Baler is a Beauty (even if photographed on an iphone, on an overcast day. sorry.)

baler, lukso-lukso, summer, surf trip, trip, vacation
View from Ermita Hill.  Obviously, my iphone didn’t do it any justice.

There have been numerous trips and travel opportunities that have not pushed through in my quarter-life– trips that are so well-planned, detailed and dreamed on for days but then something happens and then one thing leads to another and then, the trip ended before it even started.  I believe this happens to most of us, and it doesn’t even have to be out of town travel.  It could be simple trips or quick get-together with friends that goes awry after you have exhausted time (and sometimes money) to plan it out.  And then there are things that you don’t plan for, things that are just of the moment and then it all falls into place.  Is careful planning a jinx in itself? But before I further discuss this and bore you to death, let me just say that our summer trips here at QLT for this year are rather unplanned and yet they turned out to be the most fun we’ve had.  But then again most of our trips are unplanned AND fun.  What am I even saying? Yeah this is just regular stuff.  I might actually bore you to death.

Or not.  Because we went to Baler.  You cannot be bored at Baler.  You just can’t. 

Though we’ve been there before, as saplings wanting to learn to surf a little, we can’t say no to a quick text from Istokewa surf tours asking P if we want to join another Baler surf trip (STILL as saplings wanting to surf a little). I mean, if you were stuck in a quicksand and Ryan Gosling appeared near that pool and offered you to grab his hand, wouldn’t you take it? (Or if you’re a guy, Miranda Kerr is applicable or whoever Victoria’s Secret Angel or Sports Illustrated swimsuit hotness you can think of. Pfft…) In this analogy, the quicksand would be your proverbial “stress” and Ryan Gosling would be Baler.  It can be any other person of course but well, we are talking about Baler here and Baler, my good friends, is a beauty.

Baler has always meant surfing for us but after our first surf session for the day, we were itching to do something else.   Our surf instructor suggested we go around Baler on a rented tricycle.  Who are we to take down suggestions from locals? They of great knowledge of the land that we walk upon?  Certainly not I and my uhm, sudden dramatic tendencies.

The rented tricycle (hopefully with a tricycle driver.  Unless you know how to drive one and know where you are going) costs 500 pesos with this itinerary: Lukso-lukso, Fish Port (which looks sad on an afternoon because all fish buying action happens early morning. hence, no photos!), Digisit Falls, Digisit Beach and Ermita Park. We actually wanted to go to the popular Baler tourist spot, Ditumabo Falls but it had just stopped raining and the driver told us that the water on the river would be high then– we may not be able to pass through safely. Well, there’s always next time.  Meanwhile, the drive was not exactly comfortable as there were 3 of us cramped up in a tricycle but to be seeing all those countryside views without a mirror desensitizing the experience was quite pleasant, and the breeze was just wonderful, it would be a shame to not drink it in. When was the last time you rode a tricycle and found it enjoyable, or eventful at the least? These kind of things are so mundane to us but to experience it on a different place (and without the choking pollution!) is certainly a wonderful thing.  And once we got to the destinations, I couldn’t be more amazed, I never thought Baler would be so gorgeous but it is!

We got to Lukso-Lukso first.  To get to the main beach is like discovering a pleasant surprise: our tricycle got off the main road and passed through coconut trees before reaching this run-down beach house. I had a few thoughts: Is this beach house supposed to mean something? Are we being kidnapped? And if so why don’t I feel scared?! But after setting foot on the pebbled sand of lukso-lukso, I knew then that it is not about the beach house nor are we being kidnapped.

It is about this gorgeousness.


The coast is clear at Lukso-Lukso

Lukso-Lukso are these group of rock formations or well, islets that got its curious name from the way one get from one islet to another: by hopping on the rocks scattered from the main beach to the other islets.  This is especially true low-tide but since we went there high-tide we can’t lukso-lukso and just went tingin-tingin instead (admit it. That’s pretty genius). Our tricycle driver/tour guide told us that a bridge once connected  lukso-lukso to cemento beach, pointing to the barren posts jutting out the water, starting from the run-down beach house.  He said that the strong waves easily destroyed the bridge.  I would assume that these strong waves are the same waves favored by professional surfers on cobra reef, which lies beyond Lukso-Lukso.   Nature is both beauty and madness, isn’t it?


A bridge once connected lukso-lukso to cobra reef before it was easily destroyed by the powerful waves.

Next on our map is Digisit Falls located just beside the main road.  Albeit a small one, one cannot deny that Digisit Falls is quite precious– like a jewel found between rocks. Someone ahead of us was slowly climbing the rocks to get near the mouth of the falls.  The rocks would be of course slippery that is why he has to go slowly but I also noticed, each time he got up a step or two, he would stop and look at his surroundings and then the waterfalls and just stand there, like he is contemplating on something.  Is he going through some personal problems?  I will never know but if I am having a stressful day, I also wish there was a Digisit falls nearby to clear my head. (And not billboards or shop windows or uhm, cake shop windows trying to lure me to buy and eat something instead.)

DIGISIT FALLS.  Is a smaller version of the Mother Falls, Ditumabo Falls.

A few minutes drive from the waterfalls is nearby Digisit Beach .  Also, just off the main road, I would assume that this is a favorite spot of locals to swim and cool off.  I mean, everyone and their brother seems to be there at that time, at least.  I am not complaining but I was suddenly used to not seeing people on this mini road trip of ours that I was surprised to be seeing a lot– if that makes any sense. (I even thought for a moment that the lone man on Digisit Falls was a ghost– until he almost slipped on a rock.  Ghosts don’t do clumsy stunts like that). But with or without people, Digist Beach is a sight to behold with its imposing rock formations and seemingly ominous seascape.

DIGISIT BEACH. (Never trust an iphone to capture “ominous seascape”)

On our last stop we went up the viewing deck at Ermita Park and though I have an idea of what we’ll be seeing, we can’t help but be amazed and stare in awe of Baler’s sweeping views. To the people of Baler, you are all one lucky lot.

I felt bad that I didn’t have my trusty D40 with me to take photos of all these resplendent, beautiful views.  Guess that’s the trade off for not planning a trip: crappy photos. We could make this easy: I would apologize for providing you pathetic pictures and you would forgive me because I am charming. Or, you could make this harder by checking other blogs, because they have nicer, clearer photos and I would actually allow you because I’m nice like that.  If you choose the former then thank you and sorry for posting mediocre photos (I say this with a be-dimpled smile even though I really have no dimples).  If you choose the latter then, go ahead and google those blogs (still saying it with a be-dimpled smile even though I really have no dimples).

Oh hey you’re back. What did you say? Those blogs not as entertaining as ours?

I thought so too.


Istokewa Surf Tours have affordable, weekend trips to Baler so you can totally seem to act on impulse when really you did not (i.e. not depleting your bank account and not taking the day off). High-Fives to everyone for acting like adults!

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