Baler is the capital of Aurora in the Philippines. It is located 231 km (144 mi) north-east of Manila via a mountain pass reachable by bus and private vehicles. It is host to remarkable earthly formations and is sited on a massive plain at the south end of the Baler Bay, a neighboring sector of the Philippine Sea.
Baler is known for various tourist fascinations. There’s the Baler Catholic Church and other historic spots. There are resorts found in Sabang Beach and Cemento Beach. And according to research, it is where surfers from all over the world compete for the annual International Aurora Surfing Cup. Baler is dubbed as one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines.
Our Trip to Baler
I just wanted to share our short stay in Baler Aurora. Together w/ my boyfriend’s family and his friends. We came from Pasig and meet up with friends somewhere in Makati. If I can recall correctly, we left pasig at about 3:30 AM. We arrived in makati before 4:00 AM. And off we go! It was a really long drive. We took the route to North Luzon Express Way. We didn’t get the chance to stop over for a breakfast. Good thing we have food. It was a a 5 to 6 hour drive from Makati to Baler. I took the time to compile short video clips and compile it as shown below. (Original YouTube video here)
Arrival in Baler
We arrived at the resort in Baler at about 10:40 AM then checked in at SMART Beach House. The room is just a simple bed room with 2 double size beds,one bathroom and a flat screen TV. I suggest that if you’ll be spending most of your time outdoors, then don’t get an expensive room or resort. The receptionist from the resort explained that we had to pay an extra 400 if we wanted to check in early because original check in time is at 12:00 PM. So we agreed to that.
We had a delicious brunch care of my Jeff’s mom. The resort is located in front of the beach, not bad.
Trying out Gerry Shan’s
There was 4 of us who headed out for lunch to try Gerry Shan’s. It’s a popular buffet restaurant in Baler. So we arrived there and it was a bit crowded but it didn’t take too long for us to find a table. The buffet cost 200 pesos per person. The variety of food are mostly Filipino dishes, particularly seafood. They also have kakanin and fruits for dessert. Basically nothing so special on this buffet restaurant but I loved their sinigang na bangus and grilled hito or eel (which ran out too quickly). The grilled eel is very tasty and good to pair with vinegar, soy sauce, onions and red chili.
2 of our friends arrived there too to have lunch. I didn’t get the change to take pictures as I was too busy eating. I’m rating the quality of food plus the environment a 7 out of 10. Because most of the food are typical, and they ran our of grilled eel (oh yes that’s a factor). For the environment, I find it not too spacious and the crew don’t immediately clean up after the guests leave.
Day Time Tour at the Rock Formations
Post lunch we went to Aniao Islet. Along with the rock formations, there are also dead reef and small ponds that accommodates different sea animals. It is just very difficult to walk through the reef and rocks here. I also noticed that the rocks and reef are warm. Apologies for the low quality res. of photos. I just snipped it from my YouTube video.
Dinner at Yellow Fin Grill
We took a rest back at the resort. We didn’t get the time to swim at the beach. By the time we woke up, it’s already dinner time. So we took a ride in one of our friends car to look for a place where we can have dinner. We are looking for Baler Grill Restaurant but apparently it was closed. So we found ourselves waiting on the line at Yellow Fin Grill. The place was full but we decided to wait for our turn and order in advance.
I am so overwhelmed with seafood. This type of food are the ones that I always look forward to on every beach outing ♥ I ordered grilled squid this time. Each order is for sharing. I remember they ordered grilled liempo (its pork belly), sinigang na hipon (Hipon is shrimp), and I can’t recall what are the others. The Yellow Fin Grill is a 2-floor nipa hut-like restaurant and they also have a bar at the 2nd floor. They have disco lights and good Filipino alternative music too. I’m rating this place a 9 out of 10. Because food is really delicious and place is just right.
Chillin’ by the beach
After our dinner we setup drinks (liquor) and I prepared nachos in a hut in front of the beach. It was a rainy night. The beach is a total pitch black with no lights at all. The only lights in the area are those of from the resorts. We hang out there for like 2 hours or more, then went to sleep.
Breakfast at Bay’s Inn & Hiking to Mother Falls
We had a breakfast buffet in Bay’s Inn. I love their shredded Beef Tapa and they have these bubbly seaweeds which is paired with their specialty sauce. It’s a mixture of alamang (shrimp paste) with salted egg. So delicious! It’s a must try. The breakfast buffet cost 200 per person. I’m giving this a 9 out of 10 because of how delicious their food is.
After our breakfast, Jeff tried quick surfing lessons. Too bad we don’t have pictures and videos of it. we drove out of the resort and went to hike Baler’s Mother Falls. It was a 30-50 minutes hike. Inclusive of photo ops and taking a quick dip into the river.
Photo above shows our quick dip and photo op in a mini falls before we arrive at the Mother Falls. The water is so freezing cold! And the pressure is really strong. I warn you guys to be extra careful. So from this location I think it took us 25 minutes before we reach the beauty of Baler’s Mother Falls.
This is such a beautiful view and worth the hike. If this is the Mother Falls, there must be a Father Falls? That is a sensible thought and not a joke lol. According to our tour very helpful tour guide, YES there is a Father Falls and it is right above the Mother Falls. But it is not recommended for regular tourist to hike going up there. Only the professional hikers were able to go to the top of the Father Falls.
That summarizes everything. That’s how we made the most of our overnight stay in Baler. Almost everyone missed the joy of surfing. Perhaps we’ll stay a little longer in Baler. One day dedicated to surfing and one day dedicated to exploring more of Baler.
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Photo credits to:
Rian Cayabyab, Engel Guevarra, Sharbeth Salazar
Video edit by “me”