Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where to Stay in Baler


Finding a place to stay while on a vacation is not an easy task (I guess with a limited budget like ours). You either need to book months ahead or find connections (during peak season) to get a room. And that would definitely escalate during the summer or dry season. So when me and my friend planned to go Baler in Aurora province, we tried to contact every resort we saw through the internet few weeks prior our trip. And they responded with a depressing "No available rooms on your preferred dates". Although we wanted to stay at Sabang beach (or relatively near the beach), we couldn't find any lodge or resort that has any available room because it was summer season. 

We settled for the home stay of marx and we texted the owner of the house to inquire. There was an available room on our planned dates so we agreed on paying a down payment of 400 pesos for the 800-peso aircon room (shared bathroom and toilet). We planned to stay in Baler for 3 days and 2 nights but we only reserved for one night. Our plan was to look for a beach front resort when we get there. By the way, Sabang beach is a 15-peso (each person) and a 5-minute tricycle ride from the home stay/bus terminal/public market.

Gonzales' home stay - 0918.341.8527
view from the backyard/gazebo
Only Genesis Bus company has a direct bus ride from Manila (Cubao) to Baler. Me and my friend really wanted to try the Joy Bus going to Baler (because of its "convenience"), but when we were at the Genesis Transport terminal it was fully booked. They told us that we should've reserved the tickets from their main office beforehand. So we settled for the regular aircon bus going to Baler at 1 a.m. The regular fare from Cubao to Baler is 450 pesos and because I do have a student I.D. (for my M.A. degree), I had 20% discount and only paid 360 pesos (yipee!). 

All of the seats were occupied except for the kitchen area - the last row at the back of the bus. I dunno why my folks call it "kitchen" but maybe because of the heat from the engine. We owned the last row and we couldn't be any happier that we stretched out our bodies and slept all throughout the bus ride - which was actually a bumpy one because of the rain from the past days. 

the 800-peso room 
We arrived at around 7 a.m. and went straight to the Genesis bus' parking (no terminal for them) and tried our lucks to reserve our ride home. We were trying to score the Joy Bus but it was fully booked for the next three days and we cannot reserve for the regular Genesis bus, we just have to be at the central terminal at 10:00 a.m. (the last bus from Baler-Cubao). Booo us. So we just went to the home stay. It was just a short walk from the central terminal/public market. Just walk right outside the market's gate and you will definitely see the home stay right away. They don't have a business name and it operates as a home stay. Just look for the KL Javers furniture store and that's the house.

receiving area on the second level

artworks of Vincent Gonzales (one of the owners of the house)
We were greeted by the Gonzales couple who owns the house and ushered us to our room (there was no check-in time). Our 800-peso room is a very basic one - a bed, TV set, aircon and a lot of books on the shelves. It was really homey. The only setback for me was the shared bathroom and toilet. Although they have a separate bathroom for the ladies and gents, it felt like they didn't have time to clean it regularly. The floor was so slippery. 

While my friend was asleep, I explored the house and the backyard area. 

The owners have a furniture business so that explains the abundance of woodworks around the house. Also, Vincent Gonzales is a painter and I extremely love his "art house" and gallery at the back - the wife also meditates in this area every morning. The Gonzales' home stay has its own unique feel and vibe to it. But then, we really wanted to stay at the beach and watch the surfer guys and their bodies learn how to surf. So after my friend's siesta, we went to Sabang beach to fulfill that need.

Elaine MM Lodge-Inn 0919.537.9405
There are standard rates for tricycles in Baler and the tariff is posted on the windshield. We arrived at Sabang beach at around 3 p.m. and scouted all the resorts for ANY room available. We were that desperate to really stay there that any room (even a tent) will be ok. Almost all of the inns and lodging houses were occupied. We even asked some locals for home stays around the area but there were none.

We were about to quit the quest to find a beach front accommodation when we saw the Elaine MM Lodge. We inquired about the rooms and to our luck, a room will be available the next day. It was just perfect for our plan. We inspected the room (which we could've do away with) and saw that it was just the right one for us. The fan room has a bed, cabinet, dresser, sink, own toilet and bathroom for 500 pesos only! Not bad eh. The aircon room (which was not available at that time) was at 1,200 pesos, same amenities as the fan room - ok na kami sa fan room :)


our own balcony
fan, bed, sink - no TV
cabinet, dresser, own toilet and bath
We immediately paid the said amount and told ate Ellaine (the owner) that we will come back the next day to stay there. Our plans went well and thank goodness we didn't give up on looking for what we want. 

***Going back to Manila, we didn't catch the last Genesis bus to Cubao and what we did was ride a Cabanatuan bound bus (regular fare was 247 pesos and 197 pesos for students and senior citizens) and from Cabanatuan, we transferred to a Manila bound bus (regular fare 188 pesos and 148 pesos for me:) which took us almost 8 hours to get to Manila. ***

***And oh by the way, there are no (as of June 2012) Sun Cellular signal around Baler and its nearby towns so you better need a backup when going there if you only have Sun Cellular lines***

Check Baler, Aurora accommodations here




30 comments:

  1. the Gonzales' home stay is pretty decent but no no to shared toilets :( mas convenient tlga pg mi own cr inside the room. and mm inn is good for 500 na ha. o9kay na yang fan! excited for your next post! Wohooo

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    1. super ok na talaga yung fanroom sa MM dahil own toilet and beach front pa. :)

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  2. waiting for the next post :) Sobrang okay na sa akin ung 500 te.

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  3. Next post pa pala ang mga activities, aabanagan ko post mo ma'am. Natuwa ako sa gamit na gamit si student ID, nakatipid ka ng 180 (nag compute ako hehe)dagdag pang kain din. Hehehe nakakatuwa minsan pala kahit store sa mall may discount din for students, makikita sa pagbabayad sa counter, sayang din ang discount pamasahe rin yun.

    http://www.discountstoresguide.com/2012/05/topman-students-discount.html (tapos na yung promo hehehe)

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    1. at talagang nag compute pa at may conclusion sa dulo remay ha. hehe. astig talaga tong id ko, pero sa transpo lang eh. not bad na rin :)

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  4. Buti may TV na ngayon, dati wala!

    Waaah good for you nakahanap kayo ng lodge near the beach!

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    1. ay talaga marx?! tapos 800. hmm... ok na ko sa 500-peso fan room namin. hehe

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  5. plan to go to this place pag wala nang bagyo

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  6. yay nakahanap kayo ng beach front khit pang 2nd day pa!!! atleast natuloy ang "watch the surfer guys and their bodies" plan. :P hehehe. pupunta din sana kami ng Baler ng last week of May kaso biglang hindi natuloy. :(( toinks!

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    1. hi joan! pag gusto talaga nagagawan ng paraan :)

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  7. panalo ito, mura na may mga art works pa. basta malinis at ligtas (tagalog!), ayos!

    next post please! :)

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    1. bongga ng tagalog! mahusay.

      super busy doc. ang hirap sumulat. hihi

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  8. ang bongga nung house na may mga artwork! winnner:) thank you for sharing some tips!

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  9. Weekends lang kau? kaya ba makapag beach and tour sa aurora ng 2 days 1 nyt? thanks Car!

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    1. no gladys, 3 days kami kaya dami time to tambay :)

      pero pag super early kayo, kaya naman. parang sila chyng 2 days lang check mo :)

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  10. do u have contact no. for MM? TY!

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  11. hi mam sexy,grabeh na itey,ang blogs mo VONGAAAA.......ang dami kong nkuha na tips mula syo,nxt wik pupunta kmi ng bora ni hubby ko,lahat ng tips mo dun,gagayahin ko except sa suot mong 2pc,diko keribels,nwawala c blakang eh,lolz..anyway nxt tym sama mo nmn kmi sa trip mo,thanks nd godbless.. :-)

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    1. haha. salamat naman po. enjoy boracay with hubby! :)

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  12. by the way mam sexy im amor cruz,friend na po tayo sa fb.di ako marunong mag post gamit yung google,thats why anonymous ako d2,thanks,

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  13. Hi blissful guro, I just want to ask kung sa Genesis na regular a/c needs early reservation. I know there executive bus needs one but were on a budget so opt to a regular a/c buses for direct trip. Is it daily route? Thanks.

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    1. hi ian! yung regular bus doen't need reservation. just go there an hour early of your chosen sched :)

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  14. hello po.. ung po bang MM 500php/person tas ung sa nauna 800php/person??

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  15. Hi po! Just want to ask how far is Elaine's Lodge from the baywalk or the majority of the hotels in Sabang? I am referring to Bay's Inn, Bayler's View, Costa Pacifica and the surfing schools. Thank you po.

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    1. It's very near the resorts you mentioned :)

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