You know how you just get that feeling that you want to be in a particular place so  much so that it doesn’t leave your to-go to place until it happens? That is Batanes and was Baler for me that I bugged friends to push for the trip. It happened 2012.

Terminal
Two options are available from Cubao (3 actually, but the third one’s quite complicated, with several transfers involved) going to Baler.

A Genesis regular bus (P450) takes 6-8 hours with several bus stops with no definite time of leaving. Our choice was to hop on a Genesis Joy bus (P695) which took us nonstop to Aurora at about 5 hours straight. This allowed us to maximize the day as we arrived in town at sunrise. We decided to take the regular bus heading back to Manila, this time, cheaper and with no time at stake.

The Batcave 

Janjems Lodging

It was a long weekend and a long shot at getting a hotel reservation. After several calls, Janjems Inn welcomed us with simply a place to sleep and bathe. After dinner, we transferred to the next hotel which we forced to give us somebody else’s reservation <evil laugh>.

Bahia de Baler
Bahia was home. After a super upgrade from a fan room at Janjems, Bahia suddenly became the best hotel ever in our eyes. But of course, we explored Baler like hardcore travelers would.
  
Breakfast at a local’s made the trip all the more authentic, served with unbelievable level of hospitality. There was sun on my face, they assembled an umbrella. We asked for sauces, they hurriedly sufficed. We ask, they give. This was our first hour in town and I’m loving it already.

People–Baler’s finest destination.
 
We roamed around the neighborhood and found museums within. A small town with museums–beautiful, artsy museums, mind you!

Places only in Baler

Manuel Quezon’s Ancestral Home– open for tourist, literally without guards. We entered like it was a neighbor’s house.
Presidential Limousine of Quezon. Vintage extravaganza


Buwis-buhay shot on a highspeed highway

Consequently, there was a feast, so we passed by streets overly decorated full of colors and native things.

We craved for street food!

Street food stalls have business permits! What about that?!
Hiking to the Mother Falls

Mother Falls! Misty cold as in the picture! Forcefully painful to the skin, too!
The Biggest Balete Tree to Date, 100 years old over! Those I’m stepping on are ROOTS!

Roaming around the little town of Baler

On to Ermita Top

The miracle family! This monument was to commemorate the lone family who survived the 1930s tsunami by climbing this hill!

There was Caunayan Falls, but after seeing the Mother Falls, it immediately lost its appeal, being tiny and weak.

Who goes to Baler without surfing? With fine sand to cushion you as you
fall and big waves to play with, it could just be the best place to
learn surfing. Despite my fear of drowning, my desire to learn something
new got the best of me, so I braved the waves, several gallons of salty
water engulfed in between, I experienced my first successful stand on
the board amidst the emerald blue-green waves. It was some natural high
on it’s own, especially if you know how scared I was.

Misfortunes abound like any adventure.

Kuya Dennis, our driver walking his flat tire-tricycle


Baler is the charming little old town
with consistently pleasant people, more than the beach, the falls, the
tree, it’s the people that made it so attractive to go back to. 

If you haven’t, plan your trip already. For fellow passionate travelers, Baler won’t disappoint!

: j

Where was your most surprising trip? Surprising in a sense that it gave you/made you feel something you didn’t expect, like how Baler was for me? Share in the comment box below?