There is a remote coastal town in Central Luzon in the town of Baler Aurora. From Cubao, Quezon City I took the Genesis Bus going to Baler. The one way bus fare costs P380 ($8.79). I took the last trip going to Baler which is at 7:00 a.m. I was told the trip would be around 61/2 to 7 hours long.
The The bus ride had several stopovers for bladder breaks, to get food or something to drink. There are no decent place to get food but to satisfy hunger you could always buy those instant noodle soup and crackers. First stop is in Tarlac, then Cabanatuan City,( Nueva Ecija) it took us longer to wait in Cabanatuan because they were waiting for more passengers. After almost 45 minutes we left and the ride after Cabanatuan was a rough one.
After 2 hours, we stopped at Pantanbangan for 15 to 20 minutes. I remembered passing by Canili-Diayo Dam Reservoir in Nueva Viscaya. The ride was like a roller coaster, I had a headache during the trip. Our last stopover was before we reach the center of the town.
I had no idea where to stay so before leaving Quezon City I searched online where to stay while in Baler, Aurora. I found this website and from the list I picked Bay's Inn because it is just right in front of Sabang Beach which is where most surfers go. It also said that it is very popular among foreign tourists.
As I got off from the bus, I hailed a tricycle and asked the tricycle driver to take me to Bay's Inn at Barangay Sabang. The ride was more or less 10 minutes from the bus station. The tricycle fare costs P20 ($0.46).
When I got to Bay's Inn, I asked for an air-conditioned room but they are fully booked that day. There is only a fan room available. Tired that I was, I agreed. I paid P950 ($22.00) for the room. As I got in, I saw a wall fan, a twin bed and a small table and a chair. The room was a bit dark. There is a sink before entering the bathroom. The tiles of the sink are broken and needs to be repaired. There are ants crawling on the wall beside the sink. The ceiling has drippings and needs a paint job . The bathroom window doesn't have a curtain and or enclosure and I have to ask the staff to cover it with a newspaper. After 20 minutes, I went out to ask the staff if I could get a money back because I don't want to stay at a run down room. Courteous as the staff were, they turned me down and said that I had to forfeit what I paid. So, I just stayed I figured it couldn't be that bad.
I wast out most of the time by the beach taking pictures of the sea and the surfers then I stayed by the inn's restaurant for some drink. The inn's restaurant serves good and reasonably priced food and beverages. A lunch meal only costs P180 ($4.17). The beef soup (Bulalo) is really good.
I also went to town to buy some toiletries at the Mercury Drug Store and get a cellphone load. The people of Baler are friendly, honest and helpful.
For dinner I had a sizzling steak and nido soup. It was sumptuous. I paid P200 ($4.63) for it.
Since the room had no radio or TV, I tried to sleep at around 10 p.m. but I couldn't because there were insects crawling on my arms and one bit me at my back. I don't know what it were bed bugs or what. The insect bite at my back was big and hard and it took a few days for it to subside. I didn't know what to do. I tried to sit and smoke cigarettes hoping the insects would be turned away by the smoke.
I finally slept but by 1:30 a.m. I was awakened by the heat. The wall fan can only reach my legs so from waist up, I was sweating. I tried to sleep again. By 4:30 a.m. I was up. It was good that the inn's restaurant is 24 hours open. I could hear the big waves. It was raining at that time. The town of Baler was put under the Tsunami list last March after what happened in Japan since it is off the Pacific Ocean. Anyway, the restaurant server gave me a free instant coffee and asked me what breakfast I wanted to eat. I asked for beef tapa, with fried egg and sinangag (filipino fried rice). It was good. The breakfast is served free if you are staying at the inn.
My overall, experience with the town of Baler, Aurora was good except for the room I stayed in. Next time, I will go around the place to look for new resorts and hotels that offers better ameneties.