Baler is now more accessible after the roads have been completed and it now takes only a few hours from SCTEX. Before we hit Baler town, we stopped at the centuries old balete tree that is so huge and intricate it can literally carry 100 people at any one time, hanging around it.
Baler now teems with visitors from Metro Manila, for that now-so-near holiday. Especially for those who love the beach and the surf. In fact, Baler is gives visitors a flavor of either Boracay or Phuket.
Other than the main beach lined with hotels, surf shops and restaurants, Baler offers tens of other beach locations. We had lunch in a rather quiet beach, at the Aurora Beach Camp. Here, there were no other visitors and we felt like Baler was ours.
BALER RADAR STATION is a facility operated by the PAGASA. We visited this facility high up on a hill for fantastic view of Baler, particularly of the Dicasalarin Bay. We were all on top of the deck.
THE BALER PIER was next, and we were rewarded with photography in time for a nice sunset, allowing us to shoot double and triple images of the sunset from water on the floor of the wharf.
ISLA VIRGINIA is where we called it a night, ready for more photography the next day. This resort gave us generous discounts and so we had to suffer the little discomfort of being rather far from the main beach where Baler nightlife is more exciting. Oh well. Isla Virginia provided us a comfortable sleep and a nice breakfast.
SABUTAN HAT WEAVING AT SAN LUIS TOWN was the group’s target the next day. Arranged by the good lady mayor and her tourism officer, we were treated to a demonstration of how sabutan weaving is done, right where the raw materials are grown.
Baler being the birthplace of President Manuel Luis Quezon has a rich history and the town actually created a Historical Corridor. Our group was privileged to be treated to this historical tour by no less than the grandson of MLQuezon himself, Ricky Avancena, who drove all the way from Manila to be with us. The tour started at the Church where a marker on the Siege of Baler is mounted.
A replica of the young Quezon’s house stood near the Baler Museum.
Over rituals the night before, a group of prominent sons and daughters of Baler adopted me into the clan, and had me pose with them as they were photographed with their illustrious grandfather
After getting a tan on the beach, visitors can take a refreshing dip at the pool created at the foot of Ditumabo Falls
On my way back to Manila, and not anymore in a rush, I stopped for more photography on the road.