Aside from its beautiful coastline and historical importance, Baler was also made popular by its Pacific waves that attract hundreds of surfers during the surfing season. The town has been cited by several entities as one of the “top surf spots” in the Philippines.
So when in Baler, who would pass up on learning how to surf with its killer waves? Well, definitely not us!
At around 7:00 in the morning, we put our rashies on and headed to the beach. Manang Lilia, the very kind lady who hosted our stay, advised us to surf that early as it was during that time of the day when the waves are better and the sun is not yet scorching hot.
She also told us not to take our breakfast yet so we would feel light during our ride (and to keep the surf boards from breaking).
BALER’S SURFING SPOTS
There are several surfing spots in Baler which are suited for different types of surfers.
Cemento Beach and Linda’s Point are preferred by advanced surfers for its bigger swell, i.e., surfer-eating waves. Linda’s Point, according to Surfing Philippines, is a surf spot accidentally created by the local government engineers while working on a flood prevention project. It provides tall, strong and sharp waves. Cemento beach, on the the other hand, is the host of local surfing competitions held annually. Getting to Cemento Beach takes a 45-minute walk or a banca ride.
Most popular among tourists, Sabang Beach provides small to medium size waves making it an easy ride for beginner and novice surfing.
While most of us were first time surfers, we had our Surfing 101 at Charlie’s Point since it was just a five-minute walk from the house we stayed in. Seeing from a distant, Sabang beach happened to be crowded that time and looking for available surfboards/surf instructors might not be that easy if we had it there.
Charlie’s Point is an easy walk from Baler town proper. It is recommended for all types of surfers.
As soon as we arrived at the beach, we were offered surfing lessons by the local instructors from surrounding beach resorts. But there were only three available surfboards when we arrived since the beach was already bursting with surfer-wannabe’s (but not as crowded as Sabang) so we had to wait until the other surfboards become available.
We signed up for an hour of surfing lesson at a rate of P350.00 inclusive of a personal instructor and surfboard rental. The instructors were polite, accommodating and they had been patient to us. For about 5-10 minutes, they would give the basics, then, it’s surf time!
I have tried cable wake boarding which is somewhat a similar sport but I find surfing easier to do. Both sports require balancing skills, but unlike surfing, you can easily fall from the wake board with just a minimal angle of incorrectly bent knees. Maybe it has to do with the size of the board? Since a surfboard is about thrice the size of a wake board. I don’t know, I hate Physics.
I was in the midst of my enjoyment but I was so sick that day so I cut my ride short and just took the all-time favorite pose with none other than, the surfboard!
While Baler is not the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, it prides itself as the “Birthplace of Philippine Surfing”. It was first discovered and surfed by the production crew of the 1979 American film “Apocalypse Now”, who later left their surfboards to the locals giving way to the birth of Philippine Surfing culture.
Surfing in Baler is all year round because of consistent waves, but it is best to surf during the months of October to April.
I thought that an hour of surfing was not enough but I was physically beaten up after a few runs. Or maybe I’m just too tired of the activities during our first day. If you feel like you got addicted to it, you may surf your heart out for the next hours with the following standard rates:
P350 – an hour of surfing inclusive of the lessons and surfboard rental
P150 – Board rental for an hour
You may also rent for 8 hours, but I am not sure how much it would cost.
Surfing schools lined up along Sabang Beach. Beginners flock the beach during summer while advanced and professional surfers have their visit during the “ber” months for surfing season.
Find time to try surfing no matter how tired you feel when visiting Baler for the first time. Being able to stand up against those waves was adrenaline breaking and very rewarding. Justice will be served to your aching limbs for having been seated for long hours of travel before reaching Baler.
And what would be more fulfilling than bringing home a winning photo of you standing on that board?
*Check out more of my travel stories at Pinoy Biyahelogue.