Maraming beses na kitang nilayasan..iniwanan at iba ang pinuntahan, parang babaeng ang hirap kalimutan..Ikaw lamang ang aking laging binabalikan..yes, that’s a Hotdog favorite! But I’m not talking about Manila. If there’s one place I love coming back to, it’s none other than Baler! With so many famous vacation spots in the Philippines, why do I keep coming back? Here are the top 10 reasons why there’s simply no place like Baler.
Baler has its own version of dirty ice cream that is, personally speaking, more delicious than branded ice creams in the metro (Selecta? Magnolia? Naaah.) Get this delicious summer staple that’s made from non-fat milk (spell sosyal!) for only P10.
Who can forget Baler’s #1 gastronomic delight, Gerry Shan’s Place Chinese and Seafood Cuisine? For only Php199, I enjoyed unlimited food ranging from different dishes of seafood, meat, vegetables and dessert and drink-all-you-can iced tea. My personal favorites are lechon (who doesn’t?), calamares, salt and pepper shrimp, and grilled pusit. Very healthy choices, indeed! Up to here, it actually doesn’t take rocket science to know that I love eating 🙂
One tourist attraction that is unique to Baler is the Diguisit Islets – a vast expanse of rock formations that are entirely visible during low tide. It’s a Survivor challenge for a non-muscular body like mine to leap over rocks and boulders under the high sun but the prize is worth it. Sitting on the jagged rocks in the middle of the sea and sky, undulating waves crashing against gigantic rocks, little sea creatures hiding beneath the surface – an unrefined paradise.
I’m not a fan of trekking UNLESS there is a kind of paradise at the end of it. And Ditumabo Falls did not disappoint. Imagine a waterfall towering 140-feet crashing to a pristine blue-green lagoon surrounded by lush vegetation. It’s breathtaking. You’ll get used to the cold water in minutes and find yourself frolicking with your friends and taking selfies in it (thank you for being waterproof, S5).
Sunrises make me feel small and big at the same time. Small, because you realize how God can make the sun rise everyday as if it’s such a menial task. To make the sun rise as it slowly peaks through the deep mountains and tranquil sea as if they await the arrival of the source of life on this planet while the sky is filled with the most beautiful shades of violets, pinks, and blues. And yet you feel big at the same time because you know that if your God can make such a majestic and universal thing rise again and again, you can do anything as well. He can make you rise out of anything at anytime with a snap of a finger. All you have to do is surrender.
Although Baler has a long shoreline just like Boracay, nightlife in Baler is starkly different from the latter. For one, it’s much more spacious and much less populated – which I personally like. You get to hear the waves crash against the shore because it’s quiet and peaceful. You also get to enjoy a leisurely walk and relish the cool crisp wind without worrying if there are people about to overtake or bump into you. Peace to all Boracay fans! I also love that place but on a different note (it’s a social paradise!).
Indeed, one of the things I love most about Baler is its laid back vibe that relaxes me and my friends every time. It makes us more open and comfortable to share our stories with each other.
People in Baler are generally warm, cheerful, and inviting. Starting from Ms Karen, the owner of our resort, to the suman vendor, I was greeted with happy smiles and warm hellos. We initially had a problem with our rooms because of miscommunication between the agency and the hotel but Ms Karen readily gave us a new room to address our concerns. Our driver, Bernard, also helped us get a discount on surfing rates (from Php350/hr to Php300/hr) and was flexible about our whole tour. I recommend going for Dreams and Destinations when booking a package tour. They ensure cozy accommodations, complete tours, and comfortable transportation for the most affordable rate I’ve seen so far. My surfing instructor Domingo was also very happy to give me an extra 20 minutes with the waves and my other friend was given an extra 1 hour and 30 minutes! A great bunch of people indeed!
The most wonderful facet of Baler is definitely its unspoiled and non-commercialized nature. Its scenery boasts of all natural wonders from mountains, to the forests, to the sea. It’s comforting to know that all those environmental fees we paid for were put to good use and that locals ensure to keep Baler perpetually clean and naturally beautiful.
SURFING! Oh come on, it’s a given! A part of me comes alive when I ride the waves 🙂 Adrenalin keeps pumping as I reach the shoreline and the waves crash with me. I guess it’s the feeling of a challenge that comes alive whenever I surf. Every wave is a different challenge, a different story. I focus on the board, my body, and the waves of Sabang beach as if nothing else mattered. It’s just me feeling completely free.
At the end of the day, if you don’t like the company you’re with, you can be in Bahamas and feel like going home. But these crazy people brought so much fun and camaraderie to the vacation that I forgot I had a home! Kidding 🙂 Seriously though, they’re such game troopers that we enjoyed every place we went to. And even if there were minor road bumps along the way, we faced them with lighthearted banters and a carefree attitude. I did not know half of them when we rode the van to Baler. I was actually anxious how we would be able to relate and be comfortable with each other. I shouldn’t have! By Day 2, we were singing by the beach and we can’t stop shooting punchlines and whogoats to each other. Definitely, the best part of this trip was being able to experience this with my close friends and gaining seven new (and may I say, incredibly cool) friends! Thank you Cyndi, Fro, Yza, Chan, Nico, Roche, Eric, Arvin, Niel, Eileen, and Rhea for making this an unforgettable, picture-perfect adventure! 🙂