The two joiners, Jo Anne and Francis, who accompanied us in the second half of our first day in Baler insisted on taking a breakfast at the rolling store after hearing that we had a delicious breakfast the day before. They also wanted to try the blue marlin. Unfortunately for them, there were no marlin on the menu when we arrived in the diner. Despite the disappointments, we still had a sumptuous meal – tasting several lutong-bahay dish options. Of course, we did not forget the two kuyas who refused to join us in the table.
Surfing in Baler
After the mini food trip, our tour guides drove us to Aliya Surf Camp & Resort to challenge the wave. That was the group’s first time, except yours truly. I did my surfing lesson when I visited Bagasbas two years ago and I enjoyed it much.
It rained hard accompanied with cold breeze when we reached the beach. When asked who will try surfing, all the girls said no, complaining of body pain, and that made the guys to hesitate. We got there together so we must do it together.
After some push, Francis alone, eventually signed up to play with the waves. For ₱350 per hour, he was able to get surfing lessons including the use of professional surfboard and rash guard and an instructor’s assistance.
Seeing him nearly standing on the board awed the group and watching him being crushed by the waves and hit by the surfboard entertained everybody. Well, Francis, we bet you knew the consequences.
On the other story, three ladies tried to challenge the current of the whitewater. Guess who was left standing and who needed assistance.
Overrunning the Waves of Ampere
We headed to Dipaculao next, the town just north of Baler, and aimed for Barangay Ampere, particularly its bouldery beach and hidden cave. We were delayed a bit when one of the trikes in our “convoy” used up its fuel. Still, we found ways on how to make the waiting exciting.
The beach was stony. The rocks got larger and larger as it gets closer to the the highway. At one end, where even larger boulders nestled, a cave is peacefully hiding.
To get to the cave, we must overrun the giant waves that breaks through it. I attempted to cross but after careful consideration, I knew that I won’t get to cave before any big wave manifests.
We looked for another option and Kuya Micheal, our tour guide-slash-trike driver, enthusiastically showed us the less risky way. Less risky in a sense that we will be overrunning the same huge waves but of shorter distance. Roderick, Teddy, and myself successfully accessed the cave.
We noticed that several sunbirds (Balinsasayao), some makeshift bamboo gaff (panungkit), and dead species. So I made a hypothesis that some individuals frequented the place to harvest the priced balinsasayao nests.
Showered in Caunayan Falls
We then headed to Caunayan falls and bought something for lunch along the way.
Caunayan Falls is located in Brgy. L. Pimentel, San Luis so, technically, we covered three towns (Dipaculao, Baler, and San Luis) on that tour.
We braked when we saw a bamboo road barrier blocking the way to the falls. A local collected ₱60 for every tricycle or vehicle that passes. When we asked what for, they said it is for the entrance. But it wasn’t the actual resorts yet – then, it took me a while to realize that it was a self-imposed right-of-way royalty.
The falls had a separate admission fee of ₱20 per person. We utilized a cottage in the riverbank and paid an additional ₱100 for it.
When we settled, we had our lunch packs distributed evenly in the table and had a boodle fight. We had no other options since we didn’t bring any utensils with us. Did I mention that we enjoyed it more? We also had the kuyas join us.
Caunayan isn’t that stunning compared to Ditumabo Falls but we made the experience even more memorable. Truth is, the place is just a consolation, it is the people you share the experience with that makes the trip extra special.
Well, we had fun dipping to its chilly river. We also sat directly below the waterfall and it was like a pampering water massage. We stayed for a while, enjoying every drops of the falls.
The Kuyas drove as back to the hotel afterwards. They waited outside as we bathed and fixed our belongings. Check-out time was 2PM but we left Amihan Hotel passed 4PM already, and they (the management) cheerfully allowed it.
Jo Anne and Francis made a quick stopover at Museo de Baler since they missed it the day before.
I was a bit disappointed when our contacted van left us. We ended spending extra hours in the terminal, waiting for our ride home. That was pretty inconvenient for Karen who had an early morning duty the following day.
Despite the dismay, the hype wasn’t completely ruined. We enjoyed the trip as a whole.