Things to see and do in Baler Aurora, Philippines

It was another great weekend that I decided to join the Top View Philippines 2 days 1-night tour to Baler trip.

LOCATION

Baler is a small town in Aurora province on the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Baler is situated in the northeast of Manila and distance is about 231km from Metro Manila and took about 6 hours driving distance to reach here.

We departed on Saturday midnight at 12 am and in total 11 of us in a van. The journey would be accessed via a mountain pass hence the roads were curved.

HISTORY

According to Baler history, there was a Tsunami “Tromba Marina” demolished the town on the 27th of December 1735. Many people have been killed by the disaster and there were only 7 families survived. The seven families who were survivors climbed to the top of a hill which today is called Ermita Hill.

These are the statues of the families who survived in the tragedy which you could find at the foot of the hill

Credit: here

1) Giant Balete Tree 

This was the first stop of our trip to visit the biggest Balete tree in Asia. According to Wikipedia, “Balete tree is the several species of the trees in the Philippines from the genus Ficus that are broadly referred to as balete in the local language.”

Apparently, this is a 600-year-old Balete Tree and it is also known as The Millenium Tree.

2) Ditumabo Falls/Mother Falls 

After taking numerous photos at the first stop, finally, the group decided to head to Ditumabo Falls a.k.a. Mother Falls.

It required 30 minutes trekking / casual walk to enjoy the waterfall. It is advisable to wear the waterproof sandal since you will across many small streams.

Entrance Fee30 PHP ( 0.50 USD) & 200 PHP (3.70 USD) for group tour guide

3) SABANG BEACH 

It was a tired afternoon after a long journey to Baler and had fun at the mother waterfalls. We checked in our accommodation at Sabang Beach.  There are many accommodation options you could choose on the beach side, you could search more on Agoda website etc.

Surfing 

People said:” A Baler trip would not be completed without giving a try on surfing.”

If you are a first timer for surfing, this is the best place for you to pick up the surfing skill. Furthermore, the price is rather cheap which costs 300PHP (5 USD) only for 1-hour class with the local surf coach + Surfboard 

Had a great time with this group of people

Sunrise

When you were on the beach, all you need is to be laid back and also don’t forget to enjoy the sunrise view. Woke up at 5 am ++ if you do not want to miss this beautiful sunrise view.

 

4) Historical Walking Tour in Baler Town

Baler is a town full of historical story. When you are in the town, take a look and walk around :

  • Quezon memorial park
  • Museo de Baler *The opening hours only during weekdays. Saturday and Sunday are closed

  •  Baler Marker
  •  Baler Church
  • Dona Aurora Quezon house

5) Hanging bridge

A hanging bridge that allows you take some nice photo shoots. The bridge was made of wood and if you are not afraid of height, have a try walking across it.

6) Ermita Hill

As mentioned earlier, it was only 7 families survived during the tsunami in 1735. They went up to the hill and managed to escape. Ermita Hill is one of the highest places in Baler.

Going up to the hill is not that difficult, you just need to walk up around 250-300 concrete stairs to reach the big cross.

You get to see a great view of the ocean and the mountains in Baler.

7) PAGASA Baler Radar Station

This is one of the weather stations which allowed PAGASA (The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) to collect the data used for weather forecasts and predictive purposes against natural disasters.

8) Diguisit Beach

Next stop was at the Diguisit beach which is only 15 minutes driving distance from Baler town. People come here not to surf or swim, but to explore around the rock formations in Aniao Islets, which was amazing!

No doubt, this is another good photography spot for Instagram posts.

We chose to stay at AMCO Digisit resort to relax for a few hours.

 

Here came to the end of my Baler trip and if you like to join some outdoors activities, I would recommend Top View Philippines travel group which guide by a young team. Especially thanks to Maryse who organised this trip and thanks for the group who brought a lot of laughter and sweet memories during the trip. Hope to join other events in the near future. 😊

 

Below is the itinerary which organised by Top View Philippines Travel Group.

Event Fee: 1,800 PHP ( USD 33)

Day 0
11:00 pm – Meetup@ McD Panay Avenue
12:00 am – ETD to BaLer

Day 1
6:00 am – Breakfast on Pax Account
7:00 am – Start of tour
*Giant balete tree (oldest balete tree in Asia)
8:00 am – Ditumabo Falls/Mother falls
12:00 NN – Lunch on Pax Account
@famous seafood resto/Baler surfer grill/yolly’s seafood resto.
1:00 pm – Historical Tour
*Quezon memorial park
* Museo de Baler
* Baler Marker
* Baler Church
* Dona Aurora Quezon house
2:00pm – Hanging bridge
2:30pm – Ermita hill
3:30pm – Sabang beach Surfing
5:00pm – Check inn Accomodation

Day 2
6:00am – Breakfast on pax Account
7:00 am- Eco strip tour
*Diguisit falls
*Diguisit Rock formation
*Baler Radar station
*Tromba Marina
*Aniao islets
*Diguisit beach
11:30am -Lunch on pax account
12:30pm – Checkout Accomodation
1:00pm – Free time for own leisure
3:30pm – Souvenir shopping
4:00pm – Departure to Manila

Tour inclusions:
* private Van RT (Manila- Baler- Manila)
( GL Grandia )
* Transient accomodation

Exclusions:
All entrance fees
*Ditumabo falls PHP 30/head plus guide fee
*Diguisit beach
*Meals

Optional Activities:
*Surfing lesson with a surfing instructor
*Board rental 200-300/head

Things to Bring:
*Swimwear
*camera
*Personal meds
*Slippers

More pictures: Instagram

Must-See Places in Palawan, Philippines: Click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clear Water Bay Sihanoukville,the Hidden Gem in Cambodia

Sihanoukville

After Siem Reap trip, Sihanoukville was my last stop in Cambodia. Why I only chose to stay in Cambodia for one week? Cause the expenses here were too high for me. Despite Cambodia has their own currency, but most of the trading is done by USD currency.

Understand

A brief of Sihanoukville from Wikipedia:

Sihanoukville, also known as “Kampong Som”, is a coastal city in Cambodia and the capital city of Sihanoukville Province, at the tip of an elevated peninsula in the country’s south-west on the Gulf of Thailand.

My Jouney

The bus arrived at Sihanoukville in the early morning around 6 am. As usual, many taxi/motor drivers were waiting for us at the bus stop. I took a moto taxi and heading to the travel agency who is selling the speedboat tickets.

It was still early when I arrived the shop hence I went to the next restaurant to have a quick breakfast and self-cleaned up.

I bought the speedboat ticket around 8 am and a minibus came and pick me up to the jetty. I got to know one couple from Spain from the bus who were heading to the same island as me, Clear Water Bay hence I tagged along with them.

The speedboat arrived and took us about one hour to reach to the island. Once arrived, it did not stop at our destination, Clear Water Bay. *Shocked* Instead it stopped at another island of Koh Rong Samloen. Three of us were upset but no choice to make a decision either to stay or to take another boat taxi to the clear water bay which costs at USD30.

We walked around in the island and asking each resort for the accommodation price. The cheapest was around USD12 *beyond my budget* furthermore it was a long public holiday week in Cambodia hence the accommodation price has been markup. 🙁

Finally, we managed to contact the manager of Driftwood Hostel at Clear Water Bay. He assisted and offered us a “private boat” to go into Clean Water Bay island, each of us had to pay for USD 5.  Of course, we agreed with that since we could not find any cheap accommodation here plus the island was too commercialized for me.

Three of us taking the “private boat”:

I fell in love at the first sight when I arrived at Clear Water Bay. The water was so clean and it feels so peaceful here:

What is special in Clear Water Bay?

Driftwood Hostel

The main Hostel at Clear Water Bay.

Cost per night USD2 for a spacious dormitory room – shared with 12 persons (as per the year of 2017)

You may experience the natural lifestyle here: No heater, cold water shower, No air-conditioner, Electricity only starts from 6 pm onwards, No Wifi, Weak 3G connection.

What you can do here is to enjoy the beach, reading, yoga, hiking etc.

A Big Family and Friends Gathering

This is the place allows you to fully relax, get to know other fun travelers. People enjoy sitting at the “bar lounge” and the “living room” here.

We met new people and became friends here. We talked, laughed and had some fun activities together.

At some point, you may find your quiet zone to have some reading. No one stops you. 🙂

A lucky dog who is staying here 🙂

Every night most of the travelers gathered and have a reunion family dinner. *The cost is USD 4 per person, vegan food 🙂

*Tips: Pack some dry food, snacks to this bay. Because the meal cost starts from USD3 onwards

What can you do here?

Swim with the Planktons 

I  was there for 4 days 3 nights and one day I have decided to wake up at 430am, swam at the beach and looking for planktons. It was my great memory.

Trek to Mpay Bay

This is the bay which located behind Clear Water Bay. It takes one-hour jungle trekking to reach to the bay. Remember to wear a waterproof shoe/sandal to get into Mpay Bay. I was wearing Atlanta slipper which is strong enough to survive the whole journey.

nice spot of Mpay Bay, no filter

With my favorite Austrian couple:

Collect Trash from the beach Every morning, the would be some trash leftover at the beach. Driftwood management encourages the traveler to save, protect the beach and the environment.

Once you are able to collect one full pack of trash, you will be entitled to get a cup of coffee or beer from Driftwood Hostel.

Catch the Sunrise and Sunset 

Shaved 

This is not a mandatory thing to do here. Somehow when you met some fun and crazy people, you would do something similar. Yes, my first hair shaved in my lifetime. Don’t worry, my hair has grown longer now.

Snorkeling in the Sea

I tagged along with Kim (from France) and Lenzi (from Austria) to do snorkeling at the sea. It was my first time without using any lifejacket and just wearing a basic goggled to swim in the sea. *Bucket list ticked*

Yoga

This is the best place to find your soul and heal yourself. Great to meet a lot Yogis here 🙂

morning yoga

I can’t deny that I have a lot of great memories on this island. I have spent time with the quality people and we did something together just like a big family. Clear Water Bay will always in my mind despite there were some difficulties to arrive at this bay.

How to reach here (In Correct Way)

There is only one speedboat company will drop you straight at Clear Water Bay: (YELLOW) Speed Ferry Cambodia Company. Cost is USD22 per way (as per the year of 2017). Please remember the company logo on below name card :

 

Special thanks to @Caroline who I have met in Siem Reap, she was the one who highly recommended this awesome place to me. And special thanks to the couple @Ousmane and  @Anna where three of us have been through something special during this short trip. And to all my new friends who I have met in Clear Water Bay, miss you guys!

Next, a new destination in Vietnam. Stay Tuned!

More Travel Photos: INSTAGRAM

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