Basking on the Beaches of Baler

My family had a great time with a ‘long weekend’ recently. With that long rest period ahead for us, a vacation trip seemed like a great idea. Looking at our Go-To map, we’ve been to most of the places to see in the nearby cities and provinces. And with the hot summer days starting to creep in, we thought that a jab at the sea would be a refreshing experience.

Up north was Baler, known as ‘the surfing capital of Luzon’. That title seemed intriguing enough. And the family got sold to the idea easily.

So off we went to Baler. What we failed to anticipate was that there would also be thousands of cars trying to get out of metropolitan Manila for this long Holy Week break. Traffic at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) was horrendous, more so because travel restrictions had been lifted for the first time after more than 2 years of the COVID-19 lockdown. And this was a long break that everyone was waiting for. It was a long, agonizing trudge, but the traffic would eventually diminish as we got farther away from the city.

What’s to see in Baler?

First, there’s the Ermita Hill, which tells the story of a great tidal wave in 1735. The sea would come crashing into the shore, wiping out the town. It is said that only 7 families survived the tragedy by climbing Ermita Hill. Today, there is a sculpture that dramatizes that frantic difficult climb, and there’s a chapel and a cross on top of Ermita Hill commemorating the tragedy.

There too is the San Luis Obispo Parish Church (better known as the Baler Church), which was built in the early 16th century. Which inspired a movie on the ‘Siege of Baler’. Known as the last Spanish garrison in the Philippines, it was the site where 54 Spanish soldiers were trapped and fought on for 11 months, not knowing that the Spanish – American War had been lost.

Then there’s Diguisit Beach and Diguisit Falls. There’s the Millenium Tree in the neighboring town of Aurora, which is known as the biggest Balete tree in the Philippines. There’s Museo de Baler, which tells the story of Aurora Province, named after the former First Lady, Aurora Quezon. There’s also the Hanging Bridge that crosses the Tibag-Sabang River.

Finally, there’s Sabang Beach, a long stretch of gray sand that is home to the most fanatic surfers in Luzon. Considered as one of the best surfing spots in the country, the beach can be quite a challenge for those out for a simple swim, as the strong waves can come in from all directions.

Our quickie vacay to Baler was a wonderful breather. With the stressful environment in the city, I am convinced that brief respites such as this Baler trip should form part of any doctor’s prescription.

For a closer look, just click on the pics. Cover photo courtesy of cbholganza. Other photos courtesy of Josh, Bianca and Wit Holganza, Facebook, Twiter, Flickr, Trip Advisor, Illumelation and It’s More Fun with Juan.


    1. At present, we have what they call an ‘El Nino’ phenomenon here, Bruce. It is when the seas are exceptionally warm, the sun exceptionally harsh; which in turn brings lesser rainfall. That brings more people out to the beach.

      Liked by 1 person

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