A Walking Tour of Baler’s Countryside

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My trip into this beautiful seaside town north of the Philippines continues with a trip down the wonderful natural resources the province has to offer. Our second day included many of the rich sites that draws a lot of backpackers and tourists to the beautiful town, I also got the chance to see wonderful vistas of the town itself and its surrounding areas. It was a breathtaking and memorable trip.

*for the purpose of safety, security and confidentiality, I have not included any pictures with my students’ face.

Mother Falls

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Trees provided much of the respite from the heat of the sun
I am not really much of a hiking person, I seem to have lost the art of walking along trails as I got bigger and bigger. But despite my growing belly I still manage to amaze myself by taking long walks and hikes whenever I am out of town. The last one was back in 2013 when I took a trip to Sagada with some of my officemates, last Friday, was my first hike since that last excursion.

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Greens, blues and whites are the colors of the day
Our tour started bright and early, energized by the great breakfast at Aliya, we made our way to our first stop at the Dimatubo Falls or also known as the Mother Falls. Based on what I’ve heard, the trek was only supposed to take around 30 minutes, but after the first 30 minutes and many stops later, I knew that our group would reach the falls an hour and a half later.

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Man-made and naturally-made
Along the way I got to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful sun casting wonderful rays of light among the coconuts and the lush greenery everywhere. Besides the greenery, I took stock of the blissfully sounding waters crashing against the rocks and took careful note of every step as my students, their parents and I waded across clear rivers. The beauty of every meter conquered was not lost as I basked in the immensity of some of the hills and mountains that entered my view. It was really humbling to see nature up close and personal.

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Trekking off into beauty
With buckets of sweat pouring down and the heat of the sun bearing down on us, the trip started taking its toll. Much of the novelty and the near-fairy tale like quality of our trek was now lost, there was the usual clamor and the quintessentially annoying travel question of “Are we there yet?”. Despite that, the sweet taste of buko juice and refreshing dips of our feet in the water propelled us to go further. Nearing the end of our trek, all our sweat was taken away from us, as we climbed up and walking along the pipes heading into the fall itself. The air was cool and the continuous rush of the river flowed underneath us as butterflies flitted to and fro. These insects danced around us, in a scene reminiscent of many of the Disney movies.

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The immense power of Mother Falls makes it a sight and a beauty
At the end of the road was a beautiful sight to behold, 20 feet high with water crashing down with such immensity was Mother Falls. Beautiful and majestic, the view deck where we were standing on did it no justice. What I wanted was to swim close by and feel the cold of the water and the power of the falls itself. It was really a beautiful sight, with sprays of water cooling our tired bodies and a rainbow of colors to make the scene even more picturesque. This was one of the few moments that made all of the trekking and sweating worth it and worthwhile.

Ermita Hill

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Panoramic view of the Philippine sea
With much of the day spent trekking to get to Mother Falls, it was time for us to say good bye to the beautiful seaside town of Baler. But just before we left, we couldn’t leave without seeing the municipality in all its glory. Driving for about 20 minutes or so, we arrived at the second to the last stop before we left, which was Ermita Hill. In this hill, its significance was made even more evident to us, back in the 1700’s a tsunami struck this seaside town causing massive damage and wiping out most of the community. However eight families were able to survive the massive damage by climbing up this hill.

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One of eight gazebos
The hill pays homage to this significant event, at the same time, it also pays homage to the province of Aurora with the construction of eight gazebos representing the eight municipalities of the province. Apart from serving as a refuge during the tsunami, it was also a place where many residents took shelter when Morong pirates raided the coast of the town, it was also where many Filipinos hid when the Spaniards and, later on, the Japanese would siege this town.
The adventure of going through different places in Baler was truly a great way to explore this beautiful town. Its stunning vistas were visually arresting and the lively colors certainly made the trip even more memorable. I was really happy that the weather cooperated and gave us a chance to see and feel Baler in all its glory.
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