5 Local Summer Hot Spots For the Adventure Seekers

Summer vacation is just a few weeks away and while some people have started planning early on, others are still undecided where to go. Here are some of our favorites  that you can consider and why we are suggesting them.

1. Baler

People flock to Baler for the clean surf break in Sabang Beach and the thrill of surfing at Cemento Beach and Charlie’s Point. Considered to be the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, you can find all sorts of accommodation lining up Sabang Beach. Beyond surfing, Baler is rich in culture, history and natural wonders.

2. Bicol

Of course, I love my own region. Bicol is composed of six provinces and each one
offers a different kind of thrill for the adventure seekers. Explore the lovely islands and crystal blue waters of Calaguas in Camarines Norte, Caramoan in Camarines Sur and Tikling in Sorsogon. Adrenaline junkies can try out wake boarding in CamSur Watersports Complex, surf in Bagasbas Beach in Cam Norte or try out the ATV ride to Mayon Lava Front. Bicol is also popular for its culinary expo featuring hot and spicy dishes. Do try out the Chili Ice Cream!

3. Boracay

Many people complain about Boracay being too crowded especially during the summer months, but still you really can’t say no to this beautiful island paradise. I am much awed by its powdery white sands and crystal blue temperate waters. When in Boracay, you’ll find all the adventure you want and need. Head to Bulabog Beach for some hot water sports such as kite boarding and jet skiing. You can also try parasailing and other group activities such as banana boat ride. And for us, nothing beats the sunset view in Boracay.

4. Palawan

Why not Palawan? I’ve visited Palawan twice at the height of summer and love it both times. Coron is located on the northern Calamian group of islands. Island hopping and snorkeling in Coron gives you the best views of tall limestone karsts and the colorful marine life under the waters. On the other hand, flying to Puerto Princesa gives you the option to explore the country’s greenest city or head to other hot destinations such as El Nido or to Sabang beach which is the jump off point to the Underground River.

5. Sagada

Sagada is a town you will surely fall in love with.  The weather is cool and you are provided with scenic landscapes and mountain views around you. Adventure seekers will not be disappointed with this charming town up north. The Cave Connection will deplete all your energy in a pumping 4-hour cave exploration adventure. Your hiking and trekking activities will also be rewarded with magnificent and powerful waterfalls such as the Bomod-ok and Pongas.

Surfing in Baler, Aurora: A Novice Experience

wave rider
Baler Sunset

A trip to Baler will never be complete without riding the waves. Our first day in Baler was spent exploring other towns and views around Sabang beach. It ended with us four lounging and just people watching at the beach. We were all amazed at how those little girls can surf like a pro, and we all looked forward to trying it out the next day.


Dinner took hundred years to arrive at Bay’s Inn, afterwards we headed to Bay-ler for a night cap. Baler was full packed that time and there were only a couple of establishments that were still open at late night. We finished off early slept in preparation for next day’s activity.

Baler Sunrise and Mahdox Surf School

Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora


Before our trip to Baler, I asked one of my friends for a recommendation on where to find the best surf instructors in the Baler and he gave us Mahdox Surf School and Surf Shop. According to him, this is the only place to go when you want to learn surfing in Baler. Mahdox is actually the first registered surf school and shop n Baler and it is owned by one of the Philippines’ top ranking surfers – Okoy Rojo. They got a team of friendly, professionals and expert surf instructors to give you personalized and one-on-one coaching.

We scheduled our 1 hour surf class and we started right away. It was a first for all of us and we dreaded doing it on water. Each of us have our own instructors and gave us our needed push and encouragement each time big wave comes.

 

batang baler1

batang baler2

Mahdox Surf Shop and School – 0910.307.5253

All of us learned and enjoyed surfing in Baler. We all made it and were able stand  on our surf boards before our time was up.

Why Surfing in Baler is a Must?

Baler can be considered as the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines. It’s clean coastline is open to the Pacific, thus beautiful waves is ever present anytime of the year. In 1979, the movie Apocalypse Now has parts filmed in Baler. It offer different surfer levels surfing points to match their levels. Sabang Beach has perfect waves for beginners, while Cemento Beach have stronger waves for the adventurous and experienced  surfers. Charlie’s Point was made famous in the movie’s surf scene.

The production crew of the movie left their boards with the locals thus, surfing started in this province.

How to go to Baler (from Manila) and Back?

Baler, the capital of Aurora maybe reach through direct trips with Genesis Bus via Joy Bus and their regular air-con buses.

Joy Bus schedules are 12MN and 0430 from Cubao Station.
Reservation nos. (02) 709 – 0545 or 709 – 0544
Fare: P650 one-way

We were not able to get a reservation for Joy Bus and made do with their regular air-con buses bound for Baler.

Regular Bus Schedules are – 0100, 0200, 0430 and 0530.
Fare: P450 one-way

Others may also take buses to Casiguran, Aurora via Baler which travel at 0100 and 0300.

Going back to Manila, we were not able to reserve or find a Genesis Bus schedule that will suit our IT, so we decided to take another risk and head for Cabanatuan via vans plying the Baler-Cabanatuan route and just find Buses there going to Manila.

Vans from Baler to Cabanatuan travel frequently. Fares are around P220 and travel time is about 4 hours. From Cabanatuan, there are many buses that you can take such as ES transport, Five Star and Baliwag Transit.

Baler: There’s More Than Just Surfing!

A private message from one of my high school classmates gave way to this trip. We were 3 girls but I wanted to bring along my partner for him to experience what I love doing – travel.

There were a lot of “palpak” and “sablay” while the day of the trip come nearer. Joy Bus was fully booked and most of the accommodations and hotels we contacted were also full. The 4 of us were determined to push this through and on the night of 18 May, we took the regular trip of Genesis Bus (Cubao) to Baler. The trip took 10 hours and the fare – P450 (more or less).
|Day 1

Sabang Beach in the morning
We arrived in Baler at around 8 in the morning and hoped to make a reservation for Joy Bus trip back to Manila. Having no other trips that fits our schedule for our trip back, we decided to just take a risk and travel to Cabanatuan first for more buses going to Manila. We walked to Sabang beach from Genesis terminal and started looking for our accommodations. We ended up at Elaine M&M Lodge and paid P1300 for a room that accommodated the 4 of us.  
After freshening up, we headed to Bayler View for breakfast. After which we scoured for the cheapest tour tricycle tour rate we could find. They all asked for P800 per tricycle to take us to Mother Falls, Centennial Tree and others we could cover for that day.
been years since we last enjoyed soda from these plastic bags
Millennium  Tree 
They first took us to the gigantic Balete Tree in Maria, Aurora. We took the challenge of climbing it up along with kids who seemed to have made a hobby of crawling and climbing up the tree like monkeys. It was a great experience and a first for all of us.



Ditumabo Falls (Mother Falls)

The trek was fun and easy. You can hear the sounds of flowing water and the sounds that small animals and insects make.


There were slippery spots on the trail but overall it was refreshing and you get rewarded with the sight of one of most majestic waterfalls. We all enjoyed the trek and the dip on the freezing pool. 

After that we were really hungry and we wanted to eat along the way. But our guides and drivers said that there are no place or stores near the sites we’re going to visit where we can eat. So we decided to take just 2 more sites and head for the town to eat our late lunch. 
Diguisit Beach
Our guides took us next to a beach but we were really starving to pay much attention to it’s name. We were already in Diguisit and the sights of islets and rock formations are stunningly beautiful from the road. There was a small swimming area but this beach has a very rocky shoreline. 

There are no stores here so people who wanted to swim just bring their own food. Passed by Diguisit Falls and decided not to climb up. Our guides still wanted to bring us up to Ermita Hill but we declined and so we just headed to town to eat and explore other places of interest.

Museo de Baler

After our late lunch, we walked around town with our guides to explore and know more about Baler.

Baler is very rich in history. Before Aurora became a province, it was a part of the province of Quezon. Both President Manuel L. Quezon and his wife Aurora was born in Baler. Baler also was an active participant in the galleon trade during the colonial times.

The Museum was under renovation during that time, but the staff welcomed us warmly and apologized fervently for the inconvenience. Also inside the ground of the museum is the exact replica of Quezon’s Family home.

Aurora’s Home

Our last destination for the tour was Aurora Quezon’s home downtown. They were considered wealthy during those time. Quezon’s presidential car was also parked here.

We also passed by the church and gave short prayer of thanks for this opportunity to travel and enjoy the company of each other.

We headed back to our room and decided to rest. It was a tiring but satisfying day of exploration. We are beginning to fall for the beauty of Baler.