Aurora: The First Lady and the Province

At first glance, this article could just be about a person of historical importance. She was after all the first lady of the first president of Commonwealth of the Philippines. She was beloved by the Filipino people, most especially by the people of Baler, her hometown. Aurora Antonia Aragón viuda de Quezón was heavily involved with humanitarian activities, particularly as the first chairperson of the Philippine Red Cross.

This article is more about that province which was named in her memory: Aurora. My 62nd province. The province of Aurora started off as a sub-province of Quezon (Tayabas) in 1951. 28 years after, during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, Aurora became an independent province.

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The main draw in visiting this province, is the capital town Baler. It is a bright tourism spot on the eastern side of Luzon, made famous historically by The Siege of Baler (1899) and by Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now. Baler is now known as a surfing destination. Sabang Beach anchors the tourism magnet for travelers and tourist who wants to learn how to ride the waves.

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Monument commemorating Baler’s 400 years as a town

Baler is about 5-6 hour trip from Manila. For this trip, we formed a group of 4 and arranged a tour of Baler from a travel agency we contacted (Bridgeway Travel and Tours). For those who prefer to commute to Baler, there are several bus lines plying the Manila-Baler route. Genesis Bus Line is the most popular.

Our van left Pasay City at around 11PM, with a quick stop in Marilao, Bulacan before heading on to Baler via the Plaridel – Cabanatuan – Talavera Road. We reached the capital town just after sunrise.

Below is the list of places we visited in and around Baler.
1. Diguisit Beach and Lukso-Lukso Islet
2. Ermita Hill
3. Tromba Marina Monument
4. Aniao Islet and Cobra Reef
5. Ditumabo Falls
6. Museo de Baler
7. Aurora Aragon House
8. Baler Church
9. Baler Town Plaza
10. Balete Park

The tour package we availed was for a 2D1N Joiner’s Trip. We left Manila on a Friday night, arriving at Baler early Saturday morning, then a whole day tour on the places listed above, spending the Sunday morning at Sabang Beach and checking-out from the hotel at noon for the 3pm departure from Baler.

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Sabang Beach is not to be missed when you are in Baler. It is where most of the hotels, resorts and other room accommodation are located. A long white elevated concrete walk runs parallel to the beach. Most of the restaurants and food stalls are also found along this side.

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Lukso-Lukso Islet and Diguisit Beach

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A view of Baler Bay from Ermita Hill

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Tromba Marina

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Ditumabo Falls (Mother Falls)

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Aniao Islet and Cobra Reef

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Museo de Baler

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La Case de Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon

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Baler Cathedral

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Balete Park

So plan a weekend trip to Baler, Aurora now. If you are interested of the tour package that we used, just drop me a message or comment.

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