My next series will focus on a destination that is probably not familiar with everyone except for one thing it is known for - surfing. Yes, let me take you to my new fave destination, Baler, which is roughly 4 to 5 hours drive from Manila.
And speaking of drives, let me start off my series with a collection of Instagram shots I took on the way to Baler at dawn. To experience a great start in Baler, drive off after 12 midnight but before 1 AM. then just follow these directions.
Sleep as you leave Manila. Getting to Baler is not as easy as getting to Baguio. The first part of the journey is, so better get some zzzz's while the roads are a breeze. Take the NLEX and exit at SCTEX. Exit at La Paz in Tarlac, and turn right towards Cabanatuan. From there, there are signs leading all the way to Talavera in Nueva Ecija. Do not take the road to Cabanatuan, as you will encounter traffic there.
After hitting the main Maharlika Highway, there is a junction that points to Baler if you go right. Take that turn that leads you all the way up to the mountains of Sierra Madre. You will pass by the town of Pantabangan before hitting the town of Alfonso Castaneda in Nueva Vizcaya. This town will have rough roads, but only for a short stretch, since the boundary of Baler is just after it. Make sure you are awake at this point, and that the first rays of the sun are peeking. Make sure ok, or else, stopover somewhere.
As you enter Aurora, you will pass by two dams, which are pictured above (1st two pictures) with the fog. This is an amazing spot for pictures. You will see a lake to your left and forest to the right of the bridge. Surreal. You will then go through a final wind descending the mountains before cruising through the smooth paved roads of Maria Aurora with a beautiful view of the countryside. Find your way to Baler where the shops will begin to open at this lovely morning.
Most of the resorts are found along Sabang Beach, so just ask around. The people of Aurora are some of the friendliest in the country, so do not be shy. Pass by their historical center, where the their town hall and city museum reside.
But of course, make it to Sabang Beach for sunrise to see why Baler is worth all the travel. The eastern sunrise is indeed awe inspiring. And with the massive waves that splash on the fine charcoal gray sands, the grandeur of this place simply reveals itself. This is the way to start a vacation.
Enjoy your breakfast at Bay's Inn before checking in in whatever hotel. But my choice of stay is the one beside it. Bay's Inn is also a good choice, but the rooms are already worn and very basic. Too bad because their restaurant, Hungry Surfer, is so nicely designed. Hope they replicate this look in the rooms as well soon. Till the next post!