Baler is well-known as a surfing spot to most tourists. But did you know that there is so much more to this beautiful town than just surfing?! Keep on scrolling and allow me to share with you Aurora’s best kept secrets!
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How to get there:
From Cubao to Aurora:
- Go to Cubao Bus Terminal Station. Ride JoyBus or Genesis bus to Aurora, Baler.
Note: The most convenient and comfortable way to get to Baler is via JoyBus. Seats can be reclined and blankets and snacks are provided. My personal favorite is that the vehicle is equipped with a rest room which means I can pee any time. Travel time is 5 hours for PHP 730 for deluxe trip (or PHP 650 for Joybus premiere). You may also book your tickets online (for an additional fee of PHP 50) to ensure your slots before your planned trip.
- Once you get to Baler Terminal Station, ride the trike to your hotel or accommodation.
Where to stay:
It will be impossible for anyone not to come across Costa Pacifica when planning a trip to Baler. It is the most popular accommodation in the area and I am not surprised why people scramble over a booking here despite the hefty price.
Costa Pacifica is right in front of Sabang Beach and one would immediately spot it as it stands out from all other establishments. Its facade is beautifully structured and the interior design is exquisite and so impressive to the point that it would make you feel that you just wanna stay there forever.
Accommodations start at PHP 9,000 to PHP 16,500 and I’m telling you that every penny is worth it! Aside from the given that the rooms were cozy and comfortable, their customer service was superb! Every time we entered the restaurant or requested something for room service or inquired about something at the reception, the staff were always smiling and ready to accommodate us. There was even a time that I left my phone on the couch and had the staff not called my attention, I would not have realized it. At Costa Pacifica, one will definitely feel at home instantly.
Another thing that my friends and I really enjoyed was their complimentary breakfast buffet and complimentary snacks. Every morning, there would be a wide range of selection of cuisines including Filipino, Italian and American food. Our personal favorite is Baler’s famous suman (sticky rice) with coco jam and peanut butter as we are quite guilty of eating tons of it during our stay.
Our experience at Costa Pacifica was so pleasant and perfect (not exaggerating) and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone organizing a vacation in Baler. Bookings can be done through their website.
Accommodations to watch out for:
18 On Buton
18 On Buton is another property developed by Costa Group of Hotles and is located right across Costa Pacifica. It has 18 rooms and is located on Buton St., hence the name. Check out their Facebook page for more updates!
Balud is aimed to be a more budget-friendly lodging without compromising quality. It was still under construction when we visited but it looks very promising! It is projected to open next 2018.
Where to eat:
Kubli is a newly-opened restaurant in Baler which offers Filipino, Mexican, American and Italian dishes. It’s the only air-conditioned restaurant in the area (which is awesome) and has an open mic every night. Everything on their menu is soooo delicious which is why I was not surprised to hear that people from different cities go great lengths just to dine here.
The crowd favorites of the night were the Pako Salad (Super fresh! Don’t forget to try their sauce!) and Kubli Rice – shrimp, octopus, mussles, fish, peppers and chilli leaves served in a hot skillet. Aside from their mouth-watering and filling dishes, we also loved the chill and laid back ambiance of the restaurant. It was the perfect place to cap off a full day of exploring the province.
Must-try: Pako Salad (best-tasting salad ever!!), Pugita Rice (!!!), Tita Dialynn’s Famous Brazo de Mercedes (if you can try everything on their menu, you definitely should!)
Shout out to the owners – Tito Bopes, Tita Dialynn and Anna – and Chef Pao, Ice, and Jackie for being awesome hosts and putting us in a food coma (this is a good thing)! Thank you as well to the attentive staff who accommodated us like family.
Charlie Does is definitely one for the books. It’s an all-vegetarian restaurant that offers unique delectable dishes. Indeed, Charlie does great food!
Must-try: EVERYTHING ON THEIR MENU! Crowd-favorite: Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Banana Pie (!!!)
Beach House is the in-house restaurant of Costa Pacifica. It offers a wide selection of cuisines such as American, Filipino and Mediterranean. The food is really good and the serving is very generous.
Must try: Baler’s Best (mixture of coco jam, peanut butter, banana — hello calories, goodbye diet!), Caesar Salad, Fresh catch of the day (Blue Marlin)
Hidden spots near Baler and other activities:
It was a shocker for us to find out that there were so many hidden gems in the province of Aurora! Who would have thought you could experience such beautiful scenery and enjoy thrilling activities without having to fly out of Manila? You just need 5 hours of travel by land and the perfect adventure is waiting for you!
The good news is that Costa Pacifica will soon be offering these tours and it’s something we can all look forward to!
Dibulalan Falls and Cave
Activities: Sight-seeing, swimming, cliff-diving, cave exploration
Activities: Beach bumming, swimming, picture taking, kayak, snorkelling
Tip: Wear your slippers if you want to explore the island (as seen in the photo). The sand can burn the soles of your feet when it’s extremely sunny!
Dicasalarin Beach and Light House
Activities: Beach bumming, swimming, go up the light house, visit artist village and Ifugao houses
Insider tip: We heard that camping in this virgin island will soon be available! Who’s looking forward to a sleepover under the stars?
Activities: Beach bumming, picnic, swimming, beach games
Boy Scout Trail
Activities: Swimming, trekking, biking
Tip: After exploring the trail, stop over the buko juice and turon stand for a refreshing snack! Don’t forget to try their suman turon! Yum!
Easy Adventure is a full-service glamping site located in Baler. What I really found cool about this place is that it runs purely on natural resources a.k.a no electricity which is perfect for those who just want to take a break from technology and spend more time to appreciate Mother Earth. You can check out their website for more details.
Activities: Kayak, stand up paddle board (SUP), surfing, bonfire
Special shout out to Paolo for showing us around Easy Adventure and allowing us to take the combi and buggy for a joyride!
Island hopping tours were arranged by Costa Pacifica. You may contact them through their Facebook page for their rates.
Special thanks to Costa Pacifica, Undiscovered Freedom, Maui Mauricio & Marky Mabanag for making this trip one of the best to date!