Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hallerr Baler! Day 01

Thank God for long weekends.  This August, we have Ninoy Aquino day falling on a Thursday and National Heroes day on a Monday giving employees the option to take a 5-day travel weekend.

Originally, we planned on going to Sagada via Baguio, but a recent emergency with one of our travel companion left us going on individual trips.  2 friends went to Hong Kong, my partner has to run errands for his relative visiting from Cebu and I opted to go to Baler.  I’m probably the only travel blogger who hasn’t visited the province. 

Roadtrip Travel & Tours
Fortunately I have a friend who organizes group tours.  His company is Roadtrip Travel, and their more consistent destination is Baler and Ilocos.  When I contacted him, he has a 3D/2N trip leaving Friday night, but was already full.  I persisted and offered to commute my way and just re-group when I arrive at the town.  His 2D/1N tour only costs 2.8k while the 3D/2N is 3.2K.  They even have a promo of 2.2k per head for a group of 10 people.  He told me that he has a second group but will confirm Thursday morning.  Luckily, they did and I was scheduled for pick up at Jollibee fronting Robinsos Galleria along Ortigas at 11 PM.

The tour inclusion are as follows:
Roundtrip Van Transfers (Toyota Grandia 11 seater)
2 Nights stay at Baler Aurora 
3 Breakfasts (Hungry Surfer or similar)
Tour Guide / Photographer
Driver Meals and Accomodation
Souvenirs and Id's

*Ditumabo "Mother Falls" (inclusive of accredited Tour guide and Trike transfers)
*Diguisit and Aniao Islets (Inclusive of entrance fees)
*Sabang Beach
*Town Tour - Baler Musuem, Dona Aurora House, Pasalubong Center
*Balete Tree Park (Inclusive of entrance fees)
*Ermita Hills

Dicasalarin Cove - P300 entrance fee
Surf with Instructor - P350 per hour
Surf Board Rentals

The Van arrived around 11:30, because the traffic was bad coming from Pasig.  Already inside were Ms. A (Ate Ana), Sara, Kuya Vanky our Driver/Guide, Dennis our Tour Organizer and the two kids Joey and Benedict.  We then travelled to Trinoma to meet the other Van and our two other travel companions Jay R and Dulce.  It wasn’t hard to warm up with the group.  They were the friendliest and most accommodating set of tour mates I have ever met.

We left the meeting place a few minutes past 12MN and was on our way to Baler stopping along NLEX and arriving in Cabanatuan at 3:00 AM.  We tried to catch up on sleep the entire ride since our itinerary is packed for the 3-Day adventure. 

Sunrise at Sang Beach, Baler, Aurora

Hungry Surfer

Hungry Surfer, the Famous Breakfast Place with an
Eat All You Can Buffet for only 180 pesos

We arrived in Baler 3.5 hours later just in time for Breakfast.  Our gracious host Dennis, took us to Hungry Surfer.  Here, you may opt to try their Eat All You Can buffet for only 180 pesos inclusive of Drinks or, order from their Menu.  Roadtrips package comes with a free meal, but an additional 80 pesos entitles you the buffet.  The restaurant is conveniently located beside Costa Pacifica.

Buffet at Hungry Surfer
Guicelle Baler Transient House

After breakfast, we then settled our things at Guicelle Baler Transient House near the TESDA Center.  We all shared a room with large mattresses and a Huge Toilet reminiscent of what we have in Victoria Court complete with a bidet hose and rain-shower.

We stayed at their studio, but the other group stayed
at the apartment with dining area, a living room, porch, bedrooms and kitchen!

Ditumabo Mother Falls
Ditumabo Mother Falls

Our first activity for the day was to visit the Mother Falls.  From the jump off, we need to ride a tricycle for a short bumpy ride on a dirt road before the trek. The less than an hour climb was relatively easy with a few slippery rocks and bamboo bridge crossing on some parts.  At the end of the trail is the huge falls dropping into a small lagoon gently sloping to the drop making it conducive to swimming.  The cool water was just what we needed after sweating it out in the climb.  After swimming and picture taking, we headed back to the jump off and proceeded back to town for lunch.

After that bumpy ride, now comes the trek!

Yolly’s Ihaw Ihaw and Restaurant
You know a restaurant is good,
buy the number of visitors who frequents the place!
Yolly's Ihaw Ihaw & Restaurant

This is fast becoming a landmark in Baler.  The place was full when we arrive, and people continuously arrive the entire lunch afternoon.  What draws people to the place is their wide selection of seafood and local dishes, not to mention the fact that it’s affordable and really tasty.  I sampled their Lechon Kawali but the stand filled with Lobster and Crab was so tempting.

After that filling lunch, we went back to our Transient House to freshen up and rest a bit.  Dennis made reservations for our surfing lessons 5PM that afternoon.

Some of us used our resting time to drink.  It’s the best way to socialize.  We had so much fun that we almost missed our schedule.  By 4:30, we were on our way back to the beach for our lessons.

Michael Surf Shop and Surfing Lesson

I would have to admit I was hesitant at first, but would not let this trip pass without having to try what this province is known for.   Local instructors were assigned to us individually.  After the introduction on the parts of the board and the basic moves, we were then taken to the water.  Our timing was perfect since the waves are gently rolling ideal for beginners.  After a few try, I somehow managed to stand and ride the waves longer and longer as I get the hang of it.  The experience was so addicting, especially when you sensed that you’re improving.  My mistake was taking my shirt off.  I got scrapes on my chest and thigh from the constant rubbing with the board.

The 1 hr lesson seemed like minutes.  After surfing we walked our way back to our Transient House to wash up and prepare for dinner.

The Rolling Store

Since we're a big group, the wash up time took 3 hours.  When we left for dinner, there only a few restaurants open.  We decided to try the Rolling Store Complex beside the Museo de Baler.  Our driver guide, Kuya Vanky mentioned, that a trip to Baler would not be complete without having to eat at the Rolling Store.

This is your typical Turo-Turo eatery, selling an assortment of viands as low as 30 pesos.  I decided to try the dinuguan and rice (50 pesos) but was still hungry after that I ordered myself an additional Pork Adobo with Rice (another 50 pesos).

The lack of sleep and the tiring physical activity drained our energy and it did not take long for us to sleep the moment we got back at Guiselle.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Day 5: Tito's Roadtrip Travel Guide to Bicol

Our last day in Bicol is dedicated to our long drive back home. We decided to leave early around 3AM in order to reach Manila late in the ...