Baler, Aurora Part II: The 'Apocalypse Now' Surfing Scene

I'd be the first to admit I suck at surfing. I still believe I'm 15 pounds overweight and I'll have more success if I get a bit lighter. Anyway, It was inspiring watching the residents of Baler twist and turn up in the air riding shotgun on the waves, some are big enough to swallow em, you'd think they've crashed into the water then bam you see them still zooming across the wave gliding into the water with uncanny balance and grace.

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There was this particular 10 year old kid who resembles a typical surfing prodigy. He was surfing far out the distance but it's impossible to miss him even from afar. He moves in and out over and below the waves like he's a part of "Oceans' 11". Yes he does his tricks out on the open sea and he's good at it. Wait till he gets older and I can see him winning surfing competitions even in the big ass waves of Hawaii.

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Baler, Aurora has transcended into a popular destination for surfer hobbyist and for newbies (like us) who'd want to experience what kind of rush does someone feels like when they're out there. So far I can only do so with imagination as I've yet to surf well enough to experience that nature of ecstasy.

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Belle was telling me that the beach where we went was where some parts of the classic Francis Ford Copolla film "Apocalypse Now" was shot. The place called "Charlie's Point" was where the movie reportedly shot some scenes, in particular the surfing scenes where American soldiers was seen trying to catch some big swell. After the shooting they left some surfboards floating around the beach which in turn were picked up by local residents. The result was a new generation of Filipino surfers - most of whom works there as surfing instructors, others have become participants in surfing competition around the Philippines and even nearby countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.

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Aside from surfing, Baler is an ideal place to hike around. Surrounded by the scenic Sierra Madre mountains it has a number of waterfalls, ideal camping grounds and nature parks to visit. We went to a nearby waterfalls and passed by other points of the long shoreline around Baler. Chris (Belle's surf instructor) also showed us the fishing port of Baler and the spot where the surfing finals are held.

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The next day, Belle and Gretz took up surfing lessons with the local residents working as surfing instructors. Because there were a lot of people learning to surf that day, Gretz ended up with a part time surf instructor slash tricycle driver because her instructor was our trike driver the day before when we went around the nearby area of Baler.

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Even dogs tried surfing that day.

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A trip to Baler is always a good idea for a few days, there's so much thing to do aside from trying to learn surfing. The people makes it easy for anyone to feel at home. The Pacific ocean and the surrounding Sierra Madre region definitely makes up for an ideal setting.

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Going to Baler is very easy. Just take a bus in Cubao (Genesis Bus Terminal) to Baler. Or take any bus that goes to Cabanatuan and there would be buses going to Baler at any time during the day and early nighttime. Or, beside Genesis Bus Terminal in Cubao there is a terminal of vans that can be hired going to Baler (good if you're 8 or more people).

Budget for an overnight stay (with surf board rentals + instructor and bus fare) = 2,000 pesos (foodtrip pa yan)


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