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.
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 :)
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!
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)