I travel on a pace with activities i know by heart will pull my gusto without compromising the experience of local culture. After taking part in the Surf & Music Festival organized by a budding Surf camp in Baler, i was head beyoooond heels on having found a whole new respect for Surfing not as a sport but as an Art and for Music, specifically Reggae, not just as a genre but also as a movement.
It was the holiday weekend most if not all members of the work force have long been waiting for– the Labor weekend (May 1, a regular Philippine holiday). When the Nalu Surf Camp in Baler announced their Surf & Music Festival on Facebook for the said weekend, i knew i just had to lock it in and be there regardless of circumstance.
It was a quick decision because Baler has been in my Travel list for so long, add the factor of a Music festival which includes bands i listen so fondly, and the fact that Nalu (waves in Hawaiian) have been calling me. The last time i was on a surf board was 2 years ago in La Union, where i barely got the balance and the courage to try surfing. I was extremely excited that I programmed myself to:
- Keep my cool when Indio I plays
theirmy “hugot” song: “Di Mo Lang Alam”
- Chill. Just chill. (Which is totally called for since we stayed in a traditional Nipa hut).
- Be ready to be overwhelmed by a surge of tourists and Rasta artists. The second one, i was totally fine with.
- Achieve not just a good balance on the board but a solid touchdown (Reach the shore while still on the board, or simply no stupid falling).
We scored a good deal on getting the package from Nalu Surf Camp. For a group of 6, we paid Php 3,200/head for a round trip bus to-fro Manila-Baler, Beach front accommodation (Nipa Hut), Surfing lessons, Breakfast, Festival passes, Unlimited cocktail drinks, Festival shirt & Nalu sticker, and a freakin’ great time!
After a 7-hr bus ride, we arrived in Baler. It was a sleepless Friday morning but we didn’t waste any time and immediately went on our Surfing lessons. After two years, there’s still that familiar feeling facing bigger waves, riding it, being under it, and breaking it.
For people with less to no courage on looking stupid, falling and not being able to stand on the foam board (beginner’s board) even for a second are probably their worst nightmare. But I bet my soul, that’s how the ancient Polynesians learned and invented Surfing too. It was the dynamics of balance, form, and nature. Surfing is both science and art, it requires technicality to find your balance on the board regardless of stance if goofy (left foot on the tail, right foot on the nose) or regular (right foot on the tail, left foot on the nose) but it also demands grace on form as the waves break, either you ride inside it or above it, still, it’s every surfer’s masterpiece.
Then there’s the Music Festival. Before the major acts, there were a handful of Reggae bands who delighted the Camp as early as 2pm until midnight to early dawn. It was my ideal standard of “chill”–Endless reggae music while on the beach perfecting the art of doing nothing.
Everywhere i look, it seemed as if people have gotten their Indiegree diploma (see the pun there? hehe) and the air suddenly got thinner from “organic smoking”. But i did not complain and never will I. I respect their view as much as their passion for expressing it through lyrics in their songs, antics they create, and vibe they spread. They hold a power of letting go of pain by dancing it away in a vagabond of bright free light. Come to think of it, it’s that simple, only scumbags make a fuss out of these people’s ways.
So if you have 3 more minutes to spare, i present to you the video i made for that awesome weekend in Baler courtesy of Nalu Surf Camp. This includes highlight performances from Indio I, Kjwan and Franco. Pardon as i sang my heart and lungs out to “Di mo lang alam” and “One Look”. Enjoy! 🙂
Nalu Surf Camp is located beside Costa Pacifica Hotel, before Mahdox Surf School. They have several accommodation types depending on your preference:
1. Traditional Nipa Hut at Php 2,000 per night (Good for 4-6 pax, beach front accommodation, Electric fan, and detached Bathroom).
2. Modern Nipa Hut at Php 3,500 per night (Good for 4-6pax, beach front accommodation which includes Private bath with Hot and cold shower, AC).
3. Deluxe Nipa Hut which costs Php 5,000 per night (Good for 4-6pax, beach front accommodation which includes Private bath with Hot and cold shower, AC).
4. Dormitory where backpackers and people who opt to travel alone could avail of the one of the 10 bunk beds.
How to go to Baler:
(Courtesy of Chasing Philippines)
via Public Transportation aka Commute
You may take JoyBus for a comfortable ride to Baler. It’s a little bit pricey but it’s an executive luxury non-stop trip with the ff: bus stewardess, blankets, pillow, snacks, and CR on board. Trip would be approximately 5 to 5 1/2 hrs.
Manila to Baler: 12 MN, 2 AM, and 4:30 AM; Fare is Php750.
Baler to Manila: 4:30 AM and 3 PM; Fare is Php750.
Another option is to take the regular aircon bus of Genesis, Fare is Php450.00. Trip would be approximately 6 to 7 hours.
Bus Schedule: Hourly trip starting 1 AM to 8 AM.
For booking, you may call 7090803, 4211425.
via Private Vehicle
From Manila, enter NLEX at Balintawak and exit at SCTEX (entry at La Paz, Tarlac toll gate). Follow the highway leading to Aliaga and to Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. From Cabanatuan City Town Proper, take the Nueva Ecija – Aurora Highway, passing thru the towns of Talavera, Rizal, and Pantabangan until you reach the Aurora border; then thru the towns of Maria Aurora, San Luis, and finally Baler.
Ride the waves,