Baler Bay In Aurora Province, Philippines
About: Baler, Aurora, Philippines
Baler is the political and
economic center of Aurora. It is located some 230 kilometers northeast
of Manila via a mountain pass accessible by bus. Baler is host to
spectacular geographic formations and is situated on a vast plain at
the mouth of Baler Bay, a contiguous segment of the Philippine Sea.
Nine-foot high waves serve as Baler’s tourist asset, attracting
hundreds of surfers in February for the Aurora Cup.
As the capital and oldest municipality of Aurora Province, Baler is the seat of government and the center for trade and industry. The most progressive town in Aurora, Baler commands the most resorts, public institutions and facilities, as well as business establishments.
Baler is known for numerous tourist attractions. In addition to the Baler Catholic Church and other historical sites , there are resorts at Sabang Beach and Cemento Beach, where surfers from all over the world compete for the annual International Aurora Surfing Cup. The coral-rich islands of Dimadimalangat, Aniao and Lukso-Lukso lie just off the coast.
Baler, Aurora is a paradise for surfers, with its long coastline exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The sport was made famous in the Province by the classic film Apocalypse Now. The scene in which U.S. soldiers are surfing was filmed here, and the production crew left behind surfboards for the locals to use.
This totally unexploited coastal town by the Sierra Madre Mountains in the northeast of Luzon carved its own popularity in the movie, “Apocalypse Now” scene “Charlie don’t surf!”
Nestling in the east coast of Aurora Province, Baler is physically unattached from the rest of the Philippines. To get there takes 6 hours by four-wheeled-drive vehicle and passing through rough roads in the mountains down to the bay of Baler. The ride can be exhausting but getting there promises a remarkable view of surf all over the stretching brown beach of the bay. The town faces the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, which gives it the surf that it is renowned for.
Surfing in Aurora is limited by your access to the sites that are there. For perfect surf you need not look to far, but should you want to hire a banca and do some exploring.
The locals of Baler claim that the surf is sometimes so huge that they could hear it all the way from the provincial capitol building, some 1.5 km away from the coast. There are numerous surfing points in Aurora, but the municipality of Baler offers most of the more accessible surfing areas with good accommodations. The local surfers are always friendly and hospitable to visiting surfers, and it pays to learn from their experience with the waves in the area.
When to go:
From mid- September to early March, the North-East Monsoon blows down from China. This is the best surf season. The hot months of April through early June bring a relatively calm sea breeze. During this time, the waves are small and are ideal for snorkeling, windsurfing and diving.
Where to go:
Glassy right and left waves in the early mornings. Fun waves-not usually big, except during typhoons. A good site for beginning and novice surfers. The MIA Surf & Sports Resort, located by the beach, offers surfing lessons and rents out surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling equipment. They also offer tours to the best surfing, snorkeling and diving areas.
Located on this long stretch of gray sand beach are several resorts namely: Angara’s Beach House, Bay’s Inn Resort, MIA Surf and Sports Resort and Baler Guesthouse and Restaurant, which, offer accommodations near the beachfront and provide food, relaxation, and respite for swimmers and surfers.
From March through June, the waves are relatively calm providing a good beachfront for swimmers and an excellent challenge for expert windsurfers. The months from October to February bring in the large waves for beginner surfers to learn the basics with relative safety from scratches, since most of the beach is sandy- bottomed. Undertows, which are helpful to surfers and dangerous for non-swimmers, do occur in certain areas. The most popular surfing point is found right in front of Bay’s Inn, where beginners brave the moderate waves and regular surfers practice.
Take a tricycle from Baler town proper to the river outlet south of Sabang Beach. From there, you can either hire a motorized banca for a 10-minute ride to the reef, or take a 40-minute walk.White sand, seashells, and crushed corals carpet the stretch of Cemento Beach. From October to February, waves tower up to 14 feet high, making for excellent and challenging surfing, as experts from Europe, Japan and Australia can attest.
The area is recommended for expert or professional surfers as the waves break at the reef and are of the right-hand break type. The surfer is advised to wear wetsuits for protection. The area is also suitable for snorkeling and wall diving during the calm season from April to June. Finally, Cemento Beach is a popular haven for lobsters and other marine species. To the south of an old cement pier is a reef break just off a large rock.
The area produces excellent quality right breakwaves over sharp reefs. It is one of the spots most frequented by Australian, European and Japanese surfers in Aurora. The sight is recommended mainly for experienced or professional surfers. Surfers are advised to wear wetsuits. Cemento Beach is usually the site of the finals for the Annual Aurora Surfing Cup. Spectators have to traverse a swamp to reach two huge rocks that provide a splendid view of surfing action.
Famous for being the setting for the surfing scenes in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now, Charlie’s Point is known for medium-quality right and left breakwaves on sand/gravel bottom. The waves are best from December to January. The place is within walking distance from Baler town proper, north of Sabang Beach.
Found further north along Sabang Beach, is a highly-prized secret spot among local surfers. Lindy’s Point is a newly discovered surfing spot. The place is within 15-minute walking distance from Bay’s Inn. The tall waves were “artificially” created when local government engineers opened the mouth of Baler Bay to the town river to prevent floods during the rainy seasons. The clashing waters coming from the river and the Pacific form strong, sharp breakwaves that provide an exhilarating high among experienced surfers.
Surfing waves are present all year round, but the best waves come in from October to February. The typhoon season coincides with the wet season from mid-June to November, although there are occasional typhoons in December. The area of Aurora is visited by typhoons at least 3 or 4 times a year. The typhoons blow in from the Pacific brought by the South-West Monsoon, through the South China Sea. From October to March, the North-East Monsoon blows down from China. This is the best surf season. The hot months of May through early June bring a relatively calm sea breeze. During this time, the waves are small and are ideal for snorkeling, windsurfing and diving.