The cold woke us up the next day, which is entirely my fault cause I turned the aircon to the coldest temperature (Sorry, guys!).
We went to get breakfast at Bay-Ler Hotel. They serve generic food available at hotels, but also has their unique recipes: like their Tapsilog is made up of Tapa Flakes instead of Tapa Beef. Their Bay-Ler club sandwich is a must-try though!
TIP NUMBER ONE: When skating, wear shoes (Duh?). And be wary of the holes on the concrete pavement along the beachfront (If that’s where you’re going to skate).
After breakfast, we chilled out for a while, and us guys took out our Penny Boards. After playing for a while or so, the accident happened.
The wheel of my board got stuck on a hole while riding and I stumbled along the pavement. My pinky toe’s nail was partly removed and my legs and arms were covered in wounds.
TIP NUMBER TWO: Always bring first aid kits.
Good thing my friends brought gauzes, Betadine, cotton, and band-aids. We were able to treat my wounds before any infection happened.
After my mishap, we went to Ermita Hills.
HELLO ERMITA HILLS!
TIP NUMBER THREE: Always buy extra water or Gatorade so that you won’t get dehydrated going to places. And ALWAYS bring ’em with you.
Along the way, we bought Gatorades and water because of the staggering heat. When we got to Ermita Hills, you’ll see a huge space for parking your cars, three stone formations of words that you can take pictures at, and a stairway leading to the Healing Cross.
There were 267 steps to the cross and we realized something: we forgot to bring our drinks. When we got up we were exhausted (and my foot was hurting. How I wish that the cross could heal my foot haha!).
After taking pictures, Gelo saw a trail which he thinks will lead us to the peak of the hills.
So we followed him. The trail leading going up was steep and sometimes there are crossroads. Good thing we saw a group going down telling us the way. They were about to give up when they saw us about to push through going up, so they came with us.
Not only are the hills steep, it’s also slippery, muddy, full of sharp leaves, broken branches, ants, and some say snakes.
Along the way, we met three local kids who made the hills their playground. They were there because of a school project. They were already headed down when they decided to take us to the top and lead us. These kids are just 7-13 years old but they seem to know the hills so well.
We made stops during the hike and we regretted not bringing our beverages. We felt like our lungs are going to give out, with the heat and all.
When we got to the point where you can see the view and a lot of dead trees. We asked the kids how far up are we from the peak; and they told us we’re still 2 hours away.
With the heat and our exhaustion, we couldn’t continue any longer so we decided to just take pictures of the view. We asked the kids again if the view from here is different from the peak; and they told us it was just the same.
Now it was time to return to our car. Hiking down was harder since you have to go down and it’s slippery, so I got a stick to help me go down. After the hike, we drank what it seemed like the last drinks we’re about to have in our lives.
We then saw a hammock, so we relaxed first after our exhausting hike until it was time to go to Diguisit Beach. I stopped for a while to take pictures at the viewing deck.
HELLO DIGUISIT BEACH!
TIP NUMBER FOUR: Bring hammock beds or sheets because you don’t have to rent a cottage, you can just chill on the grass.
When we got there, there was a swimming pool, plenty of parking spaces, cottages, rooms, shower rooms, and a bus that’s actually a convenience store (There’s beer, chips, water, and cigs).
We then sat a grass near the beach and the two magnificent rocks. We chilled out for a while; ate, drank, and exchanged stories. We then saw another family that brought out a hammock bed, we then wished we bought one.
The beach is perfect for professional surfers because the waves are perfect, but it’s dangerous because of the rock formations near the shore.
We saw people on top of the rock and decided to climb it as well.
TIP NUMBER FIVE: If you’re going to climb the rock, climb it at the back, it’s much easier.
I tried to climb the rock at the front, and it’s very hard, especially when there’s no gear. Now, we discovered an easier way at the back of the rock.
TIP NUMBER SIX: If you’re climbing, DO NOT LOOK DOWN.
Climbing up, you have to be very careful AND DON’T LOOK DOWN. You might get nervous and that’ll cause your fall. It took us 10 minutes to go up, and the view there was fantastic. You can see the whole beach, the road of Diguisit, all the people below you, and you’ll feel like you’re the king or queen of the world.
TIP NUMBER SEVEN: If you reach the top and this is your first peak, SHOUT!!!
My friend, Laica, told me to shout because it was my first rock-climbing experience. I shouted the most profound word ever said in humanity…
After taking pictures and taking in the scenery, we went down (Carefully, of course). Then I got a call from the lodge that it’s our check out time, we rushed back so we didn’t get the chance to swim at Diguisit Beach (Next time, maybe?).
We went back, paid our bills, and decided to go to our final stops before going home and leaving this magical place.
TIP NUMBER EIGHT: Make tourist attractions your last stop.
First, we went to Museo De Baler, there you can see the car Douglas McArthur used to tour around Luzon, Casa De Maestro Lucio (A very old nipa hut), the statue of late Manuel L. Quezon, and of course, the museum where you can see the history of Baler.
After a few minutes of walking, we were at Ginang Aurora Aragon-Quezon’s house. Inside you’ll see paintings, her poem entitled “Sawing Gantimpala”, old stuff like: coal-powered iron and a sewing machine, and Doña Aurora’s mini-library.
By the side of the house you’ll see: Manuel L. Quezon’s presidential car which is a 1936 Chrysler Airflow Limousine and before-and-after pictures of Baler.
In front of Ginang Aurora’s house is the Baler Church. You can see a monument to aborted babies there. There’s this saying that’s when it’s your first time visiting a church, you can make a wish. After praying inside the church, we went out and bought souvenirs at a bazaar near the church.
After buying souvenirs, we ate lunch at a carinderia near Baler Central Terminal. Beside the carinderia is a Baler’s Pasalubong Center. After eating, we only had one stop left, the Balete Tree, but the place was too dark to take pictures at, so we decided to wing it.
Going home, the ride was a little bit easier because we knew how to avoid humps and slow down at rocky roads. Also, we’ve familiarized ourselves with the road condition, unlike before that we had no idea what to expect.
We stopped for a little dinner at Shell NLEX at Dau, Pampanga. Then continued until we got home.
THIS WHOLE EXPERIENCE WAS STRESS-RELIEVING, WORTHWHILE, BREATHTAKING, AND ALL IN ALL…