Baler, the capital of Aurora province, is well known for being one of the country's prime surf spots, its waves drawing beginners and professional surfers alike. But there is more to Baler's waters than its surf-worthy waves. The town is home to several beaches, each of them with their own distinct charm.
One of Baler's most well-kept secrets is Dicasalarin Cove. It is privately owned by Senator Edgardo Angara but is open to guests staying in Bahia de Baler. A gate pass should be secured from the resort before heading to cove grounds, which can be reached by land or by sea, with either method of transportation offering a unique view of Aurora's natural wonders.
The cove serves as a rest house for the Senator and his guests. Visitor cabins and huts can be found in the area, as well as a mini complex called Ifugao Village composed of Ifugao-inspired guesthouses. Picnic tables shaded by thick foliage from surrounding trees are available for al fresco dining and for day trippers to rest from the hot beach sun.
Beyond the visitor's area is the cove itself. This white sand beach lies along the foothills of the Sierra Madre and is continually pounded by the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. The cove is bordered on both sides by rock formations that add to its rough, unspoiled charm. It is worth taking a whole morning off to explore Dicasalarin Cove. However, visitors are discouraged to visit after 2PM, when the waves become bigger and may pose a threat to those coming in by boat.
Other attractions include a river delta, where a river joins the ocean and it is possible to walk across the mouth of the river and wade by the shallow parts of the ocean at the same time; a scalable (if somewhat scary) cliff where a lighthouse is being built; as well as an Artists' Village that is set to showcase different artifacts, artwork, and antiques. Dicasalarin is being pushed not only as a thriving natural attraction, but also as a sanctuary for Baler's cultural treasures.
The coast of Barangay Zabali is littered with semi-isolated beaches that sport unique rock formations and are ideal for wading, snorkeling, or simply relaxing.
Lukso-Lukso, which means "to skip" in Tagalog, gets its name from the close distance between rocks that invites onlookers to jump from one to the other.
A few minutes away are the Aniao islets. Aniao is the local word for "small island." In contrast to Lukso-Lukso, the rocks that make up Aniao are relatively bigger and are farther apart. There are a couple of bamboo huts built by the sides of the rocks that take advantage of the shade provided by the trees growing here, making them ideal spots for a picnic or a lazy afternoon nap.
A popular surf spot rule lies a little after Aniao. This is the famed Cemento Beach, a favorite of professional surfers. The beach gets its name from the cement-like appearance of the rocks and boulders found along it. It is these rocks that make surfing in this area difficult and more suited to expert surfers. From April to June, the calm waters make the site ideal for wall diving.
Mangrove Reforestation Area
The natural attractions of Baler don't just call for sight-seeing--they also call for a commitment to sustainability. Baler's efforts in preserving its natural attractions are tied to its advocacy for a sustainable future.
One of their efforts is the development of an area reserved for mangrove reforestation. The now four-year project aims not only to exhibit the local government's efforts for natural conservation but also to support the locale's fishing industry. The mangrove plantation is located near the Baler Fish Port, an area important to the town's commerce.
Going to Baler doesn't have to be all about riding the waves. The birthplace of Philippine surfing is also a great place to relax under the sun and watch the crashing waves while enjoying a beautiful day, the kind that can only be had in Aurora.