Philippine Churches

AURORA: Boasting Nature's Wonders

A day after our Zambales trip back in December 2010, I immediately looked for our summer getaway for 2011 and Caramoan came into my mind. I’ve read a lot of good reviews about the place and made me motivated to plan for it. But as they say, you have to save the best for last which means I have to find another place to go to. And so I googled and poof, Baler sink in as my next destination.

Day 1: April 29,2011

Getting to Baler is really a sore butt experience. Travel time would be 7-8 hours by bus but indeed it was worth the road trip. We were at the Genesis Bus terminal and boarded the bus at 5:30 am and arrived at 1:30pm. We wished to stay at Bay’s Inn, which offers a panoramic view of Sabang Beach but it was fully booked so we decided to find another lodge. We landed at Amihan Aplaya Lodge where we spent 3D2N, accommodation would cost Php1500 per night, a house with two rooms and a comfort room. Nevertheless, we had our lunch at Bay’s Inn which offers pocket friendly meals and headed back to our lodge to prepare for the waves of Baler.

We had our dinner at Gerry Shan’s . And I commend the Tinola that they served! It was really great! And so with the other dishes.

Day 2: April 30, 2011

Aside from the rich history of the town, it also houses the costumes worn by the actors/actresses of Baler Movie and the trophies of MMFF awards, antique chinawares, old bells of the Baler Church, etc.

Stands the monument of Manuel Luis Quezon, who was born in Baler, Tayabas (which is the old name of Quezon Province which was named in his honor) now under the jurisdiction of Aurora Province(which was named after his wife Aurora Aragon-Quezon)

A replica of the Quezon Residence

Tromba Marina sculptures portray the story of the people of Baler going up to Ermita Hill to escape the threat of tsunami that struck the province in 1735.

Baler Bay as seen from Ermita Hill

also known as Digisit Falls

Overlooking Aniao Islet

also known as the Mother Falls
Located in the municipality of San Luis, Ditumabo Falls is the largest waterfalls in the province and gained its name Mother Falls. Getting to where the water gushes out entails you to a 15-30-minute hike.

sometimes referred as L. Pimentel Falls
Another falls in San Luis, Caunayan Falls in Brgy. L.Pimentel is under private property which requires you to pay Php10 to get in. Mind you, you will pass two properties of land owned privately and will ask you a toll of Php20 each vehicle just to pass.

The centuries-old balete tree is considered the millennium tree of the Philippines and one of the largest trees of its kind in Asia. You may get inside the tree as there are caverns made of the roots that grew through the years.

You may hire a tricycle to go to these places. We bargained the tricycle driver that brought us to our lodge to bring us to these places. It cost us Php800 per tricycle which I think is really reasonable enough to traverse three municipalities in Aurora: Baler, San Luis and Maria Aurora. You may contact Kuya Naydo, our friendly tricycle driver/tour guide at 09392884705.

Kuya Naydo

Day 3: May 1, 2011

Before going home, we went first to the Church of Baler which has its own share in our history. Unlike other historical churches in the Philippines, it has a simple facade but rich in history.

Just in front of Baler Church stands the Aragon House, the residence of the wife of Manuel L. Quezon. Upon reading the NHI marker, it caught my attention that my school that I’ve been to in college is the same school where Aurora Aragon-Quezon studied, Pamantasang Normal ng Plipinas (Philippine Normal University). I already heard that back in college but this one gives me concrete proof!

Located just 4-5 meters away from Aurora Aragon-Quezon House and just beside the church.

Going back to Manila

Direct trip from Baler to Manila starts at 4:30am till 8:30 hourly. The next trip would be at 1:00 pm, according to the bus driver. As to avoid the darkness during the trip, we opt to leave at 8:30 am. Unfortunately the bus that was supposed to arrive got a problem that led us to wait for another bus just to get us home. Hopeless to board a Genesis Bus, we opt to ride a D Liner bus bound to Cabanatuan City. From Cabanataun City, many buses are parked bound to Cubao and Pasay. Blessing in disguise, we saved some money from the fare.

Manila-Baler (Genesis Bus Lines) - Php418
Baler-Cabanatuan (D Liner Bus)-- Php 176
Cabanatuan-Quezon City (Five Star Bus) – Php 163
TOTAL – Php 339

Genesis Bus lines offers a direct route to Baler. Drop off at the Public Market, where the buses usually stop. From there take a tricycle going to Brgy. Sabang.
You may also try this route. Board a bus bound to Cabanatuan City. From there, you may take a van or bus going to Baler.

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