Baler, Aurora | Of Surf, Siege & Something Else Spry
In 17th century, Spanish galleons braved the waves of Baler. But after 300 years, they surrendered the last Spanish garrison to the Philippine revolutionary forces & their regime ended. Today, more than a century after, brave ones still ride its waves. But not anymore on those huge expedition ships but on surfboards!
Baler is one of the favorite spots in the surfing circuit. Karts, wackos & squids flock here for a surfing safari—rain or shine. And when the water swells, the fun begins. Flipping, rolling & balancing on the waves, the wide sea becomes the kingdom of the adrenaline tribe.
Baler: Surfari & More
Life in Baler doesn’t end when the water is placid. At its stillness, people chill by the shore playing the guitar, reading a book, trolling around or counting abs. At night, the beachside of Sabang transforms into a shindig spot. However, the parties here are just simple.
During big events, they’re lucky to have laser lights, fog machines, ledge & fire dancers. But on ordinary days, it’s chill like no other. Nardudes, lovely wahines & many other cool peeps just hole up at Myrtle Park, one of the best places to dust off the sand.
The Rustic Baler
But Baler is not all about surfing. It also played a monumental part in Philippine history where the famous Siege of Baler in 1898 ended the long Spanish occupation. In fact, the San Luis de Tolosa Church is a historic footprint of the many battles won and lost in this place.
It is also the birthplace of former President Manuel Quezon. His wife, Ma. Aurora Aragon is immortalized here as a local heroine. Their ancestral house is kept to this day as one of the heritage landmarks of the town. Visitors also frequent the memorial site of the 1735 tidal wave atop Ermita Hill.
This coastal town on the northeastern side of the Philippines is framed by amazing geographical formations. The huge waves coming in from the Pacific Ocean hitting against the huge rocks are like endless fireworks exploding on air.
Among the most photographed sites are the islets along Diguisit Bay. During low tide, tourists can hop on coral stones to reach the islets. On the other side of the town are wonderful quiet coves hemmed by fine ivory sand.
Baler’s culinary scene is a smorgasbord of choices. Finding intercontinental delights is easy here because it’s a surf town with lots of international tourists. Then there are those fusion restos like Kubli Bistro, Bike Kings & Boardwalk Restaurant of Bay’s Inn.
But our good old Filipino favourites are always a hit. Check out Gerry Shan’s overloaded buffet & the delicious suman with peanut butter. But never leave Baler without sampling Endless Summer Hotel’s garlic longganisa. This one’s a new must-taste when in town!
Wanna give your sweet craving a spin? Mumunsi Chocolate Cafe is indulgence, babe.
But wait, there’s more to Baler than just surfing & food-tripping. Its art scene is also very vibrant. Many visual artists live here for its inspiring townscape. Among them is Vincent Gonzales whose universe of strokes are up at Vincent Gonzales Art Museum.
Accommodations in Baler have levelled-up too! In the past, simple tiki huts punctuate the beach line. But now, chic spots stand in cheek by jowl serving every kind of travel fancies. There’s surf themed Nalu Surf & riverside charmed Nature Green Forest to the sparkling resort properties of the Costa Group. Then there’s Endless Summer that offers 360-view of the town, the Sierra Madre & the sea.
Baler is such a charming town that speaks of its grand history, enthralling natural splendor & bold fun. It is growing fast but remains alluring because of what it perpetually offers—all the time and space you need in this world.
I love Baler. It’s wild yet soulful. It’s hard to reach but easy to get.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more