The Philippines is famous for the long and arduous journeys out of the coastal towns, where excellent reefs are just waiting for the right typhonic swell to light up. Despite being positioned in the main land of Luzon, the city of Baler isn’t an exception, taking adventurers to the rolling Sierra Madre mountain range in the province of Aurora. This tinkling road is a must-see place as it passes through waterfalls, rivers and a lush blanket of tropical forest full of biodiversity. The surf scene in Apocalypse Now was filmed in Baler specifically Charlie’s Point. Locals surf with passion and it isn’t a surprise that Edmund Mendoza, the first national surfing champion, was born in Baler, the birthplace of Filipino surf. The crowd landscape is still quiet with around 50 surfers and only 20 surfboards, while the quality is marginally better than what is shown in the film. You can’t miss this chance to surf in Luzon!
Many quality spots lie in the north of Baler but, if there has been heavy rains, they are difficult to access. Diarabasin is a lively left reefbreak 45km north of Baler. Dalugen Reef is a fast left that breaks over reefs and adjacent beachbreaks for the less experienced surfers. Recently discovered, and only a 15-minute walk from the Bay Inn, there is Lindie’s Point where the waves were built “artificially” when local government engineers opened the mouth of the estuary to prevent floods during the rainy season. On the rivermouth left and right sandbanks are not formed but the currents are strong. A short distance from Baler there is Charlie’s Point, the Apocalypse Now spot where medium quality peaks break lazily on the sand and gravel seafloor. Baler is located at the south end of a 10km long beach, where a rocky peninsula merges with the sea. In many places the beaches are a little too steep and the waves tend to close quickly. In this beach with gray sand there are many resorts such as Angara’s Beach House, Bay’s Inn Resort or MIA surf and Sports. The most popular spot is Sabang Beach, right at Bay’s Inn, perfect beachbreak for beginners. The best spot around is undoubtedly Cemento, a right over a sharp reef, a 40m walk from Sabang or just 10 min by boat. There is excitement in this great wave as it delivers breathtaking take-offs, but the ride is short. Also known as “The Cobra Reef” as the wave resembles the shape of a cobra about to strike. White sand, shells and chopped coral cover the stretch of Cemento Beach, a popular heaven for lobsters and other marine species. Though it’s quite a secret, you’ll hear about Dicasalarin Cove, a white-sand beach with no facilities. Getting there takes a heavy 45min boat trip, and the waves aren’t all that good. A bit of a trek to the south brings you to Dingaland, a very expansive southeast-facing beach with bland and random peaks, but there’s also NE wind protection and the premise of an uncrowded spot.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 105|
From March to June waves are very rare so the conditions are excellent for swimmers. The typhonic season coincides with the wet season which runs from June to November (sometimes even December). The province of Aurora is hit by tophons at least 3 or 4 times a year. Typhoons blow across the Pacific during the SW monsoon, bringing good waves, but it can mean 3 or 4 days of wind and heavy rain that make getting around difficult. The best season for surfing is from October to March, when the NE monsoon blows from China producing 3-8ft waves. Winds will be onshore from NE-E in the afternoon and mostly calm in the morning. The tides are semi diurnal with a diurnal inequality, never exceeding 3ft of variation.
How to get there : No visa needed for stays of less than 21 days. Possible extensions are really easy to get. Manila (MNL) has two direct flights from Australia, Qantas or Philippines Airlines. It is 12h from San Francisco. Most European flights require a change in Singapore, Bangkok or Hong Kong. $ 15 for departure taxes.
Getting around : It takes 7-9h by bus on mountainous roads to reach Beler from Manila. If you need to rent a car (not a good idea), try RentaCar in Manila (from $ 250 / week for a car and $ 390 for a van). Traffic in Manila is too high.
Accommodations and Food : Better known as Ocean View, The Bay Inn Resort on Sabang Beach offers accommodations for only 32 guests. Prices range from $ 8 to $ 10 per night. MIA Surf & Sport Resort offers 5 Vip rooms with private bathroom, showers and electric fan. Prices are similar to Bay Inn. Sabang Beach is more central. You will pay $ 3 for a good meal.
Climate : The Philippines has a warm tropical climate all year round with days above 30 ° and nights rarely drop below 25 ° C. Depending on the area, the intensity of the rains changes: the further south and east you move, the more it will rain. Generally the year is divided into three seasons: the hot season from March to May, the rainy season from June to November and the cold season from December to February. The monsoon seasons are instead two: one from May to October with the monsoon from the southwest while the one from the north-east is from November to April. January is the coldest month while April is the hottest.
Nature and Culture : The Sierra mountains produce a beautiful tropical backdrop. See the thermal baths of Digisit near Cemento or the Pimentel waterfalls near San Luis. Check out the Banaue rice terraces in the Isabela province. Pinoys love parties and people come from Manila to add to the lively scenery.
Dangers and annoyances : The Concrete Cobra Section can break boards and hit you on the reef. In addition to insects and monsoon rains, be careful of thieves as there is a lot of poverty. Traveling to / from Manila might seem like a nuissance but it is often an adventure. Typhoons can be very destructive on the Aurora Province.
Tips : Bay Inn and MIA Surf & Sports rent surfboards for $ 3 / day and bodyboards for $ 1.50 / day. Landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, typhoons, plane crashes; The Philippines competes with Indonesia in terms of disasters. English is widely spoken.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include
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