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Baler Beaches: Dicasalarin Cove, Cemento Beach, Lukso-Lukso, and the Aniao Islets

Baler Beaches: Dicasalarin Cove, Cemento Beach, Lukso-Lukso, and the Aniao Islets

Baler offers beaches other than its popular surf spots, each with enchanting rock formations and their own unique charm.
By Keisha Uy

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.

Dicasalarin Cove

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. 

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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.

Barangay Zabali

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dicasalarin

The entrance to Dicasalarin Cove's compound greets guests with a breathtaking view. This privately-owned Baler attraction is open to those who stay at Bahia de Baler and avail of a tour package that comes with a gate pass.

Dicasalarin

A winding cement road leads to the main compound of the cove. At present, there are still some short stretches of rough road and hillsides being paved for easier access.

Dicasalarin

Guests can dine al fresco at Dicasalarin with wooden tables and chairs set under trees providing generous shade. This dining area is also relatively far from the beach to encourage proper disposal of food waste. Guests are asked to keep leftovers in plastic bags and bring them back for proper disposal when leaving the dining area.

Dicasalarin

To the right of the dining area are a group of inter-connected log cabins where Senator Angara and his guests stay whenever they are in Dicasalarin. Because of the cool sea breeze, the rooms are only furnished with electric fans and mosquito nets.

Ifugao Village

Opposite the private huts is the area called "Ifugao village." Maze-like wooden bridges lead to the Ifugao huts.

Ifugao Village

The Ifugao village was dubbed so because of the architecture of the huts. They mimic the homes of the native Ifugaos and add a charming ethnic touch to the Dicasalarin compound.

Dicasalarin

The log-built shower room can be found a little way from the beach. This is to ensure that no waste reaches the beach.

Dicasalarin

A simple log gateway leads to the beach and frames the spectacular view of the cove.

Dicasalarin

The wide white sand beach in Dicasalarin complements the ocean's sparkly blue color when the weather is good.

Dicasalarin

Boat trips to Dicasalarin from Sabang beach are always set in the morning and end at 2pm because the waters tend to have bigger waves in the afternoon and may be dangerous.

Stairs at Dicasalarin

This flight of cement stairs leads to the peak where a lighthouse is to be built. From the beach, a trek to this peak takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Dicasalarin

The peak where a lighthouse is to be built offers a thrilling view of the cove with waves crashing against rock formations dotting the shores of the cove.

Lukso-Lukso

This group of islets is so named because the closely spaced rocks tempt visitors to jump from one rock to another.

Aniao

A little after the Lukso-Lukso islets are the Aniao group of islets which have bigger rock formations. In the language of Aurora natives, Aniao means "small island." Aniao is also known as a good place for snorkeling.

Cemento Beach

This beach is named for the cement-like features of the rocks found along this beach. The beach is a venue for pro surfing.

Mangroves

In line with Baler's efforts to preserve its natural attractions, the people have committed themselves to a mangrove reforestation project that was launched four years ago.

Fish Port

Baler's fish port is found a little after the mangrove reforestation area. As one of the many seaside towns of Aurora, it is important for the people of Baler to sustain both the demand and supply for fish that are integral to their economy.
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