Memos from Asia

Alternative Things to Do in Baler, Philippines

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(Credit: jopetsy, CC BY 2.0)

Baler city in Aurora is a popular surfing spot in the Philippines. One of the most popular beaches you can visit for surfing is Sabang Beach. However, asides from surfing, there are also plenty of other things that Baler has to offer such as swimming coves and museums. Here are some of the activities you should explore during your stay:

Relax at Dicasalarin Cove

(Credit: Carlo Jose Garcia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Dicasalarin Cove is the perfect place for anyone who wants to experience a sense of tranquility. Visitors go here to experience the peaceful scenery as you walk along the cove’s famous white sand. While the environment is certainly pictured worthy, you can see the best view by going to the nearby lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on top of a cliff which you can easily climb by using the stairs. When you get on top, you get to see a 360-degree view of the beach. Another unique site of the Dicasalarin is another cove where you swim around freshwater. Some of the things you should look out for as you swim are the pointy rocks that can cause injuries. After swimming, there are plenty of common shower areas nearby and cottages you can stay in. Dicasalarin Cove also has a restaurant so you won’t have to look far for a place to eat.

Swim Ditumabo Falls

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Ditumabo Falls is dubbed as the mother falls of Aurora. The falls are located in San Luis which is only next to Baler. What makes Ditumabo Falls special is the difficult journey that comes along with reaching the destination. To reach mother falls, you must embark on a 20-30-minute hike that involves going through dirt paths, cement paths, wooden bridges, and stony river crossings. Make sure to wear appropriate attire such as socks and sneakers because you will surely experience slipping along the way. If you’re easily exhausted on journeys like these, there plenty of stalls nearby where you can drink water. These stalls also offer local snacks such as grilled corn and signature purple yam rice cakes. Reaching the destination is worth it as you experience a peaceful venue and the wind force that is caused by the falling water. Also, the water will be very cold as if you are swimming in a pool of iced water.

Cross the Baler Hanging Bridge

(Credit: Gelomaics photography, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Baler Hanging Bridge presents a hair-raising experience for people who are afraid of heights but also serves as a relaxing exercise. This hanging bridge is a steel-cable bridge that hangs over the moss-green Tibag-Sabang River. This bridge wasn’t supposed to serve as a tourist site. The original purpose of this bridge is to connect two towns which are Barangay Tibang and Barangay Sabang. What makes this bridge special is how you get to admire the clear and clean river. You also get to see a panoramic view of a mountain on the other side and experience the fresh air that is caused by the Sabang Coast. As you get to the center of the bridge, you will notice how both sides of the bridge have Nipa plants which are used for making Nipa huts.

Admire the view at Ermita Hill

(Credit: Ramon FVelasquez, CC BY-SA 3.0)

A historical and relaxing site you can’t afford to miss is Ermita Hill. Ermita Hill presents a unique history as it served as a haven for the survivors of a typhoon named Tromba Marina. In 1735, the entire town of Aurora was filled with seawater. What was worse is that pirates were chasing the survivors. However, the pirates were unsuccessful because of a shining light that came from Ermita Hill. Locals believe that the shining light was St. Isabel who happens to be the town’s patron saint. As of now, Ermita Hill serves as a tourist site that is surrounded by multiple types of flora and fauna. This hill was recognized to the point that it was awarded by the Philippine Civil Service Centennial Forest. As you get to the top, you will see a full 360-view of the town of Baler and the Pacific Ocean. This also serves as a perfect place for camping and trekking.

See Museo de Baler

(Credit: Devinceoy, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Museo de Baler offers a close look at the Philippines’ longest colonizer, Spain. The museum was meant to give tribute to the Siege of Baler and Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day. What makes the museum special to locals is how it displays artifacts that are relevant to Baler’s history such as the Portraits of Fortitude. The Portraits of Fortitude exhibits how the survivors stood during the faceoff between Filipinos and Spaniards. Some of these are the Chinese porcelain that was used during the Galleon Trade. The porcelain was recovered from shipwrecks in Luzon, Palawan, and Manila Bay. Other fascinating collections are the Franciscan Memorabilia which features missionaries who stayed in Aurora and Meridian World that narrates how Andalucia, a Spanish galleon, traveled from Spain to China and eventually, the Philippines. Museo de Baler also made sure to pay tribute to former President Manuel L. Quezon by displaying his statue outside and presidential car among the museum’s collections.

Visit Doña Aurora House

Doña Aurora House commemorates one of the country’s historical figures who is Doña Aurora Quezon. Asides from being known as the wife of former President Manuel L. Quezon, Doña Aurora served the country by participating in humanitarian activities such as by being the former president of the Red Cross and fighting for women’s right to vote in 1937. This house stands as a modern nipa hut which is built with wood, concrete, stone blocks, and nipa thatching. The house contains old furniture, paintings, silverware, and kitchen materials that were relevant to the Quezon couple and Baler. The house also has a small library, kitchen, and living room.

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