Make your way to Baler for a vacation that’s more than just surfing!
When every week has fallen into a routine—eat, work, sleep, repeat—it makes you want to take a step back, detach from everything else, and escape.
In 2009, Baler topped Google’s beach destination list and called it “a budding surfing hotspot,” while in 2013 it was hailed as one of the “top surf spots in the Philippines” by Yahoo! Southeast Asia. These two rave reviews shouldn’t be the only lure to checking out this gem of a spot in the Philippines, though! Sassy took the liberty of exploring Baler for you and hopefully this guide will leave you convinced!
If you decide to travel by car to Baler, Aurora, the drive will take you around 5 to 6 hours non-stop. Take NLEX via Balintawak and exit SCTEX. Then from Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, take the Nueva Ecija-Aurora highway. Keep driving and you’ll pass through Talavera, Llanera, Rizal, and Pantabangan; it shouldn’t be long until you reach Baler.
You can also opt to take a bus! Genesis Transport’s Joy Bus priced at P700 (one way) allows you to sit and sleep comfortably throughout the trip—they even provide you with bottled water and a snack! Since the bus ride has no stops, travel time should take approximately five hours.
Where to Stay
Still looking for a place to stay? There are several resorts to discover along Sabang Beach. Opting for the backpacker lifestyle? Go for The Circle Hostel: Baler. Focusing on their belief that #ThereAreNoStrangers, The Circle Hostel creates an environment where guests can meet and interact with one another. Bring out the artist in you by writing freely on their walls!
Absolutely budget-friendly, The Circle Hostel provides private cuddle rooms, co-ed and female dorms, and even hammocks with built in mosquito nets for those who prefer snoozing outdoors. Worried about food? No problem! The hostel provides a small kitchen for you to cook your own meals, and serves peanut butter and bread for breakfast everyday. You can even ask them to teach you how to make your own s’mores!
If you’re looking for more comfortable accommodations for friends or family, go for Costa Pacifica. Ranked as the top hotel in Baler by TripAdvisor, Costa Pacifica exudes comfort and luxurious living the moment you step inside. With a breathtaking outdoor pool ideal for unwinding after a long adventure, Costa Pacifica is the perfect choice for you, your friends, and family to stay-in and relax.
Fun fact: Costa Pacifica welcomes pets! You don’t have to worry about leaving your furry friends behind.
The Circle Hostel Baler, Buton Street, Barangay. Sabang, Aurora, Baler, Philippines, 0917 501 0235, baler.thecirclehostel.com
Costa Pacifica, 80 Buton St., Sitio Labasin, Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora, Philippines, 02 519 4249, 0917 844 8371, www.costapacificabaler.com
Where to Eat
When they say they serve good food, they definitely live up to their reputation! For a laidback night for dinner and a beer or two—located in a two-story open space to boot—The Good Food is the place to be. You’ll be stomping your feet for more of their Chicken Quesadilla (P85) and Fish Tacos (P60)—they’re that good! Though if you’re looking to gulp down a a cold shake that’s on the healthier side, Jamiel’s Bukobar is right next door and is more than willing to cross over to The Good Food for you to enjoy your drink. What a treat!
Situated inside Costa Pacifica, Beach House serves meals from breakfast to dinner for the complete dining experience! The ambiance, with its modern-rustic interiors overlooking Sabang Beach and the outdoor pool, makes for a great spot to enjoy their mouth-watering dishes. For breakfast, I highly recommend their mouthwatering pancakes: Blueberry & Cream Cheese, Banana Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Banana & Coco Jam, or Peaches (P295); and the Beach House Smoked Bacon & Eggs that come with breakfast potatoes, toast, jam, butter, and a roasted tomato.
For lunch, after catching some waves, satisfy your hunger by devouring the Baler BBQ Mixed Plate: Chicken Satay & Lemon Grass Pork Belly, Sambal Belachan Spicy Coconut-Peanut Sauce, Fragrant Coconut Rice and Macaroni Salad (P450) which is good to share.
However, if you’re looking to cap the night off, my friends and I enjoyed sipping on our Beach House Sangria made of white wine, citrus tequila, pineapple, and orange (P750) while gazing at the view and listening to the waves crashing into the beach.
To top off the rural Baler food experience, head over to Yolly’s Ihaw-Ihaw and Seafood Restaurant for the staple seaside fare. There you will find a wide range of fresh food options for you to choose from, ready for grilling. I highly recommend trying out their Blue Marlin and Lobsters, which are two of my favorites!
The Good Food, Buton Street, Barangay Sabang, Baler, Aurora, 0915 761 8382, www.facebook.com/thegoodfoodprojectbaler
Beach House, 80 Buton Street, Sabang, Baler, Aurora, 0917 853 6040, www.facebook.com/BeachHouseAtCostaPacifica
Yolly’s Ihaw-Ihaw and Seafood Restaurant, Quezon Street corner Recto Street, Barangay Dos, Baler, Aurora, 0908 491 7633
What to Do
Surf Through Sabang Beach’s Waves
Baler is known for its waves, so a trip there won’t be complete if you don’t go surfing, so at least try! Looking for a surf spot and learning the basics shouldn’t be too difficult. Walking along Sabang Beach, you’ll find a number of stands more than willing to give you lessons. A local told me that a session costs P350, but if you’re staying at a hotel and opt for their recommended surfing instructor, the rate should go down to only P300.
Stand in the Middle of Baler’s Hanging Bridge
When moving in a pack, crossing the bridge might be challenging as it sways from time to time. Upon reaching the middle of the Hanging Bridge, it’ll feel like you’re about to tip over and fall into the river! This is definitely an adventure and not for those who are afraid of heights—or faint of heart. There is no entrance fee, only a donation box at the end of the bridge. Tip: Go here right before the sunset for the most picturesque view!
Swim in the Ditumabo Falls
Located in San Luis, Ditumabo Falls is also known as Motherfalls. To access the falls you’re required to shell out an entrance fee of only P30 per person. It’s advisable to get a tour guide (for around P300) since the hiking trail is quite tricky due to the slippery path. It takes an estimated 30 minutes to get to the top depending on how quick you walk. Don’t forget to bring money along with you on your way up to the falls! You’ll be passing by a ton of street vendors so you can grab food to munch on along the way.