Joining the Baler trip was one of the most spontaneous decisions I made in my entire life. After I got my money, I immediately booked a round trip flight courtesy of Philippine Airlines and AirPhil Express. I am aware that I lived a thousand kilometers from Baler, but I am confident that the town won't disappoint me.
And Baler didn't. It didn't.
REALLY. It did NOT disappoint me.
Like what I've said in my previous post, the seven-hour journey to Baler, Aurora from Manila was not a joke. Together with my seven travel buddies, we boarded an airconditioned bus at Five Star Bus Terminal at Cubao, Quezon City. Despite the lack of sleep, I found it hard to visit dreamland; prolly due to excitement. Since, there were no non-stop trips to Baler during that time, we had no choice but to alight at Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, a three and a half hour ride from Cubao. From Cabanatuan, we'll take a bus or van to Baler, Aurora; another three-hour journey.
|The Php 17 breakfast meal. Nomnomnom!|
|At the back of the bus. Haggard all over!|
It was almost four in the morning when we arrived at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Vans weren't available until sunrise, thus we had no choice but to ride an elbow bus (non-airconditioned bus; the type of bus that you always see in Pinoy teleseryes. It's the bus na laging sinasakyan ng mga bida kung luluuwas sila sa malalayong probinsya). LOL, kung maka-imagine, WAGAS! But you probably get my point, right?
Anyway, after eating a 17-peso arroz caldo meal at the bus station, we went inside the bus and it literally flew all the way to Baler.
The ride was pretty stressful. I tried to sleep but I can't. All of us had a hard time of finding the most comfortable spot. I took me three hours to find a perfect position. When I finally figured out the most comfortable position, nasa Baler bus station na pala kami. Ugh.
FAST FORWARD PLEASE. Kriiiiiiiiiiiiiik.
We have finally arrived at Pacific Waves, our home in Baler for two days and one night! Our temporary abode comes with a free wi-fi connection (it was pretty fast), three queen-sized beds and a hot and cold shower. Plus, the room's airconditioned.
After freshening up, we hired three tricycles for our day tour in Baler and its nearby municipalities. We paid 300+ per head, all thanks to our haggling skills.
Now, tricycle adventure begins here.
Historical Stop: The ancestral houses of Dona Aurora and President Manuel
The first stop of our tricycle adventure was Quezon Park. This is the place where the former Commonwealth President's house once stood. A marker was placed at the center of the park bearing a short life account of the late President Manuel Luis Quezon.
Museo de Baler is located within the park and is the Display Center of the Arts and Culture of the Balerianos. Unlike any other museums, Museo de Baler doesn't require its guests to pay a certain amount of fee. It's up for the visitor if he will donate some cash for the museum. And oh, picture taking is allowed inside the museum.
Although, if your least favorite subject back in grade school is Civics and Culture, then this place is not for you. But if you take a closer look with the musuem's artifacts and exhibits, you'll realize that Baler is a rich municipality in terms of culture and history.
|Pasok sa banga! Pak!|
|Some butterfly species of Baler, Aurora|
After invading Quezon's pad, we paid a visit to his wifey's crib. Not surprisingly, Dona Aurora's house is just a few blocks away from Museo de Baler. Her house is located on a corner lot and is just right in front of Baler Church.
Like Museo de Baler, visitors are not required to pay an entrance fee. Again, it is up for the visitor if he will give a few moolahs to the caretakers or not. What's cool about Aurora's house was its interior and exterior design. It is made up of wood with nipa roofs and wooden fences. It actually resembles to a 'bahay kubo' with huge concrete stilts making it elevated from the ground.
|The interior. SO CLEAN!|
The interior of the house was adorned with artifacts and other vintage stuff, most of them were Aurora's property except for the complete drum set located in one of the rooms of the house. I found it weird and the drums seemed to be out-of-place. LOL
Despite the house's age, the interior seemed new. Everything's polished and clean and the house smelled new. Props to the caretakers of this house!
Walking along Baler's history trail was pretty interesting. Balerianos truly value their town's humble beginnings.
After feeding our brain with important information and interesting trivia about Baler, we went back to our respective tricycles and headed out for lunch.