Circle Hostel, Baler
If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you already know that I fell in love with surfing one stormy day in January of 2013. That day, I decided to take a bus and go on my first Baler adventure. Lately, I have been conquering mountains but I miss the calling of my first love, the beach, so when I was invited to go to Baler and stay at the Circle Hostel, I had no doubts and immediately said “yes”.
Arts and Expression
If you are gifted in the arts, then you would definitely enjoy Circle Hostel. Grab a paint brush and express yourself however way you want. Paint the walls, the stairs, the floor, the bathroom ———take your pick, there is a spot for you to express yourself.
If you are like me, who can’t paint to save her life, then you can draw inspiration from the writings on their walls. I particularly loved that the mirror said “Hey Good Looking” reminding one that you are beautiful, no matter what. The paintings and the colors provide a “feel good” atmosphere.
3.Good Location + Affordable Price
Tucked in a small alley just a few meters from Aliya Hotel, Circle Hostel provides that quiet ambiance away from the busy surf waters, and yet near enough when you do decide to hit it and surf. On some days, you may have to bear with the people having their karaoke session next door. Better yet, just join them.
For a price of 450php to 550php, you get either a hammock or a bunk bed depending on the season. There are also private rooms that cost Php 1200-1300, again depending on when you go. Bathrooms are shared but there is a separate one for males and females, each with 3 toilets (with bidets) and 3 showers ( with hot water). There is also space for you to hang your wet clothes.
4. Awesome Surf Instructor with their partner, El Dawn.
Though I had had some surf instruction before, many of those I shared this trip with had never done so. The instructors of El Dawn were very patient, cheering us on and giving us the mojo to go on. At the end of the hour, all the instructors made a bet that the one who falls off his/her surf first treats everyone to “tapsilog”. This motivated us and at the count of three, we all stood up and did our best to stay up on our boards for as long as we could. The result: a long ride—-terrific ending.
There is never a last wave; you’d always want more when you’ve done a long ride. No one wants to end on a “bad” ride; hence it took forever dragging us out of that water.
I intend to not let the waves of change knock me off my feet but instead, learn How to ride them. #surfing. Thank you @circlehostel #circlehostel for hosting us in #baler this weekend. #travelph #the_ph #wtnadventures #lostinph #freespiritsph #sperryblockpartyph
A photo posted by karlaroundtheworld (@karlaroundtheworld) on
I am not good at skateboarding, but I sure did try to learn it a lot that weekend. Circle Hostel Baler has a colorful half pipe in their common area where real skaters can either show off their skills or teach beginners like myself how to skate. What a perfect bonding experience right there.
Lying on a half pipe. Amazing weekend skate+surf +passion weekend. Thank you @circlehostel for having us. #circlehostel #baler #travelph #lostinph #the_ph #freespiritsph A photo posted by karlaroundtheworld (@karlaroundtheworld) on
6. Healthy Breakfast + Provisions to cook your OWN food.
For breakfast, Circle Hostel serves fruit and bread. Raf Dionisio, one of the owners, says that this is a good jump start for surfing. It’s healthy and it doesn’t get you too heavy for the ride. If it’s not enough for you, then there is also a mini kitchen where you are allowed to cook your own food.
During our stay, Circle Hostel took us to Ditumabo Falls. They also offer tours to the Balete Tree, Diguisit Falls ( click to read a past article about it ) and more. Ask the reception where they are headed to during your stay; this will be a good way for you to see Baler and make new friends.
8. Cozy Common Area
Oh, the common area! Yes, the common area. So relaxing and so cozy, I find myself willing to fall asleep there every time. It has lots of colorful bean bags, a hammock, and an annex with a view. It’s a good place to bond, chill, and get to know other people. Look around, there are also cards, a chess board, and a ukelele.
As for me, I spent the whole night chatting with my new found friends.
9. Passion Workshop
Some of us are in jobs we like, and love their work. Some of us are in our jobs for the money, and just live with it. Our generation now tends to go where the money is, yet, isn’t it better if you do something that you are passionate about? Yeah, passion….we all use the word loosely, mainly because most of us don’t know what ours is, hence making it difficult to pursue.
That’s exactly what Circle Hostel’s Passion Weekend is there for——to help you figure out your passion. I was initially confused as to how the program would unfold. “Hello, of course, I know what I am passionate about” was the thought running through my head. Given that I was there, I decided to keep an open mind and give it a try.
The workshop is so simple and yet so difficult at the same time. You are forced to make decisions about your priorities and jot them down. We started by listing the things we think will be important to us or will make our lives ideal, and we had to rank them. (Lest I spoil its mystery, I shall stop here.)
Most of us enjoyed the activity, it taught us how to use simple steps to be able to determine our passions and focus in life. Much more, we ended up having goals and detailed steps as to how we can reach those goals. Of course, nothing is set in black and white, but the fact remains that after the workshop, you realize a lot about yourself, and learn how to live a life more directed towards your passions.
The Circle Hostel Baler is holding a Passion seminar on October 2- 4, 2015. The whole weekend is devoted to learning about yourself, surfing, yoga, health and relaxation. There is no better way to spend a weekend. Go ahead and give it a try. I assure you, you definitely won’t go home empty handed.
This was one of my favorites during our weekend stay there. The Passion Workshop, hosted by Raf, is a 5-part workshop that helps you visualize your priorities in life, your goals, and determine ways and concrete steps to achieve it. I personally loved the workshop. It made me reflect on a lot of things in my life. Faced between 2 difficult choices, I now know what my priorities are.
10. Amazing New Found Friends
Best of all, at the Circle Hostel Baler, “There are no strangers, just friends.”
What more can I ask for? Would I stay here again? Most definitely.