(I noticed that a lot of people were reading this particular blog post so I will add to it. Was supposed to create another post on biking around Baler but it never materialized..heheheh..so here is the new and improved one)
Baler is the capital of Aurora Province located on the Pacific Ocean Side of the Philippines. It was the birth place of surfing in my country through the movie Apocalypse Now way back. Obviously, it is a surfing haven for enthusiast and that is one of the reasons I decided to go there for my birthday last May 16.
Yes, inevitably, we all age every year. I still have two years left before my age doesn’t appear in the calendar (yes, the freshness of my youth is slowly fading LOL). It has been a custom of mine that I go out and have an adventure on my birthday despite the disagreement of my parents. But hey, I guess I am old enough to stick to my decisions. I take this “me” time to think and access myself and plan for the future. It does sound selfish but getting out to an adventure makes me think more plus the adventure of course.
So for this year, I went to Baler. It was a quiet town but very busy on the shores of Sabang Beach (one of this town’s beaches) as it is the popular stop of the surfers and enthusiasts. In the town, it follows the same plaza complex, there the government building, church and park are located at the center. But the town also boasts of history.
I say Baler has a touch of history but is more for eco adventurers and beach bummers.
I went back last December 2014 this time with my former room mates over the weekend since we all wanted to experience what it was like to be WEEKEND WARRIORS!
Below are the places of interest within the town of Baler:
- Museo de Baler – this is a small museum in front of the Quezon Park which holds some artifacts from the Spanish galleon trade and artworks from local artists. There is also an exhibit about the town’s history and one for the movie Baler. I think you can watch the movie there but it wasn’t playing when I got there. There were also portraits of people on the second floor but I didn’t bother to stay there because I got weirded out because of the portraits.
The amazing thing about this museum is the façade. It has a sculpture or mural that graced the walls on the entrance side of the building. Really nice!
There is no entrance fee but there is a donation box. It would help if you donate a few coins that will help in the maintenance of the museum.
- Baler Church – also known as San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish holds the most history in the town. This was where Spanish soldiers stayed as revolutionary people surrounded the church demanding that they, the Spaniards, leave the town.
The façade of the church was already modernized. Well I guess am just used to the neo gothic designs that old churches normally have. It was also a shame that there was a covered basket ball court next to the church. I thought it would have been better if there was a big space or garden in front of the church. Just a thought!
I made a wish (they say that if it is your first time in a church you should make a wish. Guess what I wished for? LOL) and said a thank you prayer for another year of my life and the opportunity to travel.
- Donya Aurora Aragon House – this was the house of Donya Aurora Aragon whom I think was the reason for the entire province’s name? (am not sure of that). In honesty, this was a let down because I thought it would be a really old house which boasts of old items used in the Spanish era. To me it looked like a refurbished wooden house. It has a nice view of the Baler Church though.
There isn’t much to see in the town BUT there are amazing places to eat! And here they are:
- Rolling Stores – I think they got the name from the Rolling Stones. Located near the Baler Museum, this is a good place to grab a bite of Filipino dishes at a very affordable price. I did had a chance to eat there.
- Gerry Shan’s Eat All You Can – only PHP 200/ person baby! And it comes with over flowing iced tea! Filipino dishes are there: beef steak, caldereta, adobo, spaghetti, pork chops and so on an so forth. Food is really good also. Desserts are also available.
It’s like a carinderia all you can but a bit better.
Many people flock here during meal times and there might be a line outside to greet you.
All the tricycle drivers know about its location.
- Angelea’s Café – this is pizza and pasta all you can at PHP 200 only! I ate here and found myself in pizza and pasta heaven!
There are only 4 pastas available: spaghetti, carbonara, baked mac and lasagna. Despite limited options, it was GOOD! There’s also a small plate of toasted beard with pesto. I didn’t need any fancier pastas. These 4 were GOOD!
There is only one pizza available but they make one right away. I ate two Hawaiian pizza slices and about 6 slices of a meaty pizza. It was also GOOD! What made it unique is that instead of using canned tomato sauce as the base for the pizza, they used pureed tomatoes! So imagine my delight.
Desserts they have fruits and Graham cake which was OK.
Now, not all tricycle drivers know about this place. This is located on the road to Sabang Beach from the city after the Tourist Center. The café also sells flowers.
Unfortunately, it is closed on weekends.
- Kusina Luntian – this is good dining with value for money! A trip to Baler is not complete without eating here.
From Costa Pacifica, look for the Bike Rental shop where there is a line of tricycles on the side. Walk through that street and you’ll find a new street that winds to the left. At the intersection, turn right and take a look out for a bahay kubo on the right side of the road and you’ll arrive in Kusina Luntian.
Owner Kuya Biboy runs the place. He left Manila and decided to settle in Baler and he put up Kusina Luntian.
They have the following food options:
Wapang-wapang na Liempo = PHP 85
Akaw!! Longanissa = PHP 85
Adoy… Chicken Adobo = PHP 75
Daing na Bangus da = PHP 65
Wang Patawad na Tapa = PHP 95
Each food option comes with one cup of rice, half salted egg and a handful of edible fern
So there you go. These are the place of interest in the town of Baler.
8. The Market Place – I believe that the local market place is worth a visit! This is where you can buy a special suman (sweet sticky rice wrapped in pandan or coconut leaves) from Baler. Who knows what you can find deeper in the market? Fresh and sweet seafood perhaps? It is definitely worth a stroll.
9. Beach Patio – am not really sure if it is called that but it is a strip starting from Costa Pacifica to the left side of Sabang Beach where people normally stroll and is lined up with resorts and restaurants.
There was are two restaurants of distinction. the Hungry Surfer and another one which have a grill inside an old car. You’ll know it when you see it promise. Didn’t get to eat there though.
Those are what is in the town and on Sabang Beach. Quite a lot really but the province has many more to offer.
Now you have two options to do out of town attractions: First is through hiring a tricycle driver to get to all locations and second by doing a DIY bike trip.
The tricycle is the easiest option as the drivers already know the locations of each. It will cost you PHP 900 to get to all. But if you would like to customize and select only a few, you can do so.