possible. Let's hopefully travel together again soon! :) I miss everyone! :(((((

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  3. I have always loved your adventures ♥

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    1. Thanks Ruthie! :) You should try visiting the place it's awesome :)

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  5. You will be a great naturalist, Hannah! I love your adventures because you always explore your own country's hidden paradises. As for myself, I really want to go to Borneo. It's near your country, by the way. I bet you'll like it. Inform me if you're planning to go to Indonesia :)

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    1. So kind of you! I'll let you know for sure, I've always wanted to see Bali :) But I'm currently saving up for India! So difficult to find cheap flights!

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  6. Hannah, check this out haha :D

    http://lakad-pilipinas.blogspot.com/2011/11/after-posting-article-about-maria.html

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    1. OMG Christian giving me the creeps so early in the morninggggg! But then I looked at the photos, no nga naman.. I guess it really depends on you what you see, huh? I hope I don't get those emails I'll probably freak out and my experience of the tree might change a wee bit :(

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  7. Nice pictures Hannah. Makes me wanna go and try the trip too. And the tree shot, wow! Keep travelling and taking great photos along the way... :)

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    1. Thank you! Wow, I'm so humbled that my little posts actually inspire people to go there as well. Let's explore the Pinas! Big thanks, I really hope I do get to keep traveling and taking better photos. Wish me luck!

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  8. I've always thought Baler was an island, haha! How many hours did it take to travel from Manila? The tree is very majestic, oh my gosh.

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    1. About 6 hours! I didn't know anything about Baler either prior to this! And yes that was an amazing tree :)

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  9. Beautiful photos Hannah!! ^_^

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  10. Hi hannah. I have been looking at your pictures way back but this is the first time I would make a comment on your post. Your pictures are very nice indeed, especially the ones posted here regarding your baler trip. I have visited that place too just last year and I just enjoyed the town. Have been on that balete tree too as well as the beach, market and the pasalubong center. With this blog of yours, I plan to study photography so I can document my trips since I love wandering around and take little trips around the country. Im hoping to visit provinces in the south particularly in Mindanao next time. Well, thanks for the inspiration and I hope you success and fun in your yellow adventures. I would then browse your blog from time to time to get info bits about which place to visit next. Will wait for your next posts.:)

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    1. Hello, Stranger! :)

      Thank you for your kind words. Baler is really awesome, isn't it? :) I'll try to post more things as soon as I can, and thanks for keeping posted on my adventures! I hope that in some way they help with yours :) I'm hoping to go to Mindanao also! Have a lovely week xx Hannah

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    2. sorry i forgot to include my name. Im Pao. I heard you went here in UPLB (this is my school, anyway). I remember now the posters hanging all over the campus before regarding the symposium.

      After my graduation, I also plan to visit as many places as I can. Well, I admire your dedication for your craft and never fearing to pursue your passion. Anyways, good luck. All the best.

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    3. Oh wow, fellow iskolar! :) Haha yes that talk was a great experience, though it scared me to death to give my talk! I posted footage of my speech here in my blog :) You should really take time off after graduation, I reckon! No time but in your twenties to explore and backpack and learn everything you want to learn, eh? :) Big thanks, Pao!

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  11. lovely pictures and truly informative blog (made me want to hop on a bus to baler asap). looking forward to seein your other posts. have included a trip to baler in my bucket list. good luck and blessed be in your adventures and photography =)-tin

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    1. Hi Tin!

      Thank you so much for your comment :) I do hope I get to update my blog soon, I have many adventures to share. Here's to bucket lists! :)

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  12. Very nice photos from you as usual. Wew! Baler. I hope I can go back there soon...

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    1. Thanks! :) Yes Baler is quite charming, isn't it? Will go back once the weather is sunnier!

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  13. i love it when you take photos... with just one shot you capture its essence... good job hannah! :)

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