Found these pics of my first and only trip to Baler, Aurora in 2004. It was a packaged trip so I don't remember much of the details except that I was puking almost all the way down Manila haha :) Mind you, it's about a 5-6 hour land trip to Baler, with the last 3 hours zigzagging all the way up to Aurora! The roads were so bad, travel is limited or oftentimes cancelled during rainy season because of landslides. There is only one bus company that services the route -- Genesis travel -- their buses have special tires for the unpaved road and the drivers specially-trained to handle the zigzag. So anyway, the travel organizers said they never had a trip when someone didn't puke because of the zigzags, especially going home (so I'm not so bad really... in fact, there was a mother and daughter team puking with me all the way down!)
Anyway, when we got there, the most popular resort along the beach, Bay's Inn, was fully-booked so we landed in this so-so resort across the road from the beach. Food sucked. The beach itself was rough even during the supposedly calm season of April, one
of the guys on our tour almost drowned. It IS a surfer's beach after all. The sand was very fine, almost like Boracay's, but it's black. It was so fine, in fact, that my swimsuit got ruined after that trip because the fine particles wouldn't wash off.
We had some of our meals at Bay's Inn which is highly-recommended (food was superb!) and mostly, we would hang out in their resto to watch the surfers. Baler then just formed its own surfing team and was starting to compete locally so at any given day, you would see kids half my size surfing the waves with their hand-me-down surfboards (from American tourists who introduced surfing to the locals).
We went to a couple of beaches, Baler's highest point, a falls and then just went around the quiet town where, up until then, market day would be during Sundays at the town plaza across the church.
Baler's beaches are dramatic, albeit untouched, so modern conveniences are a trade-off. So I'm glad to have gone even if it was the first and only time I went to the beach and never even managed a dip!
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