Baler is the capital of the province of Aurora, in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. It is mostly known for being the shooting location of the famous surfing scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” and “Charlie don’t surf!” are 2 lines that may sound familiar, especially if you are a film buff. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore played by Robert Duval said these lines at Charlie’s Point, now one of the most accessible and popular surf spots in the area. But if you are an avid surfer, or just want to give it a try, know that this is only the beginning of what Baler has to offer.
Located a, roughly, 7 hour ride from Manila (it took us 12 hours from Santa Ana, Cagayan), Baler is not only ther birthplace of the Philippines Surf scene, but also home to some beautiful white sand beaches and waterfalls.
Digisit, Ditumabo, Cunayan and Paltic falls are all within a reasonable distance and are a must if you wish to combine a little hiking with a little dip in fresh water.
Head over to Dinadiawan or down to Dicasalarin Cove if you want to avoid the crowds and relax on a white sand beach sorounded by beautiful coconut trees.
Baler is also motorcycling paradise. Its twisting roads are fairly quiet and there isn’t much traffic outside the town propper. The ride will reward you with great sea views and coconut trees, beautiful muntains and rivers. Road conditions are good, but watch out for certain sections where the pavement disappears and the roasd becomes a dirt track.
If you are looking for a place to stay, we really like Kahanamoku Bed & Breakfast, which is super clean, well decorated and has very tasty and healthy breakfast options which you need to order before 5pm the previous day. Even though this place does not have T.V. or wifi, it is one of our favourite lodging options in the Philippines. It is also the home of Salty Dog Customs and also offer yoga classes and retreats. If you are in Baler for surfing, Cemento beach and Cobra Reef are literally across the road.
While some claim to be able to surf all year round, surf season in Baler runs from September to March, having best waves from December to February. Do check out Sabang Beach, Charlie’s Point, Lindy’s Point and Cobra Reef in Cemento Beach if you want to catch some waves. Charlie Does is the perfect all in one stop iuf you are hungry, need a board and even if you need some lessons before jumping in the water.