Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy 30 – A Baler Birthday Bash!

Baler Aurora Budget Travel
Costa Pacifica 
I celebrated my 30th birthday last March 26, Black Saturday. The initial plan was to go to Hong Kong with the entire family, but because of flight cancellations, the plan did not pursue. To make up for the hassle, Deann Travel and Tours, the agency which arranged our HK Trip offered us a free Baler Trip, inclusive of transportation, accommodation in Costa Pacifica, and tours. Still, my 30th became memorable, as I spent three days enjoying nature with my family. Around five-to-six hour drive from Manila, Baler, Aurora offers an adventure that will make one want more.

Costa Pacifica Accommodation

Our accommodation was at Costa Pacifica. The junior suite has 2 beds so we just requested 3 extra mattresses. It has a balcony overlooking the greenery. 

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Junior Suite

Baler, Aurora
The view from the balcony

The dominantly white walls, with some flower paintings, makes the ambience relaxing you would like to stay in bed! If there’s one thing that needed improvement, though, it’s the slow WiFi Connection inside the rooms.
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The romantic Costa Pacifica at night
The WiFi connection was strong at the stunning lobby where various art pieces were displayed.

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Jars and art pieces at the Costa Pacifica lobby

Where To Eat In Baler

I really think there were a limited number of dining places in Baler. (This is an opportunity for business!)

When we reached the place on March 25, we had our Silog breakfast at Yellow Fin Bar and Grill. Our lunch was at Red Sizzling Republic where we ordered Pusit (squid) and Sinigang na  Salmon.

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
 Breakfast at Yellow Fin Bar and Grill

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Red Sizzling Republic

We had our dinner at Angela’s Café, that prides itself in offering the first pugon-baked pizza in Baler. We didn’t order for pizza. But their pasta that comes with enormous chicken! It’s so good that we bought (for “take out”) our dinner that next night from there!

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Dinner at Angela's Cafe

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Angela's Cafe Menu

Costa Pacifica has its own restaurant, Beach House, which serves delectable food, but were quite pricey. But the eat-all-you can breakfast was worth it.

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Eat-all-you-can breakfast

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Dining by the pool

Perhaps the most remarkable among all the food that I tasted in Baler was the Brazo de Mercedes that my family gave me on the day of my birthday. They bought it from Dialyn’s Bakeshop. It was the best Brazo de Mercedes ever!

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
The most delicious Brazo de Mercedes ever! From Dialyn's.

Natural Destinations and Historical Places

On the first day, March 25, after having our breakfast, we went straight to Ditumabo Mother Falls. It was quite a long walk that I didn’t expect because I didn’t research about the places to visit in Baler. When we went there, I was overwhelmed by the number of people going to and from the falls! Was it miraculous? I don’t know.

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Overwhelming crowd to and from the Mother Falls
Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Ditumabo Mother Falls

I composed a poem about the Mother Falls, which I posted in Facebook.

Pakikipagsapalaran ang pagbisita sa Ina:
babagtas sa mabatong daan,
tatapak sa malalaking tipak, 
makikipaggitgitan sa tulay na niyog at kawayan,
lulusong sa rumaragasang ilog,
sa salitang init at lilim,
hanggang marinig ang kinasasabikang lagaslas,
at makita ang pagkabasag ng bumubuhos na tubig.
Tatakbo kang papalapit sa Kaniya,
at tuluyang ilulublob ang katawan,
at tatanggapin ang kinimkim Niyang pagbating dama
sa malakas na hampas,
at lamig na nanunuot sa balat.

The next day, March 26, we went to Aniao Islets and Ermita Hills. I was particularly interested in Ermita Hills because of the story behind it as depicted by the statues of people climbing the hill to save themselves against the approaching tsunami.

I also composed a poem for Aniao Islets and Ermita Hills:

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Aniao Islets

Mula sa kung saan, paulit-ulit
na bumubulong sa inyo ang alon,
inihahatid ang mensahe ng dagat.
Nakaunat kayong tila may nais abutin,
o may ibig sagipin.
Subalit kayo ay mga batong
hindi makaaalis sa lunan, hiwa-
hiwalay na pinaliligiran ng tubig.

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Ermita Hills
Halikayo at akyatin ang aking katayugan.
Mga anak, sa banta ng higanteng alon,
kalmado ninyong bagtasin ang tarik,
at magkakakapit, abutin ninyo ang tuktok.
Doon, mas malalapit kayo sa ulap,
kung saan, hinala ninyo, nagtago
ang Pag-asa nang biglang magalit ang dagat.
Idalangin ninyo kay Bathalang
muling magpakita ang Pag-asa.
Himukin Niyang lumipad ito pabalik,
at dumapo sa inyong mga balikat,
Di pa man humuhupa ang panganib.

We also visited the Museo Baler. It was quite hot inside the museum that housed various memorabilia about Baler’s history. The movie Baler featuring Jericho Rosales and Anne Curtis had a special area inside the museum.
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History of Baler were depicted in these photos

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Please do not touch the paintings!

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Awards won by the film, Baler

Nearby was the house of Aurora Quezon, the wife of President Manuel L. Quezon. The province was named after her. One can’t help but be nostalgic and sentimental by being inside her house.

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Outsie the house of Aurora Quezon

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The dining room. The wood makes it look rustic, even after renovation.

Surf and Swim

My niece loves to swim! Good thing, Costa Pacifica has its own swimming pool!

Baler Aurora Budget Travels

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Wading at the sea

Yet, the best experience of the entire trip to Baler was learning how to surf! For 300/hour, inclusive of surfboard and a trainer, I was able to learn how to surf (despite many failed attempts)!

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Learning to surf 

Baler Aurora Budget Travels
Fierce Surfer

And this surfing experience somehow summarize my 30 years of existence – life is a journey of continuous learning. All the people I’ve met have contributed in one way or another to what I know and to who I am.

Happy 30

I’m old! But instead of worrying about the future, I decided to continue my journey to happiness and share the happiness to all the people I love and who love me back.

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