Baler Surfing Trip – How to go to Baler and surf at Sabang Beach
My first baler surfing trip happened late last year. A friend of mine was going to baler to surf with his office mates and he asked me if I wanted to come. I was on a break from law school back then and I had a lot of time so naturally I said yes. Little did I know that the trip would introduce me to one of the new loves of my life, surfing.
Before this I had never tried a board sport other than maybe wake boarding. But that was only for one day (one afternoon to be accurate) and I wasn’t really even able to stand up hehe. So despite my excitement, I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be for me to learn how to stand on the board given that this was probably going to be a bit harder. Balance development wasn’t really my thing back then to be honest. I was able to stand though and it was one of the greatest feelings ever. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me tell the story from the beginning.
UPDATE: Just went back to baler and wrote a new post about some changes over there at Sabang beach. You’ll also find more up to date pictures of the place in my new post. Here’s a link to it: http://thefitpinoy.com/aurora-baler-is-looking-better/.
How to go to Baler
Personally I prefer the packaged trip method but I have commuted with my friends to and from Baler so you can go do that if you want the experience or if your budget is a little tight. Let’s start with the easy way to get to Baler.
Istokwa Surf Tours method :).
During my first trip, my friend had already made a deal with a baler trip planner so that all the details for the trip would be taken care off. So we rode a Van all the way to Sabang Beach, Baler.
We met at around 9 or 10 pm, Friday night in one of the Gas stations in Makati and left I think at around 11 or 12. We arrived at Sabang Beach at around 5:30 – 6:00 AM the next day, Saturday.
Packaged trips are normally scheduled on the weekends. You leave Friday night and get there Saturday Morning. The package is 2 days one night, so you get to come back before Monday. The Van normally leaves after Lunch on Sunday and arrives in Manila 7 or 8 depending on how many stops you had.
What comes with the Package?
- 2 free breakfast meals
- Back and Fort Van or Coaster ride
- Room good for 2 days and one night
- 2 hours of free surfing lessons at Mahdox
- Travel Insurance
- and a mini tour of Baler before you leave
Full rate is 3K but it’s 2,300 without the surfing lessons.
If you’re interested in the package you can get in touch with Bart at Istokwa Surf Tours through their Face Book Page:
Just send them a message to let them know you’re interested. Me and my friends usually go with Bart’s package because it’s a lot less hassle and nobody among us wants to drive all the way to Baler lol.
How to commute to Baler – for the budget conscious
There was one time though that we didn’t want to go to Baler on a weekend so we couldn’t go with the Package trip. We researched how to commute there and it’s surprisingly easy (conceptually at least).
The only Bus I know of that goes to Baler, Aurora is Genesis. Here’s a link to their site: http://www.genesistransport.com.ph. You can find their number, address, and schedule on their site.
I think, again “think”, that they still don’t do advance bookings. You have to go to EDSA and buy your ticket at the terminal before you board. We only did this once so I can’t be sure if the policy has changed.
Be sure that you go to the terminal early and buy your tickets early because you can never be too safe with these types of transports. Wait at the terminal if you have to, but it’s better to have your seats reserved rather than risk not being able to leave on time.
Trip lasts for about 6 to 7 hours and ticket is around 400 pesos (I’m not exactly sure, but it’s in that range at least).
I have read about a new bus from Genesis though called the Joy bus which is kinda like the executive type bus things that go to Baguio. It’s supposed to be a nice Bus that goes to Baler, non-stop. There’s a CR inside the bus and the fare is around 650 I think. So yeah, kinda like the Baguio one. It has AC as well.
The buses will bring you to the Terminal in Baler and from there just take a trike to Sabang.
On you’re way back to Manila, just take a trike again to the same Terminal and ride a Genesis Bus back.
Surfing Lessons in Baler 🙂
Once you get to Sabang, eat breakfast and hit the waves immediately. I’m normally up the whole trip, but despite my lack of sleep I always go for an hour or two of baler surfing first before I hit the sack. I traveled 6 hours to get there, so I’m going to jump in the moment I do.
If it’s your first time then you can sign up for surfing lessons at Mahdox Surf Shop. It’s just a little ways off from where your Van will park if you went with the Package.
Again if you went with the package you should have an hour or two of free lessons. Otherwise you’ll have to pay 350 pesos per hour. That’s a one on one lesson with a trainer and of course, the board rent is included.
Here’s me and my friends taking our first lesson.
And here’s me all giddy 🙂
The surfing lessons are really good actually and the trainers are nice. They’re a bit young, around 14-18 years of age usually so they’re cool to talk to about pretty much anything. They know what they’re doing though so be sure to ask them questions if you have any.
The lessons normally start with Surf Board parts. They’re gonna teach you what each part does. Then they’ll teach you how to lie down on the board properly so that you don’t lose your balance. Then they’ll teach you how to stand up and how to position yourself so that the board doesn’t flip over. The last thing they’ll teach you is how to paddle because for the first couple of lessons, you’ll mostly be pushed on top of the wave. You’re not gonna paddle yourself until later.
Inuman at the Mahdox Home
The really cool ending to my first Baler Surfing trip was when we got together with the trainers and the husband and wife owners of Mahdox at their place for beer and grandma (I think, I cant remember, could’ve been tanduay). We were lucky enough to be there when both the owners were there so nagpainom sila. The wife is a teacher abroad and the husband is an engineer so they’re not always at the beach. Sadly I don’t have photos of the inuman part :(. I’ll have to get them from my friends I guess.
Anyway, to end this rather long post already I’ll just go with one more vanity pic of me :).
This was my profile picture for the longest time after my first Baler trip hehe.
Thanks for reading this post and leave a comment below if you’ve got questions or some info to share about surfing and/or Baler.
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