1. A leisurely walk and picnic at the picturesque blue lagoon. It is a beautiful scenic view near the area of cobra reef/surfing spot. One can only access this place by the help of locals because you have to pass by a private land (and ask permission) which is near the old bay walk ruins. You can do a short rock climbing in a nearby big rock formation.
2. Sunset is at best at the old hanging bridge at Zabali. It is not commonly visited because it is unknown by tourists but if one will cross it during late afternoon, the view from the bridge is breathtaking. Take a tricycle ride from Sabang. It usually costs P15/head.
3. Walk at the Dicasalarin cove, climb the lighthouse and visit the artist village. One can only access this site by buying entrance tickets at the hotel near Charlie Does surf. If you are a visitor you can get it at 550/pax but if you are checked-in at their hotel, you can get it at P150/pax. If you know a local friend who is from Baler, ask him/her to buy tickets for you. From there, one must look for a 4x4 vehicle or a van which can go up in a steep slope going to Dicasalarin. The view going there is similar to the beaches of Greece according to travelers.
Did you know that the epic war film Apocolypse now was partly shot here. The scene where the Americans come in their helicopters playing Wagner and bomb the hell out of the Viets. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning". The river estuary is about 30 minute walk north of the guest houses and until now there is only one native hut to be seen. Good to swim here as you have the cool water from the river. Not much shade though!
Mother falls has been one of the tourist spot to see around Aurora. It is located in San Luis, outside Baler and would take 30 min-45 min to travel. It's a rough rode going there so brace yourself. From the parking, it would take 30 minute or more to Mother Falls.
Your visit to Baler is incomplete if you haven't seen Ermita Hill.
The story of the old town of Baler can be found along the road of Sta. Elena going to the State Park.
Walking along you will find the 15th century edifice and the escape tunnel, used by the people of Baler in the ancient days to get rid of the raiding moros.
The watchtower-turned-altar can still be found in Sta Elena, and the folklore of how the tsunami hit the town is still very much alive. I enjoyed listening to the story of one local whom I asked of the history of the escape tunnel.
The story of Ermita Hill may be as old as The Renaissance, way back 15th century, way before the Spaniards came. The ancient escape tunnel says it all.
And, according to history, Baler met with a tsunami in 1735 that wiped the old town and killing hundreds or thousands of people. Only 7 survived by climbing the now known as Ermita Hill, as depicted in the life-size "Tromba Marina" memorial structure.
Also, people take refuge here in the olden days to elude raiding moros.
And the story of the 7 people that survived the tsunami in 1735 is immortalized in this state park.
We first greeted Baler with our Mangrove Planting activity. It was almost about sunrise when we headed to the mangrove site where we met our local environment guide.
He briefed us first with the weather and climate conditions of Baler. According to him, rains are very common in the area, as Baler is one of the local provinces in the Philippines that faces the Pacific. As a way of addressing this climate condition, it is important that the people be conscious with the amount of trees in their place.
He then handed us with mangrove seedlings and showed us how to plant them on the ground.
We took a jeepney to the village of San Luis, and continued for another 5 kms to the turn off. The falls are called Ditumaba Falls in tagalog so best you learn this too as we had difficulty in explaining to people where we wanted to go. From the turn of it is another 2 or 3 km walk to the entrance gate where you will have to sign the visitors book, no entrance fee. Then you follow the track through some dense jungle for another 45 minutes until you reach the falls. part of the way you have to walk on the concrete structure tht covers the water pipes as there is a hydro project there and you have to clamber over some concrete structures. Not real suitable for swimming but on the trail back we there are plenty of pools to relax in. Bring your own refreshments.
Walk southards along the beach until you reach the San Luiz river where you will find smal bangkas taking passengers across the river for a few pesos. Once you get off the boat follow the road through the village and it will come to the main road, and on the opposite side there is a monument commemorating the escape from the Japanese Behind this is a set of steps leading towards the top of Ermita Hill. It will probably take around 30 minutes to reach the top, some good views on the way. At the top there is a wide open space that is used for festivals which is surrounded by native huts that you can rest in. There are also a few monkeys to be seen. if you go to the left of the main building here it is another 15 minutes to the top of the hill where you can see another monument and rest. Take water with you.
Very interesting museum showing the history of Baler including some fine photographic exhibits. The museum is open 8am - 5 pm and admission is 20 pesos and the staff are eager to show you around the two floored building. You will find the museum in Quezon Park.
Bay's Inn is famous for surfing, accommodation, and good food, so expect to see lots of visitors in the area. It is where surfers - both novice and amateurs head to. Rental of boards come along with instructors who would brief you with the basics, before you head to the waves.
I didn't got the time to try on surfing when I went there. But I definitely would want to go back and do it!
We get to try the food at Bay's Inn. And we ordered the very sinful crispy pata. Yum!
After our Mangrove Planting activity, we headed to the Recycling Facility where we saw Eco-brick products, locally grown earthworms to aid in the fertilization of the soils, and products segregated and processed in the recycling facility machine.
Our guide was very kind enough to answer all our questions. Before we left, they treated us with snacks or better call it, merienda. Very Filipino. This shows how very hospitable the locals of Baler are.
Or a morning jog, even.
Our hotel was located a bit far from Bay's Inn, which I think is the stopping point of most visitors of Baler. I couldn't say it's a disadvantage though, because walking by the beach, feeling the sand, and enjoying the moderately blowing wind are things I couldn't trade with.
It was about to go sunset when we were heading back to our place. I couldn't help myself taking pictures and at the same time, feeling the sea waters on my toes every now and then.
Remember when you're a kid during a field trip? that's exactly how I felt when we went to Museo De Baler. The Museum has two floors, on the ground floor, Get to see the old school Baler from the artifacts that they have displayed in the museum plus uncover the history of Baler from the murals that they have attached on their walls. The second floor showcases the trophies and customes from the Movie "Baler" and some selected paintings.
Outside the museum, enjoy the lush gardens that envelopes the whole area, plently of trees and shades there. You'll appreciate the carvings that are attached on the museum's wall. You could also get your picture taken at Gen. Mac Arthur's car and at the large nipa hut.
The first thing that I noticed about this church is how compared to other churches in the country, this one is quite simple. Later I found out that it was actually renovated and relocated because the actual church was destroyed by a tidal wave. Also, I also found out that there were graves underneath this church.
The second thing that I noticed is the footprints facing away from the church. According to history, this is to commemorate the uprising of the people of Baler where they walked from the Church to Manila. They are fighting for the immediate action of the government regarding the sickness that is spreading in Baler at that time. You could actually see this footprints all over Baler.
If you'd like to see some local art in Baler, it is a must to visit Aurora Aragon's house. This renovated ancestral house of the late President Manuel Quezon's wife houses some of the local paintings, it also houses that late President's car outside it's backyard.
You'd like the charming look of the house especially on how it is standing on stilts.