A Travel Story: Back when I was in Baler

I’ve been really tired and hell uninspired, sitting in front of my computer as I start to write this blog about my trip to Baler that happened 6 months ago. I know it took me so much time to document the fun because 1.) I’ve been so busy with my career and at the same time 2.) I was so down that my mind cannot concentrate. But now I’m here, trying to remember all the words that I felt in my heart when I was still happy, in Baler.

If you are here for a travel guide, I’m sorry you are in the wrong place. But don’t worry, because I will tell you a story.

I don’t know what pushed me to start writing about this because if you really wanna know the truth, I’m not okay. I wrote it on my last blogpost. Probably because of, ehhh, I have a dream that died many weeks ago and now, I’m not sure what to do next. Completely not sure at all. But anyway, let me take you back somewhere in April of 2017.

It was around between 2 and 3 in the morning right after my barista shift, when me and two of my friends hop on a bus going to Aurora. I can still remember how motivated I was when I was inside that bus, driving ahead NLEX and writing down important notes on my journal looking outside the window and imagining myself achieving a certain goal. It was divine and I miss that version of myself. That dawn, I went on a nap full of dreams and passion and excitement.

Not very long, I woke up and we were already in Baler. The feeling that I felt was warm and welcoming. Me and my friends stayed in the house of a very, very wonderful family. For a moment there, I felt more than happy. So on the same day, we went to explore the province.

It was pretty much a decent tricycle ride that morning. And it reminds me so so so much of home back in Antique. I friggin swear.

We went to explore first the hanging bridge, which connects the two barangays. It’s a long famed bridge used by the locals. Crossing there wasn’t that scary at all when you get a scenic view 360 around you. I always have a fancy thing about hanging bridges. I don’t know but blessed are curious for they shall have adventures, maybe? We stay curious about the course for not knowing what’s on the other side.

Right after that, the tour guide told us the story about Ermita hill. That many years ago, a huge tsunami called “Tromba Marina” almost wiped out the old settlement of Baler, Aurora. It is believed that there were only 6 families (the Angara, Bihasa, Bitong, Carrasco, Lumasac, and Poblete.) who went to this hill and survived the disaster. And there was the viewing deck that offers a panoramic view of Sabang Beach and the Pacific Ocean. From that vantage point, I can see the waves kissing the shores of Sabang beach. What a beautiful site to feed the eye.

We went to visit next Digisit beach. Ate an ice-cream there and chillaxed the rest of the time. We had a quality placid time.

From Digisit beach, the road going to the biggest Balete in the area was perfect. Imagine having the back ride with a long road straight ahead of you and wide rice plantations around you 360 degrees, which was beautiful. Not to mention having the privilege to see glamorous mountains 5 kilometers away from me at my right, and a gorgeous wide river when I look to my left. And the sky, that was the bluest sky that day. Very nice. And I would ride my bike the stinking way if it means having to experience that bit.

Arriving at the Millenium Tree Park was enchanting. I have never seen the biggest tree yet in my entire life!

On our last stop, we explored Ditumabo Mother Falls. Arriving there, one of my best friends, decided to just stay and rest at the foot of the mountain there. Thankfully, my other best friend saw and felt how determined I was to go up to the falls. It’s always nice to have someone that always supports your boat. Am I right?

It was roughly around a 40-minute walk. At least for us? Who took time to just walk slow and breathe in everything. The waterfall itself is everything you’d expect: imposing cliffs framing a bubbling pool of blue and jade.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Sabang Beach. And did I craved for a cold bottle of beer? Holy yes. That 2-kilometer beach may not be as beautiful as what you expect, but it was something. It felt home. I remember lying there watching the strong waves from the Pacific Ocean, with the surfers playing ukulele and me, being grateful for just being alive. How wonderful to be alive.

Weeks before this trip, I told myself I would never leave Baler without having to try surfing. And so, those first steps on board were pretty daunting. If you ask me if it was easy or hard, I would say that it wasn’t really that easy and not that hard either. But if you really want something, you gotta do everything even if the waves are not in your favor. Correct?

That day, under the 3 o’clock afternoon sun, I was there at Sabang beach, Baler. Lying down on my surfboard, saving all the energy on my legs and arms. And after a little while when I look past my back, there it is, my very first wave coming towards me. It was an all-around scenic, marvelous, and pleasing feeling. For a moment there, I felt charming. I can’t read the waves, but I do think that every wave is a good wave especially if you are lucky enough to be on it. That moment, I want to be part of it.

All in all, Baler is super homey full of laid-back folks. It was theatrical the nostalgic way. I fell in love with that place! And it never really broke my heart afterward. But months after that trip, here I am with a very unexpected plot twist of 2017. I lost it. With all hopes and dreams, I dropped it. All at the same time, one big time.

Sure, it hurts bad and was a big pain in the ass slowly fading away from what I thought I love doing. I still love it, but not as much anymore. But deep down I know that it will always be in my heart. But I believe (well I’m hoping) that I am getting better one day at a time. I’m aware that the people around me noticed a slight change towards my perspective about my lifestyle, and I want you to know that I am okay now.

Just to clear things up, this is not a sad post, alright? And I look forward to more adventures inside and outside my comfort zone for the coming days. It might be cloudy as of the moment, but I know the sun is on its way.

A good person sent me: If you are facing troubles right now, don’t ask “why me?” instead ask, “what do You want me to learn?”

So I guess, maybe, it’s just time to grow up. For now, telling myself comforting lies, silencing my mind, and calming my heart to the fun times when everything is alright and nothing hurts. Here’s to all the motivation, passion, and dreams back at Baler.

Sea you soon,



  1. Zac

    Sounds like you’re going through a tough time. Stop and reflect, think about what you’ve learned, then put it to one side and get your head down. If you want something, take it. Learn your lessons, but get right back up again. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

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  2. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    Marron, I am sorry for what you endured in the UAE. It is healthy to separate the good from the bad and appreciate the good parts of our experiences. These are wonderful photos of a beautiful place. Waterfalls, in particular have always been special to me! <3 Have a great week!

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      Marron Santillan

      Thank you so much for your wonderful words, Cheryl! I hope the coming week is great for you, too!

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