Baler Escapade Part I: The Exploration

Baler is situated at the northern part of the country, facing the Philippine Sea. A 5 hour trip from Manila, the capital of Aurora province is a host for people wanting to experience great escapades, specifically water sports. The group was formed by my company’s creative department, namely, Karyl, AJ, Jerald, Francis together with some wingmen, Daisy and Bill. My officemates have been planning to go here since Karyl has some folks at this place. Apparently, this is the time that we have finally fulfilled it to reality.

The Trip

Friday, September 28, 2012. After the rush to complete some “needed” and “porma” stuff; I had to leave the house a little later than our supposed call time. I met up with Karyl since we live few blocks away in Pasig.  We headed to the terminal at Cubao to meet the others.

We rode Joy Bus at the Genesis Terminal, and what dazed me was the first class bus trip that Karyl booked for our group. The bus was quite cozy, offering reclining seat, with water and some snacks and a blanket. The trip was going to be a 5hour non-stop drive, good thing the bus  is  equipped with a comfort room inside. So I thought this was going to be somehow a relaxing journey (take note of the freezing temperature inside). The bus left at exactly 2:30am.

I woke up around 7:30 am (Sept 29), after I found myself being moved sideways constantly, i realized that we are heading on a winding road. As I looked thru the window, I was surprised seeing the bus taking a narrow road on a steep mountain side. It just added up to the thrill that I know was waiting for me.

The Arrival

It was around 8:30am when we have finally reached the terminal at the heart of Baler. As I go down from the freezing bus, I had this wobbly vision from the light sleep I had and the winding road we took for more than an hour.  But the light-headed feeling soon faded as I saw the ambiance of Baler’s intrinsic environment. I always have this special feeling that I cannot explain whenever I’m in a province. The people, the old houses, the trees, and the breeze always give me that sentimental sense of having a simple life.

This two day escapade had itinerary, and on this first day, we are ought to have a pre-nuptial shoot for Jerald who is about to wed this December. After we have taken our breakfast at a place the locals call as the Rolling Store, we soon headed to Karyl’s place to meet her Grandma. There we left our things, tried to refresh and then soon we were down to our first location.

Location 1: Sabang Beach

We’ve met Aguiluz, Karyl’s friend, who is also going to be our tour guide. He took us to Sabang Beach, where a long, vast, empty beach side was waiting for us; perfect for our first location. It was around 10am and the sun was shining eagerly. We took out our cameras and went on with the waves, clouds, and vast sand as part of our composition. We somehow produced good photos. This is the place where my body had its first contact with the waves of Baler, but I needed to hold down my horses. We were just on our first layout.

Location 2: Digisit Beach

After we’ve taken enough photos at Sabang Beach, we headed to the”Digisit Beach”, a 30min tricycle ride from Sabang, (we rented a tricycle; locals’ everyday mode of transportation). This beach is different from the first one, here, the waves are calm, brought by the opposite wind direction, geographically. The shore is rocky, with some stone formations around. This place is perfect for beach goers aiming for the calm, secluded environment.  Jerald and Daisy again got their good shots with the rock-strewn, survivor-ish background.

I as well, took the chance to get some vanity shots, courtesy of Mr. Thick Framed Glasses, Francis.

Location 3: Ermita Hill

Along the road, we have encountered this sculpture. Aguiluz and our tricycles stopped at this particular place called “The Ermita Hill”. The sculpture pays tribute to the  survivors from the 1700s’ tsunami.

According to Aguiluz, these  individuals are the only survivors from the entire Baler population at that time. One of the survivors was from the Angara clan, who turned out to be politicians of Baler these days (that’s accroding to our tour guide..lol) . They made it to this hilltop, which now stands as a park for tourists. Tired as we are, we still managed to climb the steep stairways for some photo opportunity of the breathtaking Baler view.

BTW, the group at the high point of Baler: Bill, Daisy, Jerald, AJ, Francis, Me, and Karyl

Location 4: Caunayan Falls

We accomplished our schedule right for the morning, so we headed back to the Rolling Store for our lunch. After we have managed to eat, rest and head back to the house Karyl’s grandma, we soon paved our way to the Caunayan falls. It was a long, windy, 45 min, tricycle ride, not to mention that ¾ of the ride is a rough, rocky road.  Upon reaching the place, we were bedazzled by the crystal clear river water emphasized by 20-30 ft. waterfalls.

The atmosphere is so isolated, that the sound of rushing water falls, together with the birds, and the tree branches dancing with the wind, will turn into rhythm that would surely give you that relaxing and nature vibe. I took the opportunity of capturing photos of the environment, while still continuing with Jerald and Daisy’s final layout of their pre-nup shots.

My imagination was running wild after i saw a face at the falls as i took this photo. Creepy, but it always appear whenever i repeat a photo. So, i just ignored it, I’m just being an imaginative kid again.

BTW, here is a photo of me with our tour guide Aguiluz.

“Amazing!”

Dinner and Beach

It was dusk when we finished, so we soon took off to Karyl’s place for dinner. We bought some “inihaws” we saw along the road and consumed them at the “Rolling Store” again. I tried to freshen myself after, then we went to the beach for some “by the shore” drinking session.

The first day at Baler was so tiring but I truly enjoyed the experience. Talking about the tour of the place around, we also have produced some good shots for the prenup shots. Good job guys!

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