11 Things to Do in Baler for Your Weekend Itinerary


Surfers riding at Sabang Beach, Baler

Once a surfers-only paradise, Baler is now a popular summer destination in the country for travelers of all types. The historical town, also hailed as one of the top surfing spots in the Philippines, is situated about 230 kilometers north of Manila facing the mighty Pacific Ocean. For its pristine coasts, exciting ocean waves, scenic rock formations, significant history and delightful culture scene, the six-hour drive en route Aurora province's capital is all worth it. Here's a list of fun things to do in Baler.

CONTENTS:


1. Climb the largest balete tree in Asia

They say it would take around 60 adults holding one another at arm's length to surround this tree's trunk. The humongous balete tree that towers in Balete Park of Maria Aurora town (30-minute ride from Baler) is the largest of its kind in Asia. Nicknamed as The Millennium Tree, it already stands for more than 600 years; older than the popular Siquijor province's balete tree. For a minimal fee and a guide, you can enter inside the gigantic trunk and climb up its intertwining roots that formed above ground.

Park entrance fee: PHP 15.00 (private car drivers can be free)
Guide fee (if entering the trunk): PHP 10.00
Parking fee: PHP 20.00
Location: Brgy. Quirino, Maria Aurora, Aurora

Tip: If you're driving from Manila, you'll pass by Maria Aurora town before Baler so you might want to visit Millenium Tree first.

Balete tree of Maria Aurora, Aurora

READ ALSO: 11 Enchanting Spots of Siquijor Island


2. Relive Baler's past

Besides the seaside vibes, Baler breathes history. Walking around downtown is like wallowing inside a museum of history because Baler's historical spots are in close proximity within the town center. Start off with Museo de Baler to learn about the town's rich past; it stands within the grounds of Quezon Memorial Park where the house of President Manuel Quezon once stood. Few blocks away, there's the house where Doña Aurora Quezon, Manuel's wife, grew up; facing the house is the centuries old Baler Church, the site of the Siege of Baler.

Entrance fees: PHP 30.00 (one-time payment for both Museo and Dona Aurora's House)
Location: Brgy. Poblacion, Baler, Aurora

Manuel Quezon's statue and Museo de Baler's facade

READ ALSO: Baler for History Enthusiasts


3. Learn to surf at Sabang Beach

Baler is the birthplace of surfing in the country and surfing has certainly put the town in the tourist map, so why not at least try to learn how to ride with the waves? Baler's coast faces the Pacific Ocean and there are several spots to surf but Sabang Beach is the most popular among tourists for its beginner friendly swell. An hour of surfing would cost you around PHP 500.00, including lessons and surfing gear rentals.

Location: Brgy. Sabang, Baler, Aurora

Tip: It may seem not enough but normally, an hour of surfing will physically beat you up. Enjoy!

Newbie surfers at Sabang Beach, Baler


4. Beach hop

While Sabang Beach's vibe is the most popular, there are other beaches in Baler you can frolic in. There's the coarse yet scenic Diguisit Beach, the rugged shores of Cemento Beach where surfers go for a more challenging ride and the rock-hemmed shores of Ampere Beach in Dipaculao town which, like Diguisit, boasts off a picturesque rock formation.

At Sabang Beach before sun sets
Sabang Beach


5. Catch sunrise

If you're that morning person, marveling the morning sun as it show itself from the horizon is a great way to start your day. Baler faces east and the Pacific Ocean so you can catch the sunrise in most of its beaches.




6. Behold the islets of Diguisit Beach

People visit Diguisit Beach usually not to swim but to behold or explore the islets and rock formations nestled near the shore. These scattered rock droplets around the vicinity comes in multiple names like Aniao, Lukso-lusko or simply Diguisit islets. You can drop by here (this is just along the road), walk toward the rock formations during low tide and have unlimited snaps for free or camp overnight at a private beach resort for a fee. Also, along the highway, you can explore the multi-tier Diguisit waterfalls nearby.

Location: Brgy. Zabali, Baler, Aurora

Diguisit Beach and Aniao Islets on low tide
Aniao Islets


7. Explore Dimadimalangat Islet

Another imposing rock formation not that far from Diguisit Beach is Dimadimalangat Islet off the southern tip of Baler Bay, accessible through several beach resorts facing the islet. When low tide, you can walk toward Dimadimalangat along rocky and slippery path while you can hire a boat at the resort during high tide to take you to the islet and explore a cave there.

Location: Accessible via Emilio Joseph Beach Resort in Brgy. Zabali
Contact no.: +63 9393636740 / +63 9566824252

Dimadimalangat Islet
Dimadimalangat Islet


8. Feel the breeze of Ermita Hill

History has it that the present natives of Baler had sprung from the 14 families that survived the December 1735 tidal wave that washed the old Baler town. These families escaped drowning, thanks to the elevated Ermita Hill. Worth visiting at the foot of the hill is the Tromba Marina Monument that depicts the survivors taking refuge uphill. Also from the monument starts the 10-minute trek to the hilltop that offers a soothing breeze and relaxing vista of Baler's coast. You may also drive straight to the hilltop if not in the mood to sweat.

Entrance fee: PHP 15.00
Parking fee: PHP 10.00
Location: Brgy. Zabali, Baler, Aurora

Ocean view from Ermita Hill
Ocean view from Ermita Hill


9. Trek to Ditumabo Falls

Ditumabo Falls or Mother Falls, nestled in the jungles of San Luis town, entails a 20-minute drive from Baler and a 1.3-kilometer uphill trek from the trail head toward the cascade. The trek involves crossing across rivers, boulders and makeshift bamboo bridges along the lush forest before reaching Ditumabo's grand waterfalls and its catch basin that's filled with ice-cold waters. This will be your ultimate nature trip when in Baler.

Environmental fee: PHP 30
Guide Fee: PHP 300/group
Location: Brgy. Ditumabo, San Luis, Aurora

Ditumabo Falls


10. Cross Baler's hanging bridge

Because it's not everyday you get to see or cross this type of bridge. The lengthy steel-cable bridge is suspended above the moss-green waters of Tibag-Sabang River that empties its water into Baler Bay. While crossing, you'll get a relaxing vista of the lush environs surrounding the barrio. You can also do your souvenir shopping on both ends of the bridge where shops stand abreast.

Location: Brgy. Zabali, Baler, Aurora

Baler's hanging bride


11. Take a heavy lunch at Gerry Shan's Place

If you love seafood and Chinese cuisine and have an appetite that's as huge as Baler's waves, Gerry Shan's Place is the place for you. Their eat-all-you-can buffet has more than 30 dishes, perfect at lunchtime especially when you're drained after surfing. At around PHP 200-300 per head, it's a value for money too!


Location: Quezon St. Brgy. Poblacion II, Baler, Aurora

Tip: Gerry Shan's usually gets crowded at lunchtime.


How to Get to Baler

If you're driving, Baler is accessible via NLEX and SCTEX from Manila. Prepare around PHP 1,000 for the toll fees (to and from Manila). Travel time would take around 5–6 hours.

For commuters, Genesis Transport terminal in Cubao have several trips to Baler daily (via Genesis Bus or JoyBus). Fare: PHP 450 (Standard) / PHP 700 (Deluxe); Travel time: 5–6 hours (Deluxe) / 6–7 hours (Standard). Check bus schedule here.



DJ RIVERA

Filipino, dad, office guy, hobbyist. Writes computer programs on weekdays, works on just about anything on weekends. Click here to know more.

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