Bits & Pieces of Aurora Province
To avoid the Holy Week rush, my family and I embarked on a 6-hour journey to Baler, Aurora — a popular surfing destination in the Philippines. For more than a year now, a lot of people have been telling us how beautiful Baler is. And you know what? They're absolutely right! Baler, Aurora is fucking beautiful.
Baler, despite its growing popularity, is still untouched by commercialism. There are no McDonald's or SM here. In fact, fast-food chains like Jollibee and Chowking were only in the form of food trucks. While I waited for my food order, the staff at Jollibee told me that they're all from Nueva Ecija and was assigned to stay in Baler for a couple of months. Perhaps the company was testing the waters and see there's a need to set up a permanent store?
Another thing I noticed about the province is the lack of signal. As a travel blogger, it's my job to share my adventures on a real-time basis but connecting on LTE was a huge struggle. Most of the time, I won't even have a signal reception! I don't mind disconnecting from the online world though because it made me appreciate Aurora even more.
During our stay, we tried our best to visit as many places as possible. Some of the sights were fantastic, some were meh. So do ask the locals for suggestions! :) If I were to choose my top picks, I highly recommend the following:
- Sabang Beach Sabang Beach may not be as pristine as Maira-Ira Beach, but it does offer an exhilarating experience I've never tried before. Here, tourists can learn how to surf for PHP 350 per hour. I had the impression that one hour is too short for a beginner's lesson, but I was so wrong. Depending on your pace, you can master~ the basics of surfing within 5, 15, 30 or 45 minutes!
- Ditumabo Falls Also known as the Mother Falls. You need to trek at least 1.3KM to reach this magnificent waterfall. Getting to the falls is not a walk in the park, so I recommend you wear shoes that won't easily slip when on water (you'll be crossing streams every now and then). Is the trek worth it? ABSOLUTELY! After soaking my whole body in the natural pool, I never felt so refreshed in my entire life.
- Balete Park and Ampere Point They both get the third spot because I can't tell which one is better. At Balete Park, there is this gigantic Balete tree that you can climb have your picture taken. You can also go inside the tree, which was cool and a little scary HAHA. While Ampere Point is like any other beach except it's covered with huge smooth rocks. Layers and layers of rocks. There's not much to do in both sites, but for me, they're both a sight to behold.
Note: Dicasalarin Cove looks like a great place to lounge and relax. Unfortunately, we didn't proceed because we felt PHP 300 per person was too expensive for a half-day visit.
For many, Baler is synonymous to surfing. And while I enjoy crashing the waves, Baler Aurora actually has so much more to offer. But I'll the photos do the talking, so you could see for yourself. :)