Baler, Philippines

The birthplace of surfing, baler is my favorite out of town vacation spot. Only 5 hours from Manila or 4 if you are quick, Not only is it reasonably cheap to go there but it is also very relaxing. The last time i went here i wrote something about Costa Pacifica but with the unreasonably expensive prices of this hotel I opted that we stay at another hotel right next to Costa Pacifica.

HOW TO GET THERE:

By private car, going here by car might be the easiest option if you have a car. I always prefer coming by car as you can control your own time. We just wazed the place, its relatively very easy as the roads are already smooth unlike the first time i went to baler the winding bumpy road was a horror story.

By bus, i know plenty of people who come here by bus, my only problem with the bus is that it stops at the town proper where you still need a ride from there to the main area.

By air , i only recently found out that Baler airport have flights from Manila to baler via SKYJET airlines. The only problem is that it is still around 10-20 mins away from the sea by car and im not sure if there is a transportation service from the airport. The airport is pretty far from the city proper.

RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHERE TO STAY:

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Nalu surf camp, a great alternative and 60% cheaper than your stay in costa. When they told me that my 2 night stay would cost me Php20000 (400usd) it sounded feasible for 4 people except, it wasn’t what i wanted. Costa is known only because it used to be the only safe hotel around Baler near the sea. But after discovering the beautiful Nalu surf camp, i don’t want to try Costa Pacifica anymore. You wont get the same service at Nalu than Costa, but the ambiance of Nalu is definitely perfect for surfers and easy going people. Costa Pacifica’s food prices in my opinion is too unreasonably priced and their room rates are also not exactly the best, considering they are an open resort that isn’t really heavily guarded either.

Another place to consider staying in baler is The Hostel behind Costa Pacifica. If you aren’t looking to be fancy the hostel is good for those who want to meet new people only 500php per night (10usd), or the Ifugao nipa hut rooms room which already comes with air conditioning at Nalu surf camp at 3000 per night or 60usd. Some others stay at hotels far from the seaside near the town proper because it is cheaper and they drive to the sea for some waves but i think it is safer and much better to just stay by the baywalk are hotels. Just make sure to choose somewhere safe and to never leave any belongings unattended or in your rooms.

WHERE TO EAT:

The street right behind Costa Pacifica is one of the better and cheaper places to get food. With Inihaw (grilled food) being priced from 160php-300php only good for sharing. Also a few blocks down the main road are some places that sell good and cheap food too, if you walk along the baywalk you will get a big selection of things to eat but some places aren’t that good and very pricey. If you are looking for fancy and expensive you could try Costa Pacifica, but if you are looking for a local taste i would definitely recommend the restaurant called Yellow Fin bar and grill for your dinner.

THE SHACK, is also one place I will recommend, surprisingly with its good indian food! Its a place you must visit if you are ever in Baler. Their beef shawarma is one that you must try, really filled and not so much oil. Another place i would like to try is EL JARDIN ESPAÑOL in Baler and MADISON CAKES AND PASTRIES, leaving more things to do for the next visit!

SURFING PACKAGES:

At Nalu, our surfing package of php350 ( roughly $7 ) already included a free beer or cold pop and free pictures. I think this was the best surfing deal of all the deals i saw solely because they gave us free pictures with our package and that they had good instructors as well, the owner of the place was always around the camp and he is very hands on with the place. Nalu surf camp was also nice because it was guarded and closed off, the parking was safe and a guard was always on watch.

But don’t limit yourself to the sea, there are also guided tours to waterfalls and quiet beaches around Baler you could visit. Just ask the tricycles around the beach area and they will give you packages from 700-1000 php (14-20usd) for a whole day tour around the city proper and around the trekking areas and waterfalls also the private picturesque beaches. Hoping you can all consider coming to Baler after reading this. As moana would say ” I am a girl who loves my island and a girl who loves the sea, IT CALLS ME” (haha) and of all the places i have been to in Luzon. Baler really holds a special place in my heart.

Costa Pacifica Baler, Aurora weekend

After 6 hours by car from Manila, I was definitely stoked to be here. Being a ballerina, You’d probably think that surfing would be easy for me… But its not.  I have really been wanting to surf at Baler for the longest time. Probably since I went surfing in La Union last July. The sand here is very fine, kind of like a black sanded Boracay beach. We were lucky to have come during a typhoon, as the waves were really strong and It was a fun experience.

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Stoked to be surfing again!

As for surfing. It costs Php 350 per hour to surf with an instructor. There are also other places that you could visit here in Baler such as other beaches and waterfalls. However, due to the lack of time. We weren’t able to do much of anything but surfing. Compared to La Union, Baler was definitely a better place to surf at. The sand was finer and waves were much stronger.

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Their famous suman and COCO JAM with some pancakes!

Costa Pacifica is a great hotel/resort to stay at, but staying here would mean coming prepared for the amount of money you would be spending. Their restaurant didn’t have good service, but they did serve… GOOD BREAKFAST ❤ and I love good breakfast food. They just have to work on their poor service and pricing of their menu. For your lunch and dinner you should just search through Trip Advisor and eat at better and much cheaper restaurants nearby.

If you’re looking for a weekend trip from Manila. Leave on Friday night and start surfing all Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday you should leave early before it gets dark, since there are no lights in the province. Its the perfect weekend getaway with your friends or your family.

San juan, La Union weekend surfing trip

Last weekend my friend invited20140616-085112.jpg me to go to La Union with her to surf. We left for La Union riding the bus from Cubao Partas. It took us 6 hours to get there, if however you do have a car It would only take you 4 hours to get here because of the new highway. Buses just take a longer time because of the many stops it takes. We left at 530am and arrived at 1230pm. We stayed at Costa Villa resort which is right next to the beach. It is also beside Floatsam Jetsam a well known youth hostel there in La Union where we initially were supposed to stay in but was already fully booked. It was a long weekend so most hotels were fully booked.

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Surfing and about to stand before a wave

San juan, La Union is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. As soon as you get to the beach all you can see are surfers and big waves. We availed of surfing lessons the next day which costs 400 per hour and another 100 for the jeep ride where they take you to learn how to surf. Some places are dangerous to surf in for beginners, so they take you to an area where the waves are much smaller for you to practice on. We spent a total of 900 pesos each for two hours of surfing lessons. We had 1 hour and 30 mins on the small waves and we went back in front of the resort to try the last 30 mins on the bigger waves.20140616-085323.jpg20140616-085338.jpg20140616-085348.jpg

Our instructors were very accommodating and despite the fact that I twisted my knee when I jumped off the surfboard I was still b to surf the last 30 mins. The instructor just helped me a lot since I couldn’t paddle and it took me a longer time to stand but I wa20140616-085608.jpgs able to long ride most of the time. It was such a great experience, my first time surfing! And it was really memorable. Afterwards we ate at Floatsam Jetsam, since they serve an array of different kinds of meals, the vibe of the place is something that you’ll want to experience. I would love to go back again even if just by myself. To watch and to catch some more waves and some sun.

Note: I suggest that you bring your own car. This i think is possible for even just a day trip or an overnight trip in case you don’t want to get tired and catch a little more rest since surfing is really physically tiring. Prepare at least 4000 per person and if you’re a lot maybe less. ENJOY!!