We were so tired when we arrived in Baler. The travel has not been easy. It had been inconvenient along the way, but immediately upon seeing the beach and the surfers, we felt thankful that we have taken the time and effort to travel to Baler.
Baler boasts of a lot of tourist spots. It is a place perfect for sightseers and travelers. The tourist areas are not confined to its beaches, the sea and surfing. There are waterfalls, historical spots, museums, and places to eat and enjoy those gastronomic treats. The places ideal for tourism are displayed on sign boards and tricycles. I can say that Baler aggressively promotes tourism.
But what I enjoyed most while in Baler is the trek to that falls, called the “Mother Falls”.
We started our journey to this falls on board a tricycle. I think this
the most popular or the more common mode of transportation in the area. A tricycle is motorcycle where a carriage is attached to enable it to ferry passengers. With the carriage attached to the motorcycle, it transforms to a “three –wheeled” vehicle.
The minimum fare in a tricycle is ten (P 10.00) pesos per person. We were able to rent a tricycle for only Eight Hundred Pesos (P 800.00) for a tour of Baler’s tourist spots. The cost of renting a tricycle for a day tour varies. A good haggling technique and patience is necessary to get the most affordable price. A placard showing the different tourists spots in the area are displayed in most tricycles indicating that they are joined in a common effort to promote tourism in the area. I think this is very beneficial to travelers and tourists. Having an organization among tricycles with the objective of promoting tourism gives added security and order in the ferrying of passengers.
On board a tricycle that we rented, we were able to visit a number of tourist spots such as the Mother Falls, the Century old Balete Tree, House of Dona Aurora Quezon, Cobra Point and the Ampere Beach. The travel was fast and there was absolutely no traffic. It was one convenient ride. Tricycle drivers however have to be always mindful that it is always better to be safe than sorry. There is no need to rush in getting from one tourist area to the other. The whole of Baler is one big tourist spot in itself. I really enjoyed the rural scenery as we traveled from one place to the other.
Without traffic, we were able to reach the start of the hike to the Mother Falls for less than forty five (45) minutes. I was not bored as the greenery and the serene urban landscape was very relaxing. But again, safety should always be a priority. Tricycle drivers, at the risk of redundancy, should always be mindful of the safety of passengers and tourists.
It is not an easy hike to reach the Mother Falls. Do not expect that this falls can be reached without an effort. Falls are usually reached by hiking for a kilometer or more. Balagbag Falls in Real, Quezon however can be reached without difficulty.
We walked through a makeshift bridge made of several pieces of bamboo tied together. It is not high but it can be very difficult for senior citizens to cross. It is at this time that I felt that it is good to travel while the knees are much stronger. When young, try to travel a lot. There may be financial constraints, but being young, healthy and strong can take you places. While young, traveling is not much of an effort. It is easier to walk, hike and do a lot of things. I read in some tweets, that it is much better to spend on experience than on those expensive gadgets. Spending money on experience can be equated to putting time in a bottle. Being able to say “I have been there and done that” is a lot better that seeing those outmoded gadgets. Time once lost can never be recovered.
I remember the time when we were at the Chocolate Hills in Bohol there were senior citizens trying to climb the top of a hill that serves as a viewing deck. One of them remarked how she wished that she had been there decades before. Anyway, tourists spots should provide access to senior citizens and to the differently abled. There is a law mandating the creation of access paths to our senior citizens and to the differently abled. I support this law but not the plan to create a stairway to Mount Apo in Davao.
A sign prohibiting the carrying plastic bottles, food and other materials that may harm the falls and the environment is prominently displayed prior to the hike. I think everyone should follow the sign. Plastics are very harmful to the ecosystem. It take years, if not decades, before they decay and return to their original state. It is very appalling to see pieces of plastics on what God has created. Only He can create nature. No amount of human creativity can match or even compare to what God has created. I really appreciate it that the people of Baler are very much aware of the need of protecting the environment. While tourism can bring loads of money, it does not justify the destruction of nature. I hope that all travelers to Baler would cooperate in the effort protect and preserve Mother Falls.
To reach the falls, we walked through a shallow river. The slippery rocks and the gushing water means that one has to be very careful. One slip can result to injury. We have to be very cautious while moving from one rock to the other. There are rocks where moss has already accumulated making it very difficult to have a strong footing. Hikers to this falls have to wear strong slippers or sandals. Trekking should also be done in daylight.
Our tricycle driver also served as our guide. At first, I thought that this falls can be reached even without the assistance of a guide. I learned however that the almost thirty minute hike to the falls is better done with a guide. First timers can get lost on the way. The guide also gives suggestions on the proper and most effective way of navigating the river.
It is better to start this trek in the morning. In this way, there would be enough time to hike and enjoy the falls upon reaching it. The trek should be done slowly but surely.
The canopy of greens offers protection to the trekkers from the harmful sunrays and gives a very relaxing setting for the hike. It is in this moment that I really appreciate nature. The trees, the refreshing forest fragrance, the flowing river and the cacophony of sounds all made this experience something to be treasured.
After a few more struggles, we were able to reach the falls. It is very beautiful and breathtaking. Its stunning beauty has made the trip worth it. It was a very refreshing sight. Definitely, one of the best ways to enjoy summer. Get out and trek to the falls. Getting out of one’s comfort zone and trek to something spectacular such as the Mother Falls is one good endeavor to make during summer. You will not regret traveling to Baler after seeing this falls.
The water is crystal clear and very inviting. We never passed on the opportunity to swim in this falls. For almost an hour we enjoyed the clean and cold waters of the Mother Falls. I really wished that we had more time to stay and experience this falls. Yet time really moves fast. It was just morning. But now we got to get back to our hotel and soon visiting Mother Falls in Baler would just be a part of our wonderful experience.
Continue to travel. Traveling gives a different perspective about life. It educates. It gives not only an introduction about life but provides an entirety of what should be learned about the place and its people.