10 Things I Love About Baler by Jovanne Lagman

  1. SURF! One of Baler’s famous surf spots, Sabang beach, is not the only place to catch good waves. There are also clean, barreling waves like Cemento for skilled surfers who ride shortboards, and nice, small peelers like Secret Spot or Rivermouth for surfers who enjoy long rides on longboards.

Jovanne Lagman enjoying the waves of Baler. Photo by Calix Enggay

 

  1. LOCALS. The friendliest, most energetic company that’s needed to keep a trip stoked! Locals of Baler are more than willing to entertain guests at any time to enjoy Baler to the fullest.

 

  1. FOOD. Start the day with a plate of Tapsilog in El Teodoro, and have some peanut butter flavored coffee at Ground Swell after. On a tight budget? Enjoy lunch or dinner at the famous Rolling Store with fresh home cooked meals. Baler is also covered with fresh grilled seafood and ensaladang pako on any of the food establishments around.
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There are so many food choices in Baler!

 

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  1. LOCATION. The best sunrise view happens on the east side. Wake up early morning to catch it, and appreciate the sun’s rays filling the ocean bed, turning it into a mix of warm, soft colours of reds, oranges, and violets.
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Waking up to catch the sunrise is always worth it in Baler. Photo taken at Aliya Surf Camp.

 

  1. ENVIRONMENT. Unlike other populated beaches in the Philippines, Baler has always kept their surroundings clean. Not to mention, even the roads to other surf spots is a rough way just to keep it natural and untouched. The countless beautiful coconut trees, clean river paths, and different kinds of colorful flowers seen along the way are what Baler has best.

Surfistas Elaine Abonal and Jovanne look like dwarves next to the wide expanse of gigantic coconut trees! We are in paradise!

  1. SCENERY. A photographer can easily capture a picturesque view of what defines Baler. Appreciate the view of the horizon along Sabang, explore on other beaches like Dicasalarin, or watch the best sunset view over at the Ermita Hill.

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  1. GOOD COMPANY. Travelling alone? Meeting new people along the way will save the trip’s worth! See the famous Balete Tree (also known as the Millenium Tree) or trek through to the Mother Falls together.

There are so many waterfalls to choose from and what better way to spend time with your friends than exploring nature with them! Here are Surfistas enjoying the cool waterfalls after a short hike and their surf lessons.

 

  1. THE TOWN. Also known as their “bayan,” it has everything needed fit for Baler’s lifestyle. The town not only has the market, food establishments and other services, it also has some historical background on its architecture and urban design, as well as their museum called Museo de Baler that stores different artifacts from ancient civilizations.

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  1. NIGHT LIFE. This is not the city nightlife of unlimited booze and hyped music. The setting of Baler at night would either be acoustic sessions or videoke machines in bars, or a few bonfires with groups gathered around it along the stretch of Sabang beach.

10. BOATS. Explore Baler in a different way! There are a number of boats that can be used for touring all day. Wanderers will find coves, islands, reefs, and even historical landmarks that can only be seen from the sea. For surfers, this is also an easier way to check out surf spots along the coast.

 

Jovanne started as a Surfista and now has her own beautiful longboard and goes on surf trips on her own. We couldn’t be more proud of our Surfista girl!

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April 2014 Surfista Trip to Baler Video Highlights

Check out this video of Surfista Jonathan Lanuzga of our trip to BALER last month! It’s always awesome to see our Surfistas happy!

He documented the whole trip – from our van ride, to his surf lessons, while staying at the Aliya Surf Resort, on our hike to the waterfalls and to the biggest Balete tree in Asia, and hanging out with his new Surfista friends. Check it out!

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PRE SURF TRIP FALLACIES – WHY SURF?

by Elaine Abonal

The FIRST time I ever went surfing in La Union in 2002 – and yup, I was the only chick!

         You’ve always wanted to learn how to surf and watching those movies or photos of those carefree-always-happy-ocean-lovers has once made you say, “Someday I’m going to try that. I’m gonna surf.” So why haven’t you? What is stopping YOU from going on that first surf trip, first surf ride or first surf experience?

          You may say you’re shy, scared, or are just hesitant to try it. I get it. I was in your position once upon a time but after a lot of surf trips, wipe outs and islands visited, I guess I could say I’ve learned a thing or two about the truths and fallacies when it comes to this whole world of surfing. Here are some statements – mostly fallacies – broken down and explained to tell you what it’s REALLY like – and hopefully will give you a better picture and make you actually GET OUT THERE and SURF with us!

SURF FALLACIES:

1.      I need to have 6 pack abs, beautiful tanned skin and sun-kissed golden hair before I can start surfing.

 NO you don’t. You don’t HAVE TO be anything but YOURSELF. There is no weight, body type nor age requirement before you could start surfing. The beauty in surfing is that you get to meet so many DIFFERENT kinds of people from all over the world in ALL shapes, sizes, colors, styles, nationalities and ages. All you really need is a positive attitude, good vibes and a hunger to learn.

Bikini bodies and six-pack abs – don’t worry those are just photoshopped! ;) Haha

 But I have to say – because surfing is really good exercise for your body and you ARE exposed to a beautiful amount of sunshine, you may eventually end up being more fit, ending up with sun-kissed hair and skin and looking and feeling better both on the inside and out. Just BE YOURSELF and have fun! I heard the happier and more fun you’re having, the HOTTER you actually end up being!! ;)

SURFERS come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, colors and ages. Don’t let the physical stuff prevent you from living your dream!

 2.      Surfers are scary and cliquish!

 Yup, surfers bite. Haha kidding, it MAY seem that way in the beginning. Because of all the time surfers spend together in AND out of the water,  we end up becoming really good friends.  That should ENCOURAGE you because you know that you’ll be making a new set of buddies (even a crush or a boyfriend / girlfriend oooh la la!! ;) once you start surfing or join a Surfista group.

Anni from Thailand, Michaela from USA, Kage & me from the Philippines & Philippa from Australia / South Africa – a mix of girls turned friends during a surf event in Siargao. We didn’t care if we were competitors, pros or contest coordinators – we were just surf chicks united by our love for the ocean :)

 You’ll see – once you’ve laughed about each other’s wipeouts, accidental wardrobe malfunction anecdotes, and shared more than a couple of hours in a van, plane or boat together, you’ll be forging bonds and making new sets of friends. Plus, being in a Surfista group feels like being in a family or a barkada each time. Ask the past Surfistas! ;)

 3.      I’ve never tried a sport before.

 Well then, NOW is the perfect time to start! Remember, surfing isn’t just a sport. It’s a LIFESTYLE. It’s the road trip, hanging out with friends, getting in the water, sharing stories on the beach with a beer or two and doing that every single time you go on a trip. It’s not just a “scary” sport, it’s also a FUN and life-changing (should we say enhancing?) lifestyle!

Time to get fit!! Stretching during before surf lessons during a Surfista tour in La Union.

Surfing can be tiring and requires a lot of energy. It helps a lot to be fit and to be a good swimmer especially when you’re taking on the big waves. But if we’re talking about just TRYING it and getting started, then I promise that it won’t feel like those boring treadmill walks at the gym. Standing up for the first few times and riding your own waves is going to be SO MUCH fun, you’ll forget about the jelly arms that you’ll feel at night.

John’s first time to go surfing – he was a longboarder on the street and now on the water too!

 4.      There are sharks and monsters in the water.

 There ARE creatures in the ocean (besides that freaky guy who keeps dropping in on you or staring at your bikini bottom). Remember, WE are the ones who borrowing water space from other ocean creatures so we should respect them. Being in the water a lot exposes you to Mother Nature and it’s a beautiful thing! There’s nothing more peaceful than seeing fish, sea turtles, dolphins, birds and even butterflies (yep I have proof!) out there while you’re on your board.

Nasty jellyfish… I’ve been stung and it HURT. Be careful! Didn’t stop me from surfing though ;)

There are NO recorded shark attacks in the Philippines (that I know of!!) and we don’t have Great White Sharks like in other colder countries. There ARE definitely jellyfish, nikniks, sea urchins, etc. once in a while – some that sting a bit, some that sting a LOT, so it’s best be aware of the conditions and always ask the locals what’s out there. Nothing someone’s pee can’t handle. (Just kidding.)

 It’s normal – we have to deal with these things as surfers!

 5.      I’m going to look stupid and look like a beginner!

OF COURSE you’re going to look like a beginner because you ARE one! Everyone starts somewhere and there’s no shame in that. It’s actually the most exciting part because you’ll be going from having no surf experience at all to riding waves in no time. And who cares about you looking stupid? The best surfers are the ones having the biggest smiles and having the most fun!

Best look!? Big smile!

Everyone starts as a beginner. This is Maddy getting pointers in Baler. There’s something new to learn in every surf session.

Surfista Roma claiming her wave!! Doesn’t matter how big or small those waves are – as long as you’re having FUN!

Those graceful and kickass photos you see of surfers from all over the country and the world are just a split second glance of what they really look like out in the water. Our hair gets all over our faces, our tongues are out when we paddle for a wave, our wipeouts are hilarious – and that’s what makes it all fun!

  6.      I have no time, no money and no permission from my parents.

I believe that if there’s a WILL, there’s always a WAY. If there’s something you REALLY want to do in this life, you’ll work harder to earn that extra cash so you can do it. When I will still studying in university, I saved allowance money and studied for my Philosophy classes at the beach  just so I could surf as much as I wanted to. And not only did I pass, I aced those tests if you were wondering. Must’ve been all the adrenaline and stoke in my brain! And as for parents (which is a common concern I get from students) – well why don’t you bring your mom and dad with you on a surf trip and see how happy it makes you and how fun it actually is? That’s what I did with my family and as soon as they saw that it was a beautiful surf world and my Surf Camp family kept me safe, they were less worried. Who knows? Your mom or dad might even want to try it!

Check out the Thomas family from France surfing together during a private Surfista tour to La Union. A family that surfs together stays together, they say! ;)

 7.      The water is cold and I need a wetsuit. 

Are you sure you’re in the beautiful warm tropical archipelago called the PHILIPPINES? ;) 

We are sooooooo LUCKY and BLESSED to be live in this beautiful country!! Get out there and explore it, please!

8.      I need to be with my entire group of friends or family. 

No, you don’t. The only thing you need to start surfing is the ocean, waves, a surfboard and your COURAGEOUS SELF. Not everyone wants to try the same thing or people have conflicting schedules. Fortunately for you, groups were created like SURFISTA TRAVELS PHILIPPINES so that you can try surfing with other lone travellers/adventurers so that you can still be independent but have fun with other people. The surf barkadas (group of friends in Tagalog) you see on Facebook are actually composed of different individuals united by their new love – surfing! You’ll make your own new surf family (I love mine a lot – and it keeps growing) soon enough.

One of the most memorable Surfista groups because these Surfistas stayed friends and now go on their own surf trips. They’ve formed their own little surf family and that makes me totally happy :)

 9.      I have no way to do it and nobody is going to help me!

 What are you talking about!? This is why I started Surfista Travels Philippines!!

SURFISTA TRAVELS PHILIPPINES offers surf tour groups and packages which include transportation, accommodation, surf lessons, and board rentals. It is perfect for people who live in Manila who would like to get away and try something new for the weekend or for tourists who want to explore and see the Philippines in a different way! We work with the best surf resorts and surf schools so that you will have the most amazing experience.

We make the surf lifestyle EASY, FUN and CONVENIENT for YOU at Surfista Travels. :) Ask the past Surfistas!

 So what are you waiting for? Get rid of your doubts, let your experience speak for itself and just HAVE FUN, make new friends, explore the Philippines and SURF with us. If you have other questions or concerns, you may check out our FAQ page or e-mail me at surfistatravels@yahoo.com.

GET OUT THERE AND SURF!!! :)

JOIN US ON OUR FUTURE SURFISTA TRIPS! Check out our TOURS & PACKAGES.

http://www.surfistatravels.com 

 surfistatravels@yahoo.com

http://www.facebook.com/SurfistaTravels

twitter: @SurfistaTravels     instagram: @SurfistaTravels

SURFISTA ETIQUETTE – Be a Responsible Surfista!

 

There are rules and etiquette for everything – including SURFING. Surfing is a fun sport, but also an extreme one and can be quite dangerous. You have to remember as Surfistas that you are not always alone out there in the water (unless you’re super lucky!) Surfing is getting more popular in the Philippines and around the world and it’s best that we know what we are doing out there. Accidents and mishaps can be avoided by just knowing AND following a few simple rules.

We’ve taken these images from the internet and take no credit for them whatsoever. We think they’re posted out there to be shared. So feel free to share any of these photos or this post. Who knows? You could be saving someone else’s – even yours.

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Surf etiquette

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Please be responsible SURFISTAS out there and make us proud to call you one! Feel free to SHARE this!

JOIN US ON OUR FUTURE SURFISTA TRIPS! Check out our TOURS & PACKAGES.

http://www.surfistatravels.com 

 surfistatravels@yahoo.com

http://www.facebook.com/SurfistaTravels

twitter: @SurfistaTravels     instagram: @SurfistaTravels

 

March 2013 Surfista Trip to Baler Highlights

 

CONGRATULATIONS to the Surfistas during our trip to BALER, Aurora last March 22 – 24, 2013. It was a rainy weekend but we still managed to have fun with an awesome group of people AND we were blessed with beautiful peeling waves and sunshine on our last day. Awesomeness. It was amazing to meet you all! Until the next Surfista trip!

Here are some photo higlights!

Happy group (as you can tell with our smiles) photo for our Surfistas to Baler last March 22 – 24, 2013! :)

We soaked up a little bit of culture by going to the Baler Museum for the rainy weekend.

With our awesome videographer Marc from Canadia and JK when we rented ATV’s to drive on the beach :)

Marc Labrie from Canada was awesome enough to offer his services and help spread the Surfista love!

Francis Arellano surfing!! Yewwww! Good job dude!

Rusty Jorbina flew in all the way from Cebu just to join our trip to Baler! Sweet!

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Loyal Surfista Frances on her 4th Surfista trip!! We’ll make sure she waxes her own board next time ;)

They key to surfing is to keep on doing it! Proud of these Surfista chicks carrying their own boards and smiling while they’re at it!

Arthur from CHINA was a man of few words but we heard that he had such a great time! He’s also joining us for our Surfista trip to Siargao! ;)

CONGRATULATIONS SURFISTAS!!!!
Baler, March 2013

We adopted an American and another Canadian during the trip and was helping spread the Surfista love around the world!

Aliya Surf Camp in Baler with our sponsors’ banners

We were so thankful that the sun came out on our last day. It was the BEST surf session for Surfista to date! It pays to wake up at 6 AM!

Surfista looking schnazzy before their surf lessons and sessions with their Hurley – Surfista rashguards

Beautiful Surfista chicks looking classy with their rashguards!

JOIN US ON OUR FUTURE SURFISTA TRIPS! Check out our TOURS & PACKAGES.

http://www.surfistatravels.com 

 surfistatravels@yahoo.com

http://www.facebook.com/SurfistaTravels

twitter: @SurfistaTravels     instagram: @SurfistaTravels

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