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Thursday, August 6, 2015

SECRET SPOT Baler: In the Quiter Side of Sabang Beach #Baler2015 #BalerSurfing

People notice that I have been featuring budget accommodations lately. It makes sense because after trying expensive hotels, you get a sense that you are wasting money on them plus they give the same feel. But hostels are different. The socialization you get from them talking to different travels from different backgrounds and counties is something. I can't wait to feature Circle Hostel in Zambales soon but first another budget accommodation in Baler. If you are looking for one then hope this blog can help you decide.

But First, here is a comprehensive Travel Guide I wrote about Baler back then:

I mentioned Circle Hostel because I found out during our stay in Circle Zambales that they already have a branch in Baler. In 2012, we stayed in KL Javers Homestay.

It took a while before I returned here. Three years to be exact. I love Baler and for all its attractions but I also remember the haggard commute so it was off my list for a while as a weekend getaway. Until last April. This time, we took Genesis Joybus for a non-stop commute of 5.5 hours. Not bad because Joybus is really comfortable with a little price difference.

JoyBus (Deluxe) 
Cubao Quezon City, Metro Manila >>>>Baler, Aurora  

On their Facebook page, it says, "Secret Spot is not a hotel. It is a family home and we welcome travelers who come our way. It is located at the eastern most side of Sabang Beach, Baler near the river".
Found this place in  a blog: http://adventuresofpaupau.blogspot.com/2014/01/surfing-in-baler-secret-spot.html. I was suddenly interested.

(Nightly rates for double occupancy)

Fan hut Php 1,500
Aircon hut Php 2,500
Surfer's hut (shared space) Maximum of 10 pax
Hammock Php 250 per person
Mattress Php 300 per person

Please text or call Tita Rose at +63 928 453 1777 
for availability and long term rates between 6am to 9pm only.

In one of the blogs I read, one was complaining about the poor service they had at Secret Spot from the caretaker at that time. We didn't experience that because Tita Rose, the owner herself was the one at the place during our stay. I am not sure if she is hands on at the place for good but I was surprised at how "people person" Tita Rose really is. She was easy to talk to. The room where we stayed (Fan Hut) was supposed to be 1,000 pesos but I even haggled for 800 pesos and she agreed with a smile. The published rate is actually 1,500 pesos per night because it was summer peak season but a powerful storm was approaching at that time and was expected to make a landfall just North of Baler so many people cancelled their trip. 

We were lucky because we got to stay at a discounted price and the storm changed direction so we were able to do what we came here for ---visit Ditumabo Falls and of course, surf!


We stayed in a Fan Hut which is good for 2 pax. As the name implies, it is a fan room with basic mattress, a few small pillows and a blanket. Basic comfort. That's all. It's a good deviation from a usual accommodation though as it provides a unique next-to-the-beach-stay experience. One can hear the waves loudly at night when the whole place is quiet. It could be torturing at first but later on became music to the ears of a physically weary traveler. We were a bit worried that the waves could grow so big and reach the hut should the storm hit but it didn't happen. There are two common restrooms at Secret Spot. Quite decent although I find them a bit dirty at times.

We arrived past lunch so we had a quick meal at Jerry Shan's before starting with our activities for the day. By the way, they already have a branch along Sabang Beach just a few blocks from Secret Spot so we were so stuffed. Jerry Shan's Place still has the best buffet in Baler given that food is good, there are lots of choices on the buffet table ---all for only 199 pesos including drinks. We had dinner at Baler Surfer Grill that night and we paid almost the same price for only one kind of food that I don't find exceptional. Ma-aura lang yung place. haha

Read: GERRY SHAN'S PLACE: eat-all-you can buffet in Baler

Ditumabo Falls
Speaking of Ditumabo Falls a.k.a Mother Falls, I noticed a few changes there. Our tricycle driver spoke of the ordeal of his guests the weekend prior to our visit saying they started the ascend from the main road to the set-off point at 8am and they arrived at their destination at 11:30am. That's 3.5 hours for a distance of around 3kms. The reason, small road and a heavy inflow of tourists. Our ascend was continuous and we were at the jump off in a few minutes. That weekend we were lucky because of the cancellations due to the weather advisory but the parking lot near the base of the falls was still full of tricycles. That's how popular Ditumabo Falls has become. And when we reach the falls, there were so many people there that I decided not to take a dip and simply appreciate its giant drop instead. Bamboo bridges were also put up by locals in three areas where one has to cross the river to follow the trail.


This has made the hike easier but a lot less exciting. I remember navigating the rocks and the cool water on our first visit here so we decided to hit the river at one point instead of taking the bridge. 
before (2012)
very crowded during summer

There are also many food stalls already in place especially immediately after registration area. They sell simple snacks and refreshments like halo-halo, hotdogs on sticks and simple meals like silog. The giant balete tree we skipped. We headed back to town to do surfing with the assumption that if the storm hits the next day, it will be virtually impossible to surf. We arrived 5pm in Secret Spot and immediately went on with surfing.

Surfing in Baler
We decided to just rent surfboards for 200php each instead of hiring a surfing instructor for 300php per pax per hour since we were not first-timers. The questioned immediately asked to me was "so you already know the basics?". I instantly said "yes" with lots of confidence. We hit the waves instantly and I think the person who rented out the boards were thinking "I thought these guys know how to surf". Hahahahaha. It was still a struggle. Was it because it has been three years since or maybe because surfing is a skill that is not easy to acquire for most. I surely remember what I was taught last time. But standing on the board and holding it for a few seconds was still a struggle..more practice needed.
I didn't give up and I maximized the whole hour to do it and I finally got to stand a couple time but only for a three seconds the most. If there is one thing I learned, I got to master how to pull the surfboard when toppled by big waves. I figured out it's way easier to hold on the rope of the board and let it float behind you when a big wave is approaching and you are not yet ready and too close to the shore. I also got to feel the sea more. In one instance, I stayed out very far from the shoreline side by side other seasoned surfers waiting for the perfect swell. On top of my board I got to distinguish what a good wave is based on the sound of it. It helps that you are good at paddling and you have to do so before the swell approach so as to have an initial acceleration. I struggled for that. And tje challenge for me really is how to properly push my body up the board and have that perfect balance. More practice needed. Till next time. ^^
that's not me ok? how I wish.haha!

-MANUEL L. QUEZON Presidential Car in Baler
-how to commute to BALER AURORA

SECRET SPOT Baler is located in
Beachfront, T. Molina St., Sabang Beach, 3200 Baler, Aurora
+63 928 453 1777
Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretspotbaler


  1. Aba aba Sumisekret spot! wow naman ang pagkain at nakakamiss ang pinas! tatanungin ko sana kung ikaw ang nag surf, naka caption na pla. :D

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