We go to places for different reasons. Those are dependent on so many factors, of course, like our personalities and lifestyles. If you happen to be the laid-back type and see vacations as opportunities to relax and rejuvenate, I know just the things to do in Baler for you.
What is Baler famous for?
Baler is often regarded as ‘the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines.’ So, yes, it’s famous for its surfing spots. There’s the more popular Sabang Beach, which is near the town’s poblacion. But you can also head to Cemento Beach, which is some kilometers away from the municipality’s center but just as scenic (if not more than) Sabang.
Why should you visit Baler?
This is not an exaggeration: Baler is one of the most scenic, majestic, beautiful places in the Philippines. We’ve never seen a place so — and I rarely ever use this word — blessed with the abundance and splendor of nature. You feel enveloped by Mother Earth’s embrace when you’re there.
Things to do in Baler
The most obvious answer, of course, is to try surfing. But seeing as you’re our kind of people, who prefer less adventurous but just as worthwhile experiences, here are some of the things to do in Baler for you.
Visit the town’s historical sites — there are plenty.
You’ll find a couple right at the town’s center. There’s the 400 Years Monument that commemorates the town’s 400th anniversary. You can find it just before you arrive at the municipal hall’s grounds.
Walk a little further and you’ll find the replica of Aurora Quezon’s house across the street.
Baler also has a museum (Museo de Baler), which houses images featuring the late President Manuel Quezon and his family, as well as reading materials about the province and the Dumagat and Ilongot people.
There’s also Ermita Hill, which was where the people of Baler swam to when a tsunami (tidal wave) hit the town in 1735. It’s also the site of a watch tower, which was built in around 1875 and was used to serve as a lookout for Moros who at the time had been raiding the town for 50 years.
Take lots of photos at scenic spots
You won’t find it hard to pick a subject when you’re in Baler. Whether that’s the Diguisit Rock Formation, the mangroves in Brgy. Zabali where Manuel Quezon used to sunbathe, the Baler Fish Port, or the Dimadimalangat Islet.
Swim to your heart’s content
Baler’s famous beaches are known for surfing, but there is one beach that’s great for just swimming — Dicasalarin Beach.
Eat, eat, eat
Food is a huge deciding factor for us in terms of whether or not we will return to a place. If this is a make-or-break element for you, too, you’ll be pleased to know that Baler does not disappoint.
We did a mix of dining out and cooking our food at our accommodation when we stayed there in early April, and both were incredibly pleasant experiences.
If you’re looking for affordable but sumptuous meals, head to Yolly’s. (A word of advice though: don’t fall for the lobster like we did because it’s not served fresh! But everything else was, honest to goodness, great — even the free soup.) Get the ginataang gulay and the eatery’s take on Igado (it’s like papaitan but less sour — definitely not the Igado Ilocanos know and love).
Price range: P80-450 (up to P1,500 if you want to get the big lobster)
Indian and Middle Eastern food in Baler? Yes, it exists and it’s not your run-of-the-mill joint; it’s the real thing. The Shack serves authentic Indian and Middle Eastern (and, well, Filipino) food, prepared by an Indian chef no less. It was our first and last stop during our trip. It’s a must-visit! Try anything. But if you want specific recommendations, we loved the Chicken Xacuti and Chicken Tandoori.
Price range: P150-300 per dish
The Beach House
We often don’t like ‘posh’ places because we like to rough it out during our trips, but we took a chance with The Beach House (inside Costa Pacifica Baler), and we weren’t disappointed. The Baler Pizza was amazing, and so was the restaurant’s signature burger.
Price range: P320-800 (but the servings can be shared between two people)
We also stopped by a local bakery to get a loaf of bread and decided to try its donuts too. Needless to say, everything was great. We meant to go back before leaving but we were rushing so we forgot.
Our market trip was just as great. The meat was fresh and the longganisa was amazing. Pako was a revelation too (save for the fact that the first person we bought from conned us and gave a price much higher because they sensed we were tourists). The mangoes and turnips we bought to take home were great as well!