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Surfing 101 in Baler, Aurora

Surfing has always been in my bucket list that I have been trying to avoid for the longest time. Mostly because I don’t know how to swim and I don’t want to be girl who drowned while attempting to ride the waves. But last month, my friends finally were able to drag my ass to Baler, Aurora. I was told (and I also read) that it’s one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines for beginners.

We left Manila at 1:00am on a rented van and headed to Baler. It was a 5-hour long drive from Manila that’s why we had to leave early. As soon as the van pulled out to the highway, I dozed off and woke up in the middle of nowhere at 4:00am for stopover and breakfast at this small bakery. We apparently arrived early and actually have time to kill, it’s no surprise though since the driver was stepping on the gas like zombies are behind us. That was one hell of a speedy and bumpy ride, I must say. Anyway, after having our pandesal, coffee, and lomi, we jumped back to the van and traversed to Baler for another hour or so.


It was a gloomy and rainy day in Baler when we arrived. We planned on having a tour in that small town before actually going on surfing. The rain, however, provided it difficult for us to hop from one area to another. Among the spots we visited were the:

1) Largest Balete Tree in Asia – we were actually able to go inside the tree! It was fascinating, feels like I’m in a sci-fi movie or something…and not at all creepy! Well, maybe a little bit. The tree can only accommodate few people at a time because obviously it’s a tree and not a park. We were in and out within 5 minutes. Fun fact: a person can climb the tree to the top but the local guide said it’s prohibited now because it disturbs the tree’s peace.

2) Museo de Baler – It a two-story museum housing the photos and artifacts exhibiting Baler’s history and culture.


3) Surfing – FINALLY! After having lunch at one of the eateries in rolling store, we took some rest, changed into surf gear and headed to the sea. We visited Maddox Surfing School and bought an hour of surfing lessons. I forgot how much it cost, I think around Php250-350 per hour. So anyway, on the first 15 mins of the session with the trainer, he taught me the basics: proper form, how to stand, what to do when you fall, etc. I definitely wasn’t all comfortable and already getting the jitters though we’re still on the shore. I tried my best to focus on everything he’s teaching before we actually go in the water.

Once he’s attached the surfboard’s leash into my right leg, we dove in. Although I didn’t catch my first wave (nor the second, third, fourth, fifth) and it took me sometime to finally get comfortable with my form and balance, I must say I did enjoy surfing and hey, I didn’t drown alright! To be honest, I was only able to stand like 3 to 4 times out of so many. But it was so fun!

Being there in the sea, inhaling the salty wind and the sun warming my body against the cold water, I was oblivious to the entire world and I was insanely, utterly happy. I just loved how surfing made me intensely focused on only my surfboard and the crashing waves. I just loved every moment of it. But then as all good things come to an end, my one-hour surfing lessons ended and I couldn’t extend because the waves were getting harsher as the sun goes down.


My friends and I had dinner at one of the local restaurants. I dozed off early mainly because I had a bus to catch at 4:00am the next day (leaving my friends because I had a flight to catch) and also I was exhausted from the day’s activities.

(Side note: not much photos because I accidentally deleted them from my phone.)

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