Baler is the capital of Aurora province located in Central Luzon region facing Baler Bay near the Philippine sea. Ever since I've watched Baler movie, I've been totally curious about the place. Upon realizing Baler is a place to surf, relax and unwind, whoa! I finally marked this place to visit last year. And so the saying goes everything is possible, I'm finally blogging about it!
Sabang Beach in Baler, Aurora
How to Reach Baler, Aurora
So the first question here that most people asked including my friends is, how to get to Baler? There are two ways to reach Baler, Aurora. Both ways' endpoint are just a tricycle away from the famous Sabang Beach where most resorts are located and people do surfing.
Direct Transportation from Manila to Baler via Genesis Bus Transport
As of now, Genesis Bus Transport is the only bus company that caters direct transportation to Baler. Normal bus ride's everyday schedule starts at 3AM in their website but it usually starts at 4-430AM for the first trip to give way to Cubao-Casiguran trip around 1AM-3AM in their Cubao Terminal. From first trip, an interval of 1 hr every trip until its' last trip at 730AM.
The good news here, I read they already have JoyBus Genesis bus which is a coach/executive style bus, no stop-overs, comfort room on-board, and free wi-fi. Best is they have schedules at 12-1am which is earlier. During our trip last year, Genesis didn't offer this new JoyBus but I'm glad it's good now. Yey!
TIP: Better call them for reservations. It is highly important to buy your tickets prior the trip to avoid the hassle of those chance passengers and to make sure exact time of your trip so you can plan your itinerary ahead.
Check his website to understand what I'm saying:
Complete Schedule: http://www.genesistransport.com.ph/gtsi/schedules.html
Address: G/F Genesis Transport Building 704 EDSA Corner New York St. Cubao Quezon City
Tel: (02) 709-0803 / (02) 421-1425 / (02) 441-6834
Fax: (02) 709-0544
Rates: Php 650 one-way
Travel Time: 5-6 hrs.
Indirect Transportation from Manila to Cabanatuan via Bus & Cabanatuan to Baler via non-AC van
In case you plan to go to Baler outside the specified time of Genesis' bus schedule, alternate route would be to take a bus to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Travel time is more or less 3hrs.
Then upon reaching Cabanatuan terminal which is near the public market, take a non-aircon public van (located in the market) until you reach Baler. I don't think pollution would be an issue because of green and nature view along the way. Travel time is 3-4 hrs. Non-AC van from Cabanatuan to Baler is a public transportation, meaning it has to be filled first for 12 pax (depending on the van's capacity) before the van proceeds on its ride to Baler. If you're in groups you can hire the van until you reach Baler.
Manila to Cabanatuan via ES Transport - Php 180
Travel Time: 2.5-3hrs
Cabanatuan - Baler - Php 220/head (for vans good for 12 pax)
Travel Time: 3-4hrs
What we did
We arrived in Genesis around 12-1AM to try our luck. We don't have reservations and during our trip, the Genesis bus schedule to Baler was still around 4-4:30AM. We arrived early to try our luck in Cubao-Casiguran(Auroa) trip as it will pass by Baler but they did not allowed it saying it's a lot of lugi (money loss in their side). Oh well, we did the alternate route.
Just beside Genesis Bus Transport (left side, if facing EDSA) is the ES Transport going to Cabanatuan. And upon reaching the market in Cabanatuan, we hired the van to Baler. We arrived in Cabanatuan 3:30AM and in this point of time, we decided to just hire the van (we're 8 pax) so we can reach Baler early morning.
Reaching Sabang Beach
Thankfully the van directly dropped us at Sabang Beach. We reached Baler from Cabanatuan in just more or less 3 hours! We walked, passing by different lodge/resorts and asked where is Aliya Surf Resort. We planned to stay in Bay's Inn but it is already fully booked. I can stay in a much cheaper resort but because I still have trauma from our terrible stay during Pahiyas Festival, I said that I wanted a nice play to stay this time hehe.
Aliya Surf Camp Resort & Hotel
Aliya Surf Resort is located in Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora. I think it's a sister resort of Bahia De Baler because Aliya Surf Resort's last name owner is Angara (same with Bahia).
They're investing to make it bigger! If you go now, you'll see its already finished.
The place is nice, relaxing and peaceful. I loved their cafe/bar area, very likeable. They only served breakfast here. We arrived very early and while they're working on cleaning up the rooms we're about to use, we ordered breakfast. Don't expect that will be served immediately. Expect an hour or so before eating. They do have check in times but one of caretakers is kind enough to agree that as long as there's available room ahead of time, we can check in.
Breakfast is great except for their Tapsilog (check the picture at the lower right side of the picture below). I heard it is famous in other resorts here but because it seems sunog when served to us, it literally tasted like wood. Maybe it's just during that time how it is cooked. You can try other resorts Tapsilog, maybe you'll find happiness in the famous Tapa their talking about. :)
We took 2 rooms located at the second floor, and I find it clean. :)
Here is the view from 2nd floor's balcony. Sweet!
Aliya Surf Camp Resort Hotel
Contact Person: Roy Angara
Cellphone Number: 0929 7586005
Room Rates: (Aircon rooms, with free wifi)
Php1,200 for 2 people
Php1,500 for 3 people
Php2,000 for 5 people
Surfing Lesson: Php 350/hr
My Baler Trip
Part1: Baler, Aurora Day 1 - Baler Transportation and Aliya Surf Resort Hotel
Part2: Baler, Aurora Day 1 - Places to Visit or See / Touring Baler
Part3: Baler, Aurora Day 1 - Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora and Dinner at Bay's Inn
Part4: Baler, Aurora Day 2 - Surfing Time in Sabang Beach, Baler
Part5: Baler, Aurora Day 2 - Rolling Store and Balete Tree
2Days/1Night Itinerary and Expenses in Baler, Aurora
List of Baler Beach Resorts | Baler Accomodation