Drawing no more!

12:00:00 AM

So, Baler - for over a year, I’ve been telling Hannah that I want to go with her there. Since she tried surfing in Siargao, she got hooked and has since become a regular there. Throughout 2016, however, our schedules NEVER matched; on weekends when she and her surfer friends are driving up to Baler, I would either be working or flying out to Dumaguete. 

Right after the New Year of 2017, Hannah jokingly called me and a few others out on Facebook for being “drawing” - that’s Filipino slang for people who always make plans that never happen. It was hilarious! But as they say, jokes are half-meant, so I messaged her to talk about when we could actually go. We agreed on January 14, the day after our friend Ana’s wedding.
Rural driving 1
Rural driving 2
Always look up.
It was our first time to travel together again after our epic #MindaNOWorNever adventure, and I got so excited that I actually packed my bag a week ahead. Haha! I was determined to finally try surfing the proper way, starting with lessons from an instructor who knows what he’s doing. It. Was. Awesome!
Board up!
These waves were made for surfing!
But more than the surfing, what I really loved was the drive to and from Baler - Hannah drove to, while Prisa drove us home). I’m already familiar with SCTEX since Erika and I take that route when we go to Zambales, but the view never gets old no matter how many times we drive through. I’m always the passenger (I don’t have a driving license even if I actually do know how to drive, so I’m the designated co-pilot) so I get to take a lot of pictures of the dreamiest clouds and the lushest fields.
Dam it!
But Baler is much farther than Zambales (about three more hours), so there’s more to see on the way. The view that I loved was that of the Pantabangan Dam (Canili-Diayo) - it reminded me of Lake Balinsasayao (in Negros Oriental) and Lake Sebu (South Cotabato), albeit it was much smaller. The waters were very still, and the mountains in the backdrop just made it absolutely picturesque. 

I actually missed out on another amazing view of the dam because I took a nap on the way to Baler (grrrr!), and on our way back, it was covered by fog. I guess that just means I have to head back again with Hannah one of these days. :)
Lunch on a leaf
The food in Baler was pretty good, too. I’m lucky because Hannah and her friends pretty much combed the place already for the best (and reasonably-priced) eats, so I was not once disappointed with what I ate. For lunch on the first day, we had liempo served with a cup of rice, salted duck egg, half a tomato, and pako (edible ferns!) at Kusina Luntian. 

Dinner was at The Good Food - pan-seared chicken breast chunks with rice and tomato slices - and it really was good! We ended up having lunch there again the next day, and I tried their Burger 2.0. I learned that the place is owned by a Dumagueteno! Too bad he wasn’t there on my visit; I would have wanted to meet him! :)
Dialyn's at night. Too bad it was closed.
Worth the calories, I tell you
For dessert, we walked over to Dialyn’s. Their blueberry cheesecake, matched with coffee, is now my second favourite (after Bryan’s) in Luzon! And they sell it pretty cheap, too - I had two slices of cake and a cup of coffee and I paid only Php160! 

We stayed in a kubo owned by Ka Jerry. Hannah and I have always shared that travel philosophy that we don’t need to spend so much on accommodations (Costa Pacifica is hella pricey, I’m told) since we’ll be outside most of the time anyway. Less money spent on the place to stay means more cash for food and activities! But our kubo is pretty awesome - it can comfortably fit six, and it has a nice bathroom to boot! 

The winds were strong and the tides were high when we were there. I wasn’t able to my mandatory beach headstand photo because there wasn’t enough shore to do it, haha! That’s on my list for the next visit! :)


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