Baler is a quaint surfing town that has a lot to offer to travelers in terms of activities. It has both man-made attractions and natural wonders that are all worthy of a visit. Baler also has historical locations that offer a glimpse into the town’s rich past.
To see the most popular sights in Baler, you only need a day or two depending on where you are staying, the places you would want to visit, and on how long you would stay in one location. The best way to go around town is via tricycle. The standard tricycle rate for a day of roaming is P800. We were very fortunate to have met a driver who was very professional and who was conversant with the different tourist spots in Baler. He is Kuya Boyet Gomez and his number is 09381127335.
Here is a rundown of the must-see places in Baler:
1. Ermita Hill
Located in Barangay Zabali, Ermita Hill is around five kilometers from the town proper of Baler. To reach the top of the hill, we had to pass by a steep slope surrounded by trees. When we got to the top, we were greeted by the breathtaking sight of the Pacific Ocean. Apart from the expansive view of the Pacific, however, there weren’t really much to see on top.
At the foot of the hill, there were sculptures depicting how the people of Baler fled the great tsunami that ravaged the town in the 1700s.
2. Diguisit Bay and Rock Formations
From Ermita hill, our guide brought us southward to Diguisit Bay. We stopped by the roadside to have a bird’s eye view of the bay and, from where we were standing, we saw the Dimadimalangat and Aniao Islets, a cluster of rock formations protruding from the sea. These group of small islands are collectively called Diguisit Rock Formations.
Afterwards, we drove further down to Amco Beach Resort to see the islets up close. Amco Beach resort charges a minimal entrance fee of Php20 per person.
The resort is a quaint strip of property standing on cream-colored sand with a generous sprinkling of pebbles and crushed shells. It also offers accommodation for tourists who want to spend the night here.
The rock formations were very near the shore and it was low tide so were able to go near. The rocks were very sharp and can be slippery so one has to be extra careful, especially when having your photos taken.
These are rocky formations jutting out of the sea and shaped by the pounding Pacific Ocean waves.
These are small islands near the Dimadimalangat Islets and characterized by lush shrubberies growing on top.
Watching the waves
We spent a few more minutes at Amco Beach Resort, hoping to get dramatic shots of heart-stopping waves. Here are the results:
3. Hanging bridge
After our visit to Diguisit Bay, we drove back to Zabali Road, and made a right turn when we reached the end of the highway. We passed through a rough road with thick foliage by the roadside until we reached a small clearing with a few houses. There, we saw the hanging bridge. It was not really a tourist destination per se but it provides a nice view of the Sabang River emptying to the Pacific Ocean. Our driver Kuya Boyet told us that the bridge connects the two Barangays of Tibang and Sabang.
4. Aurora Aragon House
Our next stop was the replica of the ancestral house and birthplace of former first lady Aurora Aragon-Quezon, who was a well-loved humanitarian and served as the first chairman of Philippine Red Cross. Mrs. Quezon was assassinated together with her daughter five years after the death of President Manuel L. Quezon while they were on their way to the inauguration of a hospital. The province of Aurora was named after Mrs. Quezon.
The house retained the details of the original one, as well as the old furniture and utensils. It had a library that also served as a gallery of antique photos.
5. Baler Church
Just across the Aurora Aragon house is the Baler Church, the site of the Siege of Baler, a turning point in the history of Baler when locals rose against Spanish colonizers. In the end, the Filipino troop emerged victorious.
6. Museo de Baler
The Museo de Baler provides an account of Baler’s rich history as well as works by local artists. Entrance fee is a minimal Php60 per head.
7. Balete Park
We drove to the nearby town of San Luis to see another attraction — a 600 year old Balete Tree standing proudly in the middle of a park. Before proceeding to have your photos taken, you have to pay a minimal entrance fee of Php10 per head.
There are persons inside the park who can assist you in taking your photographs. They are very well-versed when it comes to using the Panorama setting of a smartphone or camera so expect creative shots of yourselves around the Balete tree.
8. Ditumabo Falls aka Mother Falls
Our last stop was Ditumabo Falls, also known as Mother Falls, in the town of San Luis. Normally, tricycles and cars are allowed to drive up to the point where the trail going up to the falls begins.
However, during our visit, the road was under construction so it was passable only by foot. Thus, we had to add an extra 30 minute trek to the actual 45 minute hike to the falls. At the start of the trail, do check out the small hydroelectric power plant which supplies electricity in Aurora.
We had to pass by large boulders, small steams and slippery rocks on our way to the falls. All the while, we had to tread alongside an aqueduct that channels water from Ditumabo Falls to the hydroelectric power plant. Do keep your eyes also on the small falls that you will pass by before reaching the Mother Falls.
When we finally reached the Mother Falls, we were greeted by a column of raging water of about 50 meters high. The pond which catches the water from the falls was clear and very cold. We initially wanted to take a dip to cool us down from the long trek but the water was as cold as ice. Instead, we waded in the pool until we felt relaxed and energized for the long journey back.
We were informed by Kuya Boyet that there were such other beautiful falls in Aurora, particularly in Casiguran town. These are still not accessible to tourists though because of lack of a good trail.
One must-see sight in Baler, the Dicasalarin Cove, was unfortunately closed to tourists that time because of the damage and litter caused by the recent Typhoon Kabayan.
Tired from our day full of activities, we headed back to Casitas to rest, freshen up and get ready for dinner.
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