1st Surf & Music Festival in Baler, Aurora
Before I begin this blog, I want to express my utmost gratitude to Biyaherong Barat’s avid readers for continuously visiting my tiny piece of space in the vast world wide web contributing to over 10,000 hits this blog received. It may not mean much but every hit meant a lot to me. Biyaherong Barat has been on hold for quite some time due to my ankle injury that required operation, therapy, and lots of rest. It doesn’t matter now because I’m back on my feet, kicking, and hungry for more adventure and brand new experiences. Pack your bags, and once again let’s hit the road head North East towards a province I fell in love since the first time I stepped foot on their town. Hello Baler, we’re back.
TravelFactor.org and Aloha Boardsports held the 1st Surf & Music Festival in Baler, Aurora which is a coastal town situated in the east. Surfers frequent Baler for it’s waves suited for both beginners and experts. Nobody wanted to be left out. Surfers and surfing enthusiast, musicians and music fans, beach fanatics, travelers and adventurers all over the Philippines gathered in Baler for 3 days and 3 nights of surfing, sound, and sand. My friends and I did not want to be left out as well, we wanted to be part of this big event so we planned this trip since August.
Genesis Bus Lines had always provided travelers direct transportation to and from Aurora’s Provinces like Baler and Casiguran, but this time we’re brought our own vehicles: an SUV and a sedan type which was not a good idea. Road development projects were still under way where rough roads, mud, and patches remain obstacles. There was no turning back, as we alighted the vehicle then walk towards the paved road, ride, alight on rough road, walk, paved road, ride and so on and so forth. The SUV, on the other hand, has little less to worry about.
Sunrise view from Bay’s Inn Restaurant
The seven hour drive not to mention the struggles encountered got the group really hungry. We went looking for a nice place to fill our stomachs with a nice hefty breakfast but unfortunately several carinderia’s along the way were still closed. We reached Sabang Beach around 5AM and had breakfast at Bay’s Inn where they offer delicious food on large servings for a reasonable price. In addition, it’s a good spot to have coffee while watching the sun come out of the horizon.
Base camp was the next agenda which brought us to Bahia De Baler 2 where tents can be pitched in its soft grass grounds. In addition, gazebos installed with electrical outlets can also be used guest for free. Clean restrooms and shower area are also available in Bahia 2’s camping area. To ensure safety of guest and their belongings, a security guard watched over the area 24/7. The P300.00/night pitching fee was not bad after all especially if it comes with these amenities.
Campgrounds of Bahia de Baler 2.
With stomachs filled, tents pitched, and fees settled, everyone got their board shorts and bikinis on and headed towards Sabang Beach. Grey sanded beaches of Sabang was full of pulsating motion and movement. Beach lovers began the three day event under the sun and enjoying the salt water of the blue Pacific. Huge barrels of waves gave surfers a hell of a ride. Sabang Beach’s vibe was overflowing with energy.
Participants of Baler Surf & Music Festival started arriving. Itineraries were jam-packed with all day activities from surfing lessons, frisbee clinics, and beach volleyball. Non-participants like us sat on the beach having cold beers while listening to island tunes and staring at the vivid blue sky.
Fine morning in Sabang Beach.
Surfing in Baler.
Surfing in Baler
Might as well try Frisbee for a change.
Playing catch and throw
Day turned into dusk then the real party was just getting started. Thick bass lines, clashing of crash-over-ride cymbals, and the scratching guitar sound of the funky reggae beat were heard from Bahia 2. Music fans and event participants were called upon to join the celebration. Spectators danced to the island rhythms of Spy, Coffee Break island, Tropical Depression, and Baler’s homegrown, Peter North Band. Kicking in with Pedicab’s electronic rock anthems even made the party wilder. Metal heads sang and jumped together to Franco’s metal rock-reggae music. But above all, highlighting my evening was the goosebumps-inducing music of Pinoy rock legend, Wolfgang. Having the best bands in one of the best surfing and beach destinations in the country was a blast.
Rock legend Basti Artadi of Wolfgang shot by Jay Pagulayan (click link for more of Jay’s photos)
Franco Reyes of Franco shot by Dax Flores (click link for more of Dax’s photos)
Urbandub’s Gabby Alipe playing guitars for Franco. Shot by Jay Pagulayan.
The harmonious orchestra of the crashing waves, chirping of sea birds, and brushes of trees was the music played the next morning as I sat down by the break water. Surfers carried their boards and went to the sea to catch an early morning ride. Baler has always been famous for being a surf destinations so the experience would not be complete if its visitors won’t at least try them. Surfboard rentals come as cheap as P150.00 to P200.00 so why not try it.
Early morning in Baler
Sun rises from behind the mountains
A random lady picking up shells walked to us and handed over 2 pieces of shells and said, “Gusto niyo matuto, diba?” (you want to learn, right – referring to surfing). We thought will be pros in no time, but no.
I am so happy I was part of this event. Good job TravelFactor and Aloha Boardsports. Hopefully, this becomes an annual event. Nice big event, great bands, good vibrations. Thank you and congratulations.
So there you go. I’ve been longing to ride on my next adventure and Baler got me back on track with a vengeance. Four days in Baler was blast. My hangover lasted for weeks. Our lifestyle was… I don’t know. Wow! I wake up early morning, playing on the radio was Mishka, I went out for a quick dip on the beach, listen to the music, play the guitar. I missed this. I want to thank God for getting me back on my feet. I’m built for this. This is my calling. I want to thank my friends also for lending me money so I can join this trip. Spending time with families and friends on trip like these are investments. I want to invest in memories so someday I’ll tell my kids what we did when we were on Baler. (This part is really unnecessary but I’m just so happy to be back and I want to thank everyone for carrying me when I was down, and got me back on my feet.)
Until our next adventure, my good friends and biyahe buddies.
Scared at the 1st Surf & Music Festival Baler
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. Bringing your own vehicle may not be a good idea until the road is paved and very well established.
2. Bahia De Baler tent pitching fee cost P300.00 per tent. Also installed in the campgrounds are gazebos, washrooms, comfort room, and security.
3. Surfboard rentals cost around P150.00-P200.00 per hour.
4. More Baler adventures in Biyaheng Aurora Province.
5. Like BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.
6. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
The remaining three.