Baler, Aurora, is one of the most popular vacationing destinations in Luzon – the leading cause? Their panoramic beaches just perfect for surfing. Many surfers in Metro Manila love heading up to Baler due to its relatively accessible location in Luzon, but Baler Aurora beaches aren’t all that the Aurora capital has to offer! It has historical spots, museums, art exhibits, great food, and more! With both culture and active life intertwined, it’s hard not to fall in love at first sight – or visit, in this case. And many people seem to be falling in love each day, as seen with the recent upsurge of new trendy establishments and restaurants which makes the town an up and coming, all-in-one destination. It can be hard to keep track of everything the coastal town has to offer, so if you’re looking for a great guide to Baler filled with more than just information about catching waves and water activities, then look no further because you’ll catch an in-depth inside to the ins and outs of the vibrant surfing paradise nestled up north.
- 1 How to get to Baler
- 2 How to Get Around in Baler
- 3 Baler Aurora Tourist Spots : What to do in Baler
- 3.1 1. Go Surfing – or learn how to surf if you don’t know yet!
- 3.2 2. Climb Up the Balete Tree
- 3.3 3. Hike Ditumabo Falls
- 3.4 4. Check out the Rock Formations in Diguisit Beach
- 3.5 5. Diguisit Falls
- 3.6 6. Go Boating at the Cruise Dicasalarin Cove
- 3.7 7. Enjoy Watersports
- 3.8 8. Appreciate Nature (Nature Green Forest Resort)
- 3.9 9. Play Mini Golf at Joker’s Hideaway
- 3.10 10. Go on an Organic Farm Tour and try Wine Berries (Azbahaen)
- 3.11 11. Go on a Historical Walking Tour
- 3.12 12. Appreciate Art
- 3.13 13. Sunrise walk
- 3.14 14. Ermita Hill
- 4 Where to Eat in Baler
How to get to Baler
Excited and raring to drive up to Baler? Here’s all the ways you can do it, ranging from buses to private transportation so you can take your pick based on budget and preference.
As of writing, there is only one bus company that has a route from Manila heading directly to Baler – the Genesis Transport Service. You can book and ride with them from the Cubao Bus Terminal. They have two different bus options, the regular bus and the Joy Bus.
- Regular Bus: Their regular (yet still air-conditioned!) bus option which rides for a total of approximately 6-7 hours from Cubao to Baler. A ticket will cost you P450, with no advance bookings required.
- Joy Bus: Still air-conditioned like their regular buses, but much more luxurious. The sleeper buses come fully equipped with an internet connection, snacks, blankets, pillows, and a hygiene kit as well as a bus stewardess to assist you with your concerns. The Joy Bus runs three times a day, with trips lasting 5 hours each at a fare of P750 per head.
Travelling via the R-8 with a private vehicle will take you around 5 hours assuming no traffic and rest stops are made along the way.
How to Get Around in Baler
Riding on the back of a driver’s motorbike, also locally known as habal-habal, is a popular way of getting around town with ease. A ride usually costs around 10-20 pesos per person depending on the distance. You can find them in the same places you can usually find a tricycle pick-up and drop-off point.
Similar to the prices of a motorbike, riding a tricycle will cost you 10-20 pesos. If you want to have a tricycle drive you around the entire day instead of having to find one over and over again, you can book your own convenient tricycle tours in the area, usually costing around 500-1000 pesos per day for a group of 3 people.
Baler Aurora Tourist Spots : What to do in Baler
1. Go Surfing – or learn how to surf if you don’t know yet!
- Sabang Beach: A surfing spot with easier, glassy waves and relatively calm waters especially during the summer season. During the colder months of October to February, however, beginners might want to observe caution as large waves are usually abundant during that period.
For Intermediates to Experts
- Charlie’s Point: This surfing point was made popular not only in the Philippines, but all across the world by being featured in the hit epic war film Apocalypse Now. Its local name is “Kagewad”, and is known for its right-hand and left-hand break waves which requires surfers to know how to turn their boards properly to stay afloat.
- Lindy’s Point: One of the formerly best-kept secrets of avid surfers, Lindy’s Point has an abundance of tall, short and sharp break waves which experts love to test their skills on – and get their hearts pumping with an adrenaline rush.
- Cobra Reef: Called “Dapa” by the locals, Cobra Reef in Cemento Beach is another spot frequented by surfing experts from all over the world. Its exceptionally high waves range from around 4-6 during the low season and up to a whopping 12-14 feet during the high season.
Given Baler’s worldwide reputation as a great surfing destination, there are a lot of surf schools which are well-established in the area. One personal favorite of mine, however, was the Nalu Surf Camp primarily because of the presence of good, accredited instructors. Surfing lessons at Nalu cost P350 per hour, all-inclusive of your personal instructor, surfboard, and even a free beer and picture. If you’re a more experienced surfer and just want to rent a board, their rates are P200 per hour, P400 for half day, and P800 for the whole day.
2. Climb Up the Balete Tree
The Balete tree is a 600-year old millenium tree with big, hanging roots – the biggest tree out of all of the Balete trees in the area. The hanging roots intertwine and twist together to form a cave where visitors can go inside. Given the tree’s strong foundation and hundreds of years of age, it’s very sturdy and easy to climb! Even amateur climbers and children will be able to climb ⅓ up to half of the length of the tree for some great pictures. There is an entrance fee of P15, as well as an additional P10 if you plan to enter the tree.
3. Hike Ditumabo Falls
The Ditumabo Falls in the town of San Luis is considered the largest waterfall in all of the Aurora province, featuring a 140-feet tall water drop. The hike takes around 30-45 minutes, where you’ll be walking over the rocky paths and streams. The bridge is currently down so visitors are expected to cross the river in order to get to the falls – so do be prepared to get quite soaked in the knee deep water. The entrance fee to the falls costs P30 and the required tour guide feecosts P200.
4. Check out the Rock Formations in Diguisit Beach
Diguisit Beach is indeed a popular surfing spot in Baler, but it is also frequented because of its beautiful rock formations right beside the Cobra Reef. Because the beach faces the northwest, the location is the perfect place to watch the sunrise and the sunset, the beautiful orange-red background perfectly foregrounded by the rock formations in front – really great for pictures and Instagram shots. Because the beach is privately owned, visitors will have to pay an entrance fee of P20 before exploring the vicinity however just nearby, there’s a public beach entrance—you can use that too if you wish.
5. Diguisit Falls
Unlike most other waterfall attractions, visiting the Diguisit falls requires absolutely no entrance fee. The falls are easily accessible near the Diguisit beach, located just right beside the road. There are multiple cascading mini-falls that form small pools where you can sit in and have the flowing water massage your back – do be careful, however, as the vicinity is rather rocky and slippery, definitely best traversed using proper footwear with thick, non-slip soles.
6. Go Boating at the Cruise Dicasalarin Cove
Dicasalarin Cove is a secluded beach cove around 30 minutes away from Sabang Beach. Many different companies offer boat tour packages, like Seasta Beach Resort. There are many pretty sights and picturesque scenes of the pretty light-colored sand and crystal waters, but do be prepared for big waves and motion sickness if you go on a cruise during times where weather isn’t so good and the waters aren’t so calm. Once you arrive at the cove, there is a trail leading up to the Baler lighthouse for a terrific view of the surrounding islets. The area around the cove itself is quite beautiful and untouched since it’s private, there are no hotels, resorts and tourist setups on the beach and there are even natural caves to explore. Of course, the main attraction of the cove is its unique rock formations. Entrance costs P300 per person and the fee for the gate pass can be paid at the Bahia de Baler Garden Resort
7. Enjoy Watersports
Of course, one of the main reasons to visit Baler is for its watersports (aside from surfing, that is). There are many different water sports you can try out, even extreme ones for the more daring of heart. There are various tour groups and company which offer packages, like Buoyancy Water Sports that has packages with each activity good for 15 minutes.
- UFO Couch: This was my personal favorite! It’s where you and a group of friends sit on an inflatable “couch” while being dragged across the waters by an engine-powered boat. Fair warning, however – if you’re the one seated in the center then you may exert more effort than the rest. But if you love the thrill and adventure, then this is definitely the ride for you. This is also perfect for guys or heavier individuals so the weight is balanced evenly throughout the inflatable couch. It costs P350 per person, with a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 7.
- Flying Fish: This ride requires more hand power and action – the ones seated at the bottom or right side struggles a bit more. Like with the UFO Couch, you’re placed on an inflatable raft connected to a boat but this time you have to hold on tightly to control and keep balance as you “fly” through the waters and up into the air. Flying Fish costs P550 per person, minimum of 4 and a maximum of 5.
- Banana Boat: A bit more lax and easy compared to the ones above, but still rather thrilling! Your group sits on a banana-shaped boat and rides through the waters. P250 per person, minimum of 6 and maximum of 10.
- Torpedo: Ride in a raft with two other friends as the engine boat “torpedoes” you through the waves and the waters, a fast and fun-filled ride. Costs P1000 per ride, good for 2-3 persons.
8. Appreciate Nature (Nature Green Forest Resort)
The Nature Green Forest Resort in Cemento Beach is ideal for a quick getaway from the bustling, noisy city life and into the green, fresh beauty of nature. It features a private beach area, lots and lots of trees and shrubs, as well as clean, cool and comfortable accommodation. There are also activities available to do at the resort, such as bamboo and kayak riding.
9. Play Mini Golf at Joker’s Hideaway
Joker’s Hideaway is 15 kilometres away from Baler, an athletic field that features mini golf as its main attraction. It has a 16-hole course that goes through a very picturesque scene of grassy fields and mini fish ponds and pools – so you can play and enjoy the scenery at the same time! You can play all you want for just P50 per person, P25 for children.
10. Go on an Organic Farm Tour and try Wine Berries (Azbahaen)
The Azbahaen Leisure Farm and Resort, aside from being an accommodation, is also filled with swimming pools, fish ponds, and organic herb and vegetable gardens! You can go on a tour throughout the property, buy some of the fruits and vegetables for your very own salad – topped with the fish you can catch at their ponds! They also grow their very own wine berries. It’s definitely a home away from home – while there isn’t an internet connection and phone signal, you’ll still feel content and at peace.
11. Go on a Historical Walking Tour
Baler isn’t only a town for recreation. It’s home to lots of museums and historical locations – after all, Baler is a very old city! Here’s some of the destinations you can visit on your very own historical walking tour, allowing you to catch a glimpse on the heritage and background of the quaint surfing town. What’s more, all of these historical structures are easily accessible to one another by short walks.
Baler Church: The Baler Church, located in front of the Baler municipal hall, is a quaint simple church – but don’t be deceived by its simple looks, the structure has quite a bit of history behind it. It is where the Siege of Baler occured, where the Filipino revolutionaries seized the church that housed the trapped Spanish colonists for a total of 337 days.
Dona Aurora House: Towards the gate of the church, you will find a replica of Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon’s ancestral house. She was the wife of Manuel Quezon, the second president of the Philippines. Given that she was born in the town of Baler, the entire province of Aurora was named after her in honor of all of the good she has done for the province, as well as the entire country, with her charities and welfare activities targeted to help the needy.
Quezon Park: Quezon Park is a small park which houses a statue of the late Philippine president Manuel Quezon, seated at the very center of the uplifted concrete covered in grass and fenced in. You can also find a replica of Quezon’s home where he grew up, as well as the vehicle he used while he was the president of the country.
Museo de Baler: Also known as Baler Museum, is home to many of the province’s important artefacts and items. It rests right behind the Quezon statue, a beautiful background to the president’s figure with the stunning carved designs at the entrance.
12. Appreciate Art
Art-lovers will want to stop at the Vincent Gonzales Art Museum on the way out of Baler in San Luis, Aurora. It features beautiful paintings inspired by the people and natural beauties of Aurora and Baler, vibrant and saturated depictions of stones and waves of local beaches as well as portraits encapsulating the culture and heritage of the early Filipino citizens. Even if you’re not an artist yourself, the paintings are admirable and will definitely make you stop and stare.
13. Sunrise walk
Of course, a great way to top off your beach visits in Baler is by getting up early and going for a walk to catch the sunrise. The beaches in Aurora are definitely perfect for those “long walks on the beach”, especially when aside from the waves and the waters, the beautiful rock formations are also there to catch your eye. A good time to start seeing the sunrise is around 5:00 in the morning. Plus, the soft Baler sands are great for walking on barefoot.
14. Ermita Hill
Ermita Hill is a great place to catch views of the towns below – particularly the town of Baler as well as the nearby Sabang Beach. But what makes the area all the more interesting is the fact that, according to the locals, the coastal area near Baler where many communities and families once lived was completely devastated by strong, tall waves in the past, destroying many homes and taking lives. Only six families were able to make it out of the disaster by climbing up the Ermita Hill – hence why there is a statue of individuals with interlocked hands climbing the hill present. Apparently, all of the Baler locals’ heritage and ancestry can be traced back to those very six families. There is an entrance fee of P15, and the money earned goes to funding the education of local students at a nearby college in Baler.
Where to Eat in Baler
As mentioned earlier, Baler’s rise in popularity in the past few years has led to lots of new establishments popping up – and that includes a horde of great restaurants and eateries. After all, there’s nothing better to top off a day at the beach or the museum than with a nice, hearty meal or hot coffee paired with a sweet dessert.
1. The Bays Inn
The Bay’s Inn restaurant overlooks a view of the beautiful Sabang beach, serving various Filipino favorites such as their popular crispy pata, best paired with a selection of ice cold beers. I was surprised to see that their restaurant was so new, recently having had a soft opening. We’ve been here before but this time around they reconstructed and it looks so different now. The food, however, tastes just how I remember – still super good.
2. Myrtle Park
Myrtle Park is an up and coming food and skateboard park with cool aesthetics perfect for a lifestyle Instagram post. They also have a bar and the drinks sold there are quite affordable – my double shot of whiskey only cost me P200. They have a cool ambiance too, no wonder it’s where many surfboarders and skateboarders like to hang out after a long day through the parks and at the beach. During events, they have lots of extra decorations up such as neon lights and fog machines.
3. Yellow Fin Bar & Grill
Yet another bar on Buton Street close to the popular Sabang beach, Yellow Fin is home to a laid-back, open air ambience where you can enjoy meals that come fresh off the grill – particularly fish and other freshly caught seafood. Have a drink, kick back and relax to the tune of the old-school music blasting through the speakers.
4. Seasta Beach Resort
The Seasta Beach Resort in Zabali is home to a hidden, delicious secret – their bar and restaurant which is set up to resemble and function like a traditional British pub. Here you can have a nice drink alongside both Filipino and international finger foods or pulutan while watching sports on their flat screen television. After having a meal, visitors can have some fun on the darts board or pool table.
5. Bike Kings
The Bike Kings Kitchen has cool chairs that make you feel as if you’re on a bike yourself – there are normal chairs too, however, for those who want to be more comfortable while they eat. Bike Kings has a lovely ambience centered around the theme of bikes, so you can find bikes, trinkets and old-school knick knacks and displays littered around. Aside from the surroundings, the restaurant also serves delicious and affordable Filipino food.
6. Kubli Bistro
Kubli Bistro is one of Baler’s most beloved restaurants, prized for its great food. They serve Filipino, Mexican, American, and Italian dishes so you have a wide range of different options to pick on the menu. Some of their most popular include the Kubli rice, pizza, and tacos. They also have a live band which usually plays acoustic music as you eat, making for a very enjoyable and entertaining dining experience.
7. La Patricia Hotel and Restaurant
La Patricia Hotel is a lovely place to stay in and of itself, but its in-house restaurant is a great spot to eat as well. La Patricia’s restaurant hosts a bountiful yet affordable buffet serving all sorts of different Filipino favorites such as grilled fish and meats paired with rice and veggies – all served on banana leaves so you can eat with your hands.
8. Gerry Shan’s Picnic Bay
Affordable and delicious are two words that best describe Gerry Shan’s. Despite coming with a very enticing 200 peso price tag, the restaurant doesn’t skimp on its variety of meals ranging from seafood like squid and shrimp as well as meats like chicken and beef. They even serve desserts, drinks, and salads to help you wash it all down.
9. Mumunsi Chocolate Café
As the name implies, this is a great place to get your chocolate fix. Mumunsi is a serene cafe with a variety of different – and adventurous – chocolate drinks and desserts. It’s a perfect fit, considering that rainy Aurora is one of the leading producers of cacao in the Philippines. You can try out a range of dark, milk, and white cacao concoctions as well as some more interesting menu items such as chili chocolate bars and spicy hot chocolate – perfect for simmering down after a chill day catching waves.
Of course, Baler is an ever-growing town with new establishments and activities popping up each day – but this guide is a great place to start. With everything you could ever want at your fingertips – beaches, surfing, water sports, great food, great cafes – it’s hard to convince yourself not to visit the stunning surfing town up north. Have any more suggestions on great places to visit and explore in Baler and Aurora? Comment down below or contact: