Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Road to My Favorite Spot in Baler

After finding our 500-peso beach front lodge along Sabang beach, we asked around on where to find a driver/guide for the countryside tour the next day. I've researched and listed some famous spots around Aurora but didn't have the time to look for a guide. Our gracious "landlady" referred us to Kuya Doms which quoted us 800 pesos for the whole trip - the standard rate for a tricycle tour. She said that she usually refers her guests to him and that he is one of the most trusted guides in Baler. So we got his services. 

Oh by the way, meet my friend Fatima. She's a chemistry teacher, but in a very exclusive school in south. Really exclusive. She was born and raised in Basilan. Moved to Dumaguete. And here in Manila. About 4 years ago she asked me, "Carla, tara sa Basilan", I said, "Huh?!", and then she goes, "Bilis ako bahala, gagawin kitang mukhang local", I was like, "Eh pano kung kinausap ako ng Chavakano?". END. 

slow-but-rock songs in our ride (Firehouse, Skid Row, etc.) \m/
We agreed to start at around 6:30 a.m. the next day and ended up on time. Tricycle was our ride for that day because it was just me and my friend. But he said that he can arrange for a large group and use vans instead. He has this Tourism I.D. which was hanging on his tricycle. The tricycles should be accredited by the Tourism Office before they can tour around Baler and some parts of Aurora. There are also certain seminars for them to attend.

First stop was the Museo de Baler (which was closed that day for renovation) and the Quezon park located at downtown and a 5-minute ride from Sabang beach. It was believed that it is on this site that a great leader was born - Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina (Luis was a second name and people usually mistaken it for his middle name). It was a typical park. People, usually teeners, usually hang out there (I'm hoping that mall owners would never think of bringing one in this town).


renovation on going
Manuel Luis Quezon
And then the Baler church. There was a wedding that day and we watched for a while and took some photos outside. There were some footsteps outside the church and if you basically follow it, you would get into the Quezon park and other important spots nearby.


Baler church

Weddings are always sweet noh?
footsteps to...
Just a few meters away from the church (and the Quezon park) was Aurora Aragon Quezon's house (the wife of President Manuel L. Quezon), no entrance fees were collected but donation box are located near the entrance. The province of Aurora was named after her. 

The house was reconstructed to look like her real house. There were no guides inside the structure. There were some renovations going on and some of the stuff were lying on the wooden floors. What struck me was Aurora Aragon's Filipiniana dresses. There were a few of them and if it's really hers, then she gotta very tiny waistline. Sexy. And also, the original president's car was on one side of the area. It was enclosed in a glass housing. 


Aurora Aragon Quezon's house
steps
tiny waistline
numero UNO
Next was the century old Balete tree. Well I dunno for sure if it's actually a hundred year old tree or maybe two hundred because some of the surfer guys told us that it was more huge before and a typhoon destroyed almost half of its size. So they believed that it's more than a hundred year old. There were no entrance fees but we registered and donated some amount on the donation box. 

Some kids followed us and volunteered themselves to guide us inside the tree (yes inside). They were just playing around the area and helping tourists to navigate the tree (more than our own guide). The tree was really huge that 5 of us did fit inside of it (you can have a party of 10 or more pa). We were then told that we can actually go up the tree and so we did. 

Fatima is really not an athletic or active person. She agreed on going up for she knew that there was a ladder or steps to go up. But when we were on our way up (with the help oft he kids), we then learned that there were no ladders or such. We climbed our way up using the roots of the Balete tree. I easily got to the top but my friend Fatima was shouting that she can't make it. I assured her that everything will be fine and that she can make it. And then she did! After me waiting for 15 minutes she did it. She was so exhausted but it was such a nice feeling to see her do it. I am so proud of her. And she promised to not do it again. Ever.


sturdy roots
lesgow
proud of her

not acting - pure emotions
After the balete tree, we went to the Ditumabo falls. The ride going there was really a bumpy one. Good thing our driver was really good. Or maybe because he knew the road very well. I was thinking that if you have your own car, it would be hard to navigate it yourself. Just rent a van with a driver instead (even if you brought your own car all the way from Manila or elsewhere). Again, there were no entrance fees or whatsoever but donation box was still on the registration area right before the trek to the falls.
  
registration area
need a new pair. sponsor anyone?

she's quiet and tired and hungry and grumpy and...
bakit 'di na langkasi puro ganito ang daan? - Fatima
The trek was fine. It was almost a 30 to 40-minute trek (depends actually on the pace of the group). Our gracious driver had all our things on his back and assisted Fatima on the trek. We went into the clear field, the fresh running water/stream, on top of the big pipes (the falls is a source of hydroelectric power) and so on. 

It was summer so as expected, there were many tourists/locals who were enjoying the water. It was huge and the water was really cold. I was about to go near the falls when Fatima said that she don't want to go. I persuaded her and conquered her fear again. We were very near it and we felt how strong the downpour was. It was really fun! The trek back was harder because we were really tired and hungry. So we decided to grab a bite in Baler town.


it was really cold
ready to plunge
I've read so much about Gerry Shan's buffet and it was just the right time to try their ever famous buffet (after the 'workout" we had). We arrived a little early for lunch but that was great because there were still no competitions in sight. There were loads of Pinoy dishes and what I can remember up to now were the pako salad and the calamares. For 150 pesos, one can enjoy unlimited Pinoy food and iced tea. We stayed for 1 hour and it was so sulit. We ate as if we were the driver of our tricycle. We also treated Kuya Doms and it was his first time to try their buffet.


150 pesos - sulit 'pag madami kang gutom

G-R-E-E-N
We took our afternoon siesta then went to our next destination, the Ermita Hill. We went up to the viewing deck and saw some people who were having picnic on the park. Kuya asked if we wanted to go up the hill but Fatima and I both agreed that our lunch would've exploded on our way to the top so we failed to do the challenge. Kuya Doms just brought the tricycle up the viewing deck - tamad lang umakyat on our own. The view up there was great. It was so... blue. The sky, the sea, everything was blue and looked like a painting. 




the view
After that, we went to Diguisit/Digisit falls. It was right off the road and even if it is not as grand as the Ditumabo falls, people still go there to enjoy its clear and fresh water. It was just sad to see that some people were leaving their trash on the rocks.



Next was the Diguisit/Digisit beachRight across the falls was the beach and just a few meters away were the  Aniao and Lukso-lukso islets.







We really wanted a nice place for us to swim with the waves and everything (aside of course the Sabang beach). But Kuya Doms said that there's no "nice" beach nearby. We were about to end the day when he said that we will go to some place (which was not included on my list). 

He then drove us to the Port. There were a handful of fishermen (I think...) who were having their afternoon siesta there. They said hi and continued with their thing. We went on and explored this plain-looking port. We were thinking, "Why on earth do we need to go to a port?". 


the port on the lower right side - view from the Ermita Hill
not-so-busy day
calm
lovely
It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It was quite early to call it a day and as we went on with our take-your-time-to-explore-the-port-on-your-own thing, we saw this shipwreck and we saw beauty. Everywhere we look at, our eyes feasted on the beauty of the place. It was so serene. We found ourselves seated on the benches around the terminal and just slept. Nobody bothered or wondered why we were there. It was just so serene. 

Fatima went on and said, Ito 'yung mga scene sa pelikula na tagpuan ng mga bawal na pag-ibig. Such a hopeless romantic comment. And then I said, Kapag dito ka siguro nag-aral for board exams either topnotcher ka dahil tahimik or babagsak ka kasi 'di ka makakapag-aral dahil tulala ka lang sa ganda ng lugar. Such a geeky comment. And then laughter everywhere. And that made our day. That was our favorite part of the tour. That place. That nap-time. That feeling of serenity. It was just too perfect. I dunno if it's just us but we loved the port more than anything or anywhere else in Baler. But then again, it's just us.

Check Baler, Aurora accommodations here




27 comments:

  1. ang astig ng Baler. tingin ko pwede isolo trip ang Baler. go ako dyan! :)

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    1. wow ang bongga mo talaga. reyna ng solo tas ako waley pa. ikaw na donnie! :)

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  2. wow! Super nice naman mam:)Alam ko na kung ano mga dapat kong puntahan sa Baler.Great help

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    1. thanks venus! balitaan mo kami if ever ha?

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  3. Ang susyal. Bongga nung Balete Tree at mga rocks rocks. Hehe. :D

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    1. ang bongga lang talaga di ba chingky?

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  4. gnada ng baler .peo di ko kaya pagpapicture sa balete

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    1. hi kulapitot. bakit naman? i think it's safe :)

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  5. I'd like to see Baler sometime. Thanks for the digital tour.

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  6. Sama ako pag nag-Basilan ka ah, but not next year! :D

    Dapat inakyat nyo din yung hill na inakyat ko! Hehehe! :D

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    1. ayoko umakyat. sayang ang food sa gerry shan pag nagkataon. hihi

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  7. Beautiful~! I love the last photo :) Umeepek ung nakatagilid na ship :D Baler is beautiful! <3

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  8. Wahhhhh!!! this makes me wanna visit again Aurora... I've fallen in love with her... sobrang ganda talaga!!! nakaka-miss!!! :)

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  9. Nice, namiss ko bigla yung root climbing sa Bohol, meron din pala jan nun. Di pa ko nakarating jan. :D By the way, off topic pero kasi di ko na makita yung comment mo about my Marinduque post. Yung ginawa namin nun reservation via phone pero dun na rin lahat ng payment. Tingin ko madali lang makahanap ng accommodation dun (research na rin muna sa internet), onti lang mga turista dun e. :)

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    1. hi there! super konti nga lang talaga ng mare-research sa net eh. oh well que sera sera na lang. bahala na si batman sa marinduque :)thanks cris...

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  10. wow...ate Karl..ikaw at ikaw na talaga..gusto ko yung pose mo sa Balete..parang ikaw ang diwata at napuksa mo lahat ng kalaban sa paligid ng puno...

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    1. natawa naman ako sayo pam. talagang diwata eh noh! parang hindi naman. haha :)

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  11. Hi :) nice article. love the last photo as well. :)

    hope you could visit my site.. (and follow me, hahaha) http://manwiththestrawhat.blogspot.com/2013/01/baler-through-muddy-and-rocky.html

    thanks :)

    -jombats

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  12. Hi blissfulguro, do you still have a contact of your tryke tour driver? What is the most appropriate time to start so we can cover the most important sights only like the 2 falls, diguisit beach/islets, balete tree and ermita hill only. is 9 or 10 am okay already? We're planning to visit the place this week.

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    1. hi ian! im sorry but i failed to get my trike's number but no worries, you could probably ask a random trike driver to tour you around. just haggle siguro. you can start much earlier in the morning especially if you're planning to trek the falls :)

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  13. Hi can I have the tricycle driver/tour guide cp#? thanks.

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    1. hi there belle. sorry but I didn't get to have his number. pero don't worry. maraming tricycle na nago-offer ng tours and standard ang rates nila :)

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