Travel: Surviving One Week in Baler

No, this isn’t a how to entry, and this isn’t a step by step guide how you’ll get by. Every year, we’d usually go to Ilocos for a week which has been our usual getaway for two years now. But this year since we originally planned to pick up a few of our friends in Baler then head to Ilocos, we just decided to stay in Baler for a week. We originally planned to stay in a nice ‘hotel’ worth 4500 a night for an article write up, we decided not to. We spent one night in one of the known hotels for around 2000+ a night. I know we could’ve spent that 2grand a better way, but you gotta do what you gotta do. On our second day, we called our uncle (no, we’re not related to him, but he takes care of us in Baler and lets us stay in his transient for a very reasonable price) but his transient is full so he let us stay in his in-laws home. It was along the road, a small hut with one bedroom on the second floor with AC, downstairs was a sala, restroom and a small kitchen. The kids decided to sleep downstairs in a mattress on the floor. One of the reasons why we need a decent amount of space, even if it’s just us two staying in Baler is cause more often than not, at least two kids will stay with us in our room. The first couple of nights I was down with a slight fever so I’d spend it in our room sleeping and trying to rest. The kids would then buy food and would leave some for me, John would accompany other friends for dinner and he’d buy me food to go, too. 


The first few days, there were little to no waves. Some of the kids went to another town and spent a couple of nights there. We decided to drive around, looking for waves we could try to catch. I would be wherever in my bikini and shorts just cause the beach is the only place I am most comfortable with. We also met new friends in the beach and while in the lineup. In the afternoon, when it’s flaaaat, we try to drive around and see what else we could do. Lala (a new found friend) mentioned a cake shop and on a whim, everyone decided to drop by there. It was an afternoon full of stories and laughter. 


Everyday was somehow repetitive yet unique in their own way. I’d wake up very early, wake the boys up a after boiling water for coffee and then our day would start. I would usually have breakfast, else I’ll be too weak to surf after 30ish minutes in the lineup. The boys would have coffee and be in the water for two hours plus. I have no idea how they survive, yet they do. I really want to surf early in the morning only because there isn’t much people swimming and/or surfing. Mostly the people in the lineup are guys and would be a lot nicer to me, letting me take a wave they all have waited for 15+ minutes. John said I should take advantage of it cause it’s a perk of being a girl, lol. When I’m at the beach, I’d usually lounge around Kuya Cris’ surf shack, offering surf lessons to tourists. Yes, I’d yell “Surf lesson po?” once in a while. I also do a lot of people watching and story telling. Or some quiet time when everyone just wanna rest for a bit.  

Stopping for a photo-op!
Little hut in Dianed..

John and I are truly blessed to have a family in Baler.. Family not by blood, but by bond. Family who would take care of us, cook us food or take us to places we would have never visit if we do not know any locals. We went to Dianed on a flat day in Sabang, it’s a good hour trip from Baler. Dianed according to Wikipedia is a baranggay in Dipaculao, Aurora. IT. WAS. SO. LOVELY. A white beach with a small hut built by surfers in Baler, we had the place to ourselves. We brought our gas stove, an 11kg gas tank, pots and pans, rice and fish. The surfers prepared our lunch while we waited for high tide. A reef break which would be nice on season for pro’s and a lot nicer for beginners like me off season. I feel like I was the only one who enjoyed the waves since I think it was a tad boring for the locals. I on the other hand, had a  blast cause the waves were clean, easier paddle outs and a lot easier to paddle in to ride waves. I was able to practice my rides, squat in the board when I wanted to speed up. I have tried it in Sabang and I ended up losing control cause my board picked up speed and I ended up rolling in the beach. Unsafe, I know. 

Longboards goes on top…
Shortboards goes inside!

Some days we’d visit Villa Belen in Reserva, when it isn’t windy and the waves aren’t choppy, I would enjoy it. More than likely, I would take a wave or two after braving the harsh sets with no clean up trying to paddle out. I’d feel too exhausted and/or miserable after so I’d just go back to the beach and rest. The guys would enjoy it, I’m not complaining if I’m just relaxing in the beach. 


On a Saturday when Sabang is too crowded, I still wanted to surf late afternoon, Lala accompanied me to the line up, I could not emphasize on how crowded it was, I took a wave and almost hit a couple of instructors had I only stood up on the board but they started screaming, then they’d ask why I didn’t stand up. Really, sometimes those guys are out to annoy me. Haha! John decided to stay in the beach, and he was in a roof deck of Smart Beach House, signaling me when to paddle for a wave, stage boyfriend of the year! Lala and I ended up surfing till 7PM, and I could no longer see and the ocean was almost pitch black. One for the books, I must say.

Sunday was our last day surfing, I had Mico (my eleven year old buddy, who now calls me “Nay” (short for Nanay or mother in English) – different story) accompany me in the line up, and put my trust in him to pick for a wave he thinks I could ride. I must say, I have improved a lot. But, then again if I have stayed in Baler for a week and did not improve my surfing, I would have hated myself. On top of all of that, I have learned a lot from this trip, from knowing that John and I couldn’t cook a decent meal for ourselves, how I am like mother who couldn’t stand dishes in the sink and how the people we meet trust us, a lot more that maybe I should tell in another entry. I have learned a lot about myself, too. 


Travel: Surviving One Week in Baler

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