Baler: Nine Things To Do At The Heart Of Aurora Province

surfing in baler aurora

The northeastern province simply has tons to offer every intrepid traveler, thrill seekers, and wanderers, both local and foreign, could not resist. This Aurora trip, however, was not about us but a very good friend who crossed the vast Pacific and flew halfway across the world in search of the American dream. Returning to the Philippines for a short vacation, squeezing an activity-filled vacation would be difficult. Fortunately, there’s Baler to fill in the gaps.

Sixteen hours earlier, the eager beaver trio left Manila and when I was packing my stuff, they were getting busy with their tan under the Sabang Beach sun. Direct buses to Baler were only until 7AM so I was left with taking two transfers. Five Star Buses have regular trips to Cabanatuan, and from there I could catch a van to Baler. However, the Cabanatuan-Baler schedules were indefinite. I just hoped I’d be able to catch the last trip, and fortunately I did. After my grueling 7-hour trip, I arrived in Baler past midnight. The long haul gave me a safe journey through the pitch black roads of the Siera Madre Mountains in Nueva Vizcaya to Baler Terminal.

BBC Inn Baler Aurora PhilippinesGreen sawali walls of BBC Inn.

Food in rolling store baler aurora philippinesDining in the so called, “Rolling Store”, with lots of viands to choose from.

Rolling Store Baler Aurora PhilippinesRolling Store

Among the numerous guest houses and hotels along Sabang Beach, BBC’s P700.00 room with a single queen size bed and a private C.R. installed would suffice our 4-day endeavor in the coastal province. Distinct green ‘sawali’ (woven split bamboo mats) walls make BBC easy to find when wandering along Sabang Beach’s breakwater. Across the room is an open hut guest may use for dining or viewing the huge waves of the vast Pacific.

If in search of a hefty but low cost meals, rows of eateries called, “The Rolling Store”, offering budget-friendly viands, tons to choose from. Under large colorful umbrellas, indulge in authentic Filipino home-cooked dishes al fresco style. At The Rolling Store, one would definitely get a bang for their buck. Why named Rolling Store? Even its vendors do not know the history.

Dona Aurora House Baler AuroraInside the house of Dona Aurora.

Get down to Baler’s cultural and historical roots in Museo de Baler located just behind the Rolling Store. The museum holds significant artifacts, cultural heritage, and famous residents of the town like Dona Aurora Quezon, the wife of Former President Quezon. Might as well visit the home of one of Baler’s prominent figure Dona Aurora Quezon’s house which is a few meters from Museo. Getting to know the colorful history of Baler and the rest of Aurora is best done with a stroll around town.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) are a tricycle ride away from Museo de Baler. Landbank and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) ATM’s are located along the national highway just in front of the Aurora Tourism Office and Aurora Government Office. Travelers, and residents as well, would never run out of juice.

Aurora Tourism office BalerAurora Tourism Office

Aurora Provincial Capitol in BalerAurora Provincial Government Building

Aurora Provincial Capitol in BalerSteps leading from the park to Aurora Provincial Office.

Part of our day’s itinerary is a trip to one of Baler’s coastal baranggay called Zabali which holds an isolated counterpart of the bustling Sabang Beach.Through occasional drizzles in cliff side bumpy roads and landslide paths, we made it safe and sound to Digisit Beach (click to read full article on Digisit Beach).

Digisit Beach BalerDigisit Beach in Baranggay Zabali, Baler.

Spending the entire day in Digisit‘s kilometer stretch of coral beach was worth a visit. Our awesome but tiring day has come to end so we made our way back to Sabang Beach, while dropping by Baler Wet Market in Suklayin to buy meat and vegetables for our gourmet dinner back in BBC.

The cool breeze of the night swept Sabang Beach’s shores. Ocean mist brought by strong winds sends salty sprinkles on our faces. While we were cutting and slicing parts of our chicken barbeque, the winds were howling like wolves stalking their preys. We celebrated our night with a nice dinner and chit-chat over a few drinks. A swim in Sabang Beach, home-cooked viands in Rolling Store, a cultural visit in Museo de Baler, a whole afternoon in Digisit Beach, ending the day with beers and barbeques – my first day (second for them) was very well-spent.

at BBC Inn dinner baler auroraHaving dinner and some few drinks.

Sabang Beach Baler AuroraEarly morning swim in Sabang.

Thundering roars of waves crashing rampaging towards the beach can be heard from our beds. It was an invitation for an early morning dip in Sabang Beach’s refreshingly cool water. After a morning bath, where else to get a hearty breakfast rather than The Rolling Store.

An adventurous addition to our bucket list of activities is a day hike at the feet of the Siera Madre Mountain Range to San Luis’ Mother Falls. Going to San Luis is about an hour tricycle ride from Sabang until reaching Baranggay Ditumabo where our on-foot adventure kicks off. Under huge tree canopies of the rainforest we hiked through moss-covered paths and muddy trails, crossed streams with strong currents, and hopped one boulder to another before we reached the majestic Mother Falls of Baranggay Ditumabo.

Going to ditumabo mother falls san luis auroraChallenging the strong currents of the stream.

Ditumabo Mother Falls AuroraMother Falls of Baranggay Ditumabo, San Luis

Hiking in Ditumabo got us tired and worn out, but the thrill of accomplishment was rewarding enough to keep us going. Again for the nth time, we went to the Rolling Store to fill our rumbling tummies seeking something to digest.

In Bay-Ler View’s restaurant, we watch the full moon rise illuminating the sea and sat under the glittering stars, while consuming Filipino “pulutan” (finger foods matched with beer and alcoholic drinks) delicacies and drinking ice cold beer. Instead of getting our own table, we sat by the break water as we sang beach tunes in harmony with the ocean’s waves in an orchestra of their own.

night Sabang Beach Baler Aurora PhilippinesLit by the full moon and under the glittering stars we sat and celebrated such a beautiful night.

Any Baler vacation would not be complete without surfing, or at least try to surf. Before we end our four-day frenzy in Aurora, we borrowed a long board hoping to catch some waves and at least try riding it.

Waves in Baler reach a staggering height of  feet during the surfing seasons from September to February which attracted visitors from locally and across the globe. Waves during our visit weren’t even half as tall on surfing season but I was not able to stand up, but at least I tried. My hopes are still up and with a little more perseverance and commitment, I’d be able to ride like a pro.

surfing lessns in sabang beach baler aurora
Instructor teaching student what surfing is all about.

Surfing in Baler.

surfing lessons in sabang beach balerAt least we tried… at least we tried.

Souvenirs like shirts, fans, treats, sweets native products, wallets, and everything you can think of can be bought in Baler Pasalubong Center which is conveniently located beside the bus terminal. Prices begin as low as P10.00 coin purse which goes up depending on the item. With Baler’s Pasalubong Center you’ll never go back home empty handed.

souvenirs in baler aurora philippinesTons of souvenirs to choose from in Pasalubong Center.

Summing up our Aurora Province experience is the joy ride back to Manila on board Genesis Transport’s Joy Bus. With it’s wide 2-1 seater unit, a pillow and blanket, and more added features, Joy Bus guarantees a comfortable 4 to 5 hour trip.

genesis Joy bus baler auroraGenesis Transport’s Joy Bus.

Baler is a town with lots to offer and destinations to see. You may not do everything all in one visit but there’s always a slot in our must-do list on our next journey. So before I end this blog, let me recap 9 things you can do in Baler.

1. Eat at Rolling Store
2. Know the culture and history of Aurora in Museo de Baler.
3. Visit Dona Aurora Quezon’s house
4. Isolate yourself in Digisit Beach
5. Trek to the Mother Falls.
6. Dine and drink in Bay-Ler View’s restaurant.
7. Surf in Sabang Beach.
8. Buy souvenirs in Baler Pasalubong Center.
9. Ride the Joy Bus.

This blog is dedicated to my friend, Tammy, whom I never seen after high school, and after a few years I’ve heard she’s halfway across the planet. Our Baler trip was tailor made not to include any American thing, but make it 100% all Filipino. We wanted to show her what Juan Dela Cruz can offer which Uncle Sam cannot.

Thank you very much, Tammy. Your B-52’s will be waiting for you. Until next time.


Now here are some fast facts which may help on your trip:

1. Commuting via Cabanatuan:
Take a bus to Cabanatuan-SCTEX Five Star Bus  cost around P180.00. Alight at the Cabanatuan Terminal and where the van to Baler is. Fare cost P220.00. Now, I’m not sure about the last trip but I was there around 8PM. A fellow passenger who lives in Baler told me that there’s still a next trip.

2. BBC’s Green Room cost P700.00 per night. It has one bed, a regular C.R., and a fan. The gazebo/hut is free of use. It has a bench, a cabinet, and a long table. A nice view of Sabang Beach is also included with the package.

3. The Rolling Store is at the town proper, beside Museo de Baler. To go there, ask the tricycle to take you there. Food cost P30.00-P40.00 per order.

4. Tricycles are the best way to get around town. If you’re going on a tour better hire a tricycle for the whole day. Finding a tricycle in some baranggays might be difficult.

5. Surfboard rentals cost P150.00-P200.00 per hour.

6. More destinations in Aurora Province in Biyaheng Aurora.

7. Like BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.

8. Be safe and enjoy your trip.

Baler vacation 2012

25 thoughts on “Baler: Nine Things To Do At The Heart Of Aurora Province

  1. Best trip ever! You seriously made my visit back to the “motherland” worthwhile =) Aurora was soooo beautiful! This trip reminded me of everything a balikbayan is missing by living abroad. The authentic filipino food (“bopis everyday!”) from the rolling store, the airy breezy beach front hut of BBC, the comfy and efficient joy bus and tricycle, and ofcourse the adventure pleasing hiking trip to mother falls. When I got tired I relaxed, got hungry I ate, got bored went on an adventure, felt hot i swam and when I got thirsty I drank….a lot! SATISFACTION is a perfect word to describe this trip. At a very affordable cost, this trip will be marked on my book as “a trip to remember” =) Just to reiterate what a wise and good friend said to me before i left, “no goodbyes, just good vibes”

    • Thank you, Tam. When you get back, we’ll definitely prepare another trip to remember. And more Bopis for you. Hahahahaha! See you when we see you. Arecinamize!

      P.S. Tam, it’s Mother Land. Capital letters. “Inang Bayan”

  2. Pingback: Digisit Beach, Baler « Biyaherong Barat

  3. Pingback: Baler, Aurora « Biyaherong Barat

  4. Pingback: 1st Surf & Music Festival in Baler, Aurora « Biyaherong Barat

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  6. Pingback: Aurora Province Destinations: Mother Falls of Ditumabo, San Luis « Biyaherong Barat

  7. Guys, you missed the Balete tree, the biggest tree in Asia and was called “Millennium Tree”. 50 persons will hand in hand cover the perimeter of the tree and you can even explore the cave-like interior. Also the Zabali-Ascot hanging bridge, baby falls in digisit, dikasalarin bay, the famous small and big gasangan where you can see sea urchin, sea shells, gold fishes; There are also different kinds of beaches; the black, brown, white sand; and in dipaculao the beach has big and small batong buhay instead of sand with uniform sizes. And it’s just 10% of what you missed; there’s 90% more.

  8. Good morning

    ask lang po kung meron pong public beach n pwede pagset-up ng tent sa sabang po?
    first time lang po kasi pupunta doon.

    • Hi Kirby,

      Dati sa Sabang Beach nagtent kami, back in 2007. Kaso napanasin ko nung bumalik kami medyo umikli na yung shore line. Baka pag nagpitch ka sa beach, abutin ka. Try Bahia de Baler, they have a camp site. Dun kami pumwesto nung Surf & Music Festival 2011

  9. Pingback: Cruising on the Waves: The Beauty that is Baler | 『lakbay kuno』

  10. I am still preparing for our trip to Baler on May 24-25, 2014… I am excited to see the place after reading your blogs… One question… are there portions in the road to Baler described as “bituka” scary or safe? How’s the driving skill of the drivers in Joy Bus? You mentioned passing by the Siera Madre Mountains in Nueva Vizcaya… How was it? dangerously scary? Just making sure… Thanks!

  11. Hi guys! transient house in baler aurora where you, your family and/or friends can stay near sabang beach. lots of rooms! from 300 to 500 per pax. non aircon and air conditioned rooms are available. family rooms, king size, queen size, single or double size bed, WI-FI , dining area , cable t.v, videoke , kitchen , grill area , very spacious and safe parking area , etc .. we also have tour packages. call or text 0922-9-771-772 / 099999-07-688 / 0918-256-91-11 / 02-710-01-79 for inquiries or room reservation !

  12. I miss my home town…super lucky ko talaga at jan ako sinilang, naranasan kong maligo sa malinis na dagat at ilog, sa buhay na tubig ng talon “Falls” umakyat ng bundok, lumaki ako sa napaka gandang lugar na ang ilan sa mga kabataan hindi na naranasan maglaro at mag habulan sa sikat ng araw.. nakakamiss talaga.🙂

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