Published in Travel Update
Waves: Surfing Baler, Aurora Province, Philippines
Located on the northeastern side of the Philippine archipelago is a quaint little town. However, it becomes more than “quaint”, when in fact, it is in the very heart of the province of Aurora.
We were with our mother the first time my siblings and I headed for Baler, Aurora. It was also our first time to ride a Genesis bus, the only bus line with a direct route to Baler from Manila. After almost eight hours tossing and turning in the very, very, very, last row of seats, we were more than happy to see the smiling faces of the tricycle drivers waiting for us to alight at the terminal in Baler. My, that was an experience I wasn’t looking forward to repeating very soon.
But when we got to Aliya, our lovely surf resort for this trip, things started taking a turn for the better. A whole lot better. A spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean captivated us with the waves crashing against the shore with such ardor, you could almost feel the might of the great body of water before us. At that moment, Baler welcomed us. I felt at peace.
My siblings and I had a taste of the renowned Baler surf the very next day. After breakfast at Bahia de Baler’s Bar and Grill, which was a mere walking distance from Aliya, we met up with our super cool surf instructors. With the amount we paid, we each got a personal surf instructor and, after five minutes of dancing on the boards on the beach, we were off to go meet the ocean and it’s waves, of course.
Cue in theme song from Hawaii 5-0.
I’m a SCUBA diver at heart, so it was a little disconcerting to be on a surf board on top of the water’s surface and not under it holding a regulator in my mouth. Nevertheless, I had one heck of a thrill ride. Kofi, my instructor, pushed the board with me on top, out into the crashing waves, yelling at me to hold on. The waves were so high at times that if felt like a sheer drop after a wave would pass; my rib cage certainly felt it.
After a while, Kofi turned me and the board around so we’d be facing the beach. Then we waited. But not for very long. The anticipation was building as I tried to process everything Kofi taught me in that short program on the beach. I then heard him holler, “Ready!” My heart started to pound. “Set!” My hands found their place on the board near my sides. “Go!” I felt him push me and the board forward. Praying that I had found the right timing, I scrambled to push myself off the board and stand, one leg forward. The wave pushed me forward, nearer and nearer the shore. I was doing it! I was riding a wave! I wobble just a bit but I find my balance right away – thanks to my mother for putting through gymnastics and ballet in my formative years. I can see Mama now; she’s taking a video! Gah! My hair’s a wreck! I swipe at my tousled tresses, which throws off my balance and I end up in the water with a splash! I get up in thigh-deep water, sputter a little, and laugh off my idiocy.
Let’s do that again!
I turn back around with my board to meet Kofi halfway and we head out, once again, to meet the waves.
(Ed’s Note: Crissy Pefianco is one of the daughters of Raffy and Chili Pefianco. You may remember Chili from Travelwide Associated Sales Phils., then the GSA for Royal Brunei Airlines . Chili now handles tours in Baler.)
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