Holy Week in Baler Aurora

BALER, AURORA – Staying during Holy Week in Baler Aurora was not easy. Baler was just too crowded. But, if the urge of surfing was just too strong, I guess nobody can stop you really.

The great company and some good fun somehow made it all worth the long road travel, busy restaurants and jam-packed beach.

This was easy to categorize as “biglang-yaya-walang-plano-hindi-alam-kung-sino-sasama-o-matutuloy-ba-to” trip. Maybe people were just bored and nothing else to do for the Lenten season.

Getting an accommodation for possibly 10 to a dozen people was a headache. I have given up on my Agoda.com skills here. The group was just too big to have a consensus on a place that is just right; location-wise and price-wise.

The only lodge we were able to talk to that can accommodate us was Mel’s Nest Lodge. A family-owned lodge along Sabang Beach and near Aliya Surf Camp Resort. The proprietress was really patient with my queries. Mel’s Nest Lodge has 3 rooms with one room that can sleep 12 persons. It is basically a room full of bunk beds with one attached bathroom/shower room. Hence using the toilet or taking a bath for that matter can be a long queue. The place has no website but has a Facebook page. I was not able to take pictures of the family room as well. Here are Mel’s Nest Lodge numbers: +639206323043 and +639205245004.

The easiest landmark for Mel’s Nest Lodge will be the Cautibar & Grill as they are neighbors.

Other accommodations you can check out in Baler

Since people will be coming from different parts of Metro Manila, organizing the meet-up point in the bus station itself was just logical. We thought we can ride the direct bus route to Baler using Genesis Transport Service. Even though it was just around ten in the evening, all the buses going to Baler have already left. Our next option was to go to Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija (cost is around 200 PHP per pax). It took us three hours to arrive early morning in Cabanatuan City Central Transport Terminal.

Luckily, there was a lone jeepney waiting for passengers going to Baler. The Transport Terminal has a 7-11 shop and a creepy toilet area. We waited for about half an hour before the jeepney driver decided to go with full passengers eager to reach Baler. Unluckily, we have experienced a breakdown along the way and had to wait for the engine to cool down.

It took us almost 4 hours to reach Baler town proper. Our bodies were quite shaken by the ride along Pantabangan-Canili-Basal-Baler Road. Good thing the Owner of Mel’s Nest Lodge was quick to fetch us from the transport terminal. We needed a rest after this ordeal.

After some rest and freshening up done, we went to Hungry Surfer Bay’s Inn to try their buffet breakfast. This was not a deliberate choice. The whole Sabang Beach walkway was crowded with people. We are just exhausted to look further for at least a place with not much people. And this was buffet! It was not our original plan to eat like a pig!

The next thing we have decided to do is some sightseeing in the old downtown. To see the free Museo de Baler, Quezon Park, the old church and Donya Aurora Aragon-Quezon House. We rented a tricycle from our lodge to the town proper. Since we are already there, we visited the Rolling Stores beside the park. And again, we were not already surprised that this area was crowded as well.

We decided to go back to our lodge and finally take a dip in Sabang Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Once it was dark, it was time again to look for food. Gerry Shan’s Place was still crowded at nine in the evening. We ended eating in a makeshift stall of Chowking in the plaza. After our dinner we did not realize that Yellowfin Bar and Grill is just along the road that we passed by getting to downtown.

The next morning, we just want some good old tapsilog as breakfast. We were lucky to find one. Sadly, once we were already saying our orders, we were informed one by one that it is either not available or already sold out.

We had our breakfast in Yellowfin Bar and Grill. Good thing they were open early.

For anyone wanting to try surfing, they are booths along the Sabang Beach walkway that you can approach. I decided that not try it. I have done surfing in La Union before and I am already okay with that experience.

The going rate in surfing in Baler is 350 pesos per hour.

After the surfing try-out, we decided to do a Baler tour on tricyle. We have chosen to visit Ermita Hill and Diguisit Falls.

Ermita Hill will give you a good vantage view of the whole Baler area. Just be ready with some leg work on the stairs going to the top. You can skip this if you will bring you car on top of the hill. You can hike more to reach a big cross but we opted not to do this. Ermita Hill is a good place to take some pictures as well.

Diguisit Falls is along the main road and literally beside the highway.

After a long queue to the bathroom again, we manage to muster all our strength to go outside and eat dinner.

We checked out Cautibar & Grill. A stone’s throw away from Mel’s Nest Lodge. But they don’t serve dinner. This should not be a surprise really. We just want rice after being in the road for a while!

We then just went again to Hungry Surfer Bay’s Inn for their buffet dinner.

It started raining after our dinner. This was already the start of our “delubyo.”

We needed to go back to Manila the next morning. The only way to do this is get to the bus station of Genesis really early. As per their schedule, the first bus to leave is around 1AM.

We queued around 11PM. Yes, that early. The rain has not stopped at this point.

There was no system to know which among the incoming hordes of passengers are falling in line. Since it is still raining, everyone was trying to squeeze themselves in the waiting shed areas.

Exactly 1 AM, passengers were already making a commotion since nobody was yet to give any instructions when we are going to board the bus. Finally we were told of the bad news: there were no bus drivers!

We left Baler at around four in the morning and arrived in Manila by 11AM.

When planning to do your Holy Week in Baler Aurora trip, make sure to book in advance the round trip Joy Bus or bring a car with a driver.