Now that I am working, I have more means to travel. However, this 2014 was challenging because I could not go on a vacation leave thus I had to rely on the long weekends. It’s already November and I’ve been to six provinces this year. I am very fortunate that my work enables me to go to places I’ve never been to. But before I go on and write about the provinces I visited because of work, I shall first write about an impromptu trip with a group of friends to Baler.
I researched online how to go to Baler via public transportation and it was really cool to see that Genesis offers a Joybus going there. A Joybus is different from an ordinary bus because it’s more comfortable and it’s like an airplane’s business class. What differentiates a Joybus from a normal bus is that it has a bathroom, lazyboy seats which you can recline, pillows, blankets, snacks, and a bus stewardess. I was able to reserve tickets through www.iwantseats.com.ph and I paid it through BDO online transfer. Tickets cost 750 each therefore a round trip fare would cost 1,500. The bus left at exactly 3:00 am but because I was sleepy, I dozed off and slept the entire time. When I woke up, the sun was up and it was already 6:30 am. Even if the roads were bumpy, it did not wake me up because my seat felt like a bed. In my opinion, the Joybus tickets are pricey but it’s worth it because of the comfort it gives. So I suggest that you take that because it’s such a hassle to drive or take a normal bus.
We stayed in Aliya Surf Camp which was obviously beach front. Our room was for six people and it had a balcony, television set, two bunk beds, and aircon. The place did not look shabby at all and it was very affordable. There was even a swimming pool and a public terrace where tourists can hang out, drink, eat, and the like. The food wasn’t the best but it was cheap. If you plan on bringing in drinks, there is corkage. If I remember correctly, the fee per night was 5000 pesos for 6 people. I’d give the resort four stars.
Although Sabang beach was not like Boracay at all, I still liked it because the sand was fine (but dark) and there were hardly any rocks. The water wasn’t clear because of the dark sand but it was still nice because it was clean.
Since Baler is known for its big waves, I definitely had to try to surf. It was my first time to surf therefore I needed an instructor and rent a surfboard. I paid 350 pesos for one hour. I thought that an hour would not be enough but man, it was. The instructors were very hospitable and patient. They were really helpful in teaching me how to surf. It’s hard not to have an instructor because you wouldn’t be able to catch the wave. I suggest that you get an instructor if you’re new because you will need an extra push when you surf (You’ll understand when you get there haha). The best time to surf is during the “ber” months according to the locals. You will be wasting your money if the waves aren’t big enough so I suggest that you go during the “ber” months.
Aside from surfing, we were able to go to the private cove of the Angara’s called, “Dicasalarin.” It was 30-45 minutes away from the resort we stayed in. We used a car going there because it was pretty far and we didn’t know how to go there via public transportation. We had to pay an entrance fee of 250 pesos I think to enter. There were a few people in the cove and it was better than Sabang beach. The sand was white and fine and the water was really clear. We climbed all the way to the top of the lighthouse and it seemed like we were in heaven. Well that was the closest I could get to heaven. You could see the beach and the mountains from the top. It was tiring because we had to climb a lot of steps but I promise that when you reach the top, all your worries, problems, and fatigue will go away. The view was certainly breathtaking.
We were not able to visit the popular waterfalls because of the lack of time but if I had a chance, I would. Baler is a must see province because it’s not as busy as Boracay. If I were to describe it in one word it would be, “CHILL.” For those who want to travel but are on a tight budget, I suggest that you go there because even the food isn’t expensive. A meal costs at least 50 pesos and 100 pesos can go a long way already. They have really good seafood and sisig. It really depends where you eat. They have this popular restaurant that contains a Vokswagen beetle which makes it really attractive for tourists because they use the car as a grill. Unfortunately, there were too many people therefore we weren’t able to eat there. My boyfriend and I discovered a stall along the street which served grilled fish for 75 pesos and it was really fresh! If you are willing to spend, you can also try the restaurant at the Costa Pacifica Resort. They serve really good carbonara and bagnet.
If you’re staying for two nights and 3 days, 5,000 pesos is more than enough. It really depends on your accommodation and transportation. You can take the normal bus if you feel that the joybus is too pricey. I haven’t really checked out the other hotels but I am sure you’ll be able to find cheaper ones. You can live with 300 pesos a day for food if you’re not a picky eater but like I mentioned, the food is really good there so it isn’t really something to be worried about. Lastly, if you’re going to be surfing most of the time, you’ll need to bring more money but like I said, an hour is more than enough!