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> Aurora Province – A Tropical Adventure Travel Destination
grintraveler
post Nov 21 2006, 12:55 AM
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It was my first trip to Aurora Province and it won’t be my last. Aurora is located on the Upper East Side of Central Luzon in the Philippines. The province is generally mountainous but its shoreline spans over 400 kilometers in length. Using a public transport is highly recommended for traveling to Baler, the capital city of Aurora. Genesis buses leave Manila for Baler everyday at 6am and 8am, 7 days a week. Driving a personal vehicle could be difficult because of a long drive through rough, narrow and zigzagging mountain roads along the Sierra Madre although I heard a group of adventurous motorists take their SUV’s through the Baler-Pantabangan Road every now and then to get a thrilling ride. For me, I took a 50-minute SeAir flight from Manila to Baler to speed up my trip.

Upon reaching the airport, I went straight to Bay’s Inn, arguably the most popular resort in Aurora. It boasts panoramic views of Baler Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The resort can accommodate up to 32 guests but its restaurant can serve up to 70 people. Both their Garlic Chicken and Crispy Pata are a ‘must-try’. Rates range from Php400 to Php500 per night. After depositing my things, I quickly began my exploration of this relatively unknown province. I rented a tricycle, the most common way to get around in the area. The driver is friendly and courteous enough to bring me to the historical landmarks in Aurora. I visited the Doña Aurora Memorial Shrine, Aurora Quezon Marker, Baler Catholic Church, Lt. Commander James Gilmore Marker and Quezon Memorial Park. Most landmarks have been instrumental to the development of the province and were made in honor of the late president Manuel L. Quezon. I also found out that Baler is where we celebrate Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day every June 30. It was on this day in 1899 that President Emilio Aguinaldo decreed that the last Spanish soldiers to surrender to the American regime during the Siege of Baler be treated as friends of the New Republic instead of prisoners of war. After I did a walking tour on my own, I found out from a local that there is a Baler Historical Committee who can arrange a historical tour upon request.

The next day, I decided to do a one-day surfing crash course at Bay’s Inn. Local surfers hang out here often and they can readily give you pointers. The months of October and February are the best times to surf in Aurora. These months bring in the larger waves and ideal for surfers to learn the basics. The beach is relatively safe from scratches, since most of the beaches for surfing have a sandy bottom. One of the locals mentioned that they hold the Aurora Surfing Cup sometime in February, pitting the local surfers against their international counterparts.

It was an exhaustive but enjoyable day. Two days are definitely too short to visit Aurora. Because of the vast, untouched natural resources of the province, it is a haven for adventure travelers. I want to go back and have a picnic by Bulawan Falls and go trekking further out into the northern towns which, I heard, are even more pristine and virgin.

Aurora’s natural attractions include picturesque waterfalls, lush greenery on mountainsides, and panoramic beaches. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, spelunking, mountain climbing and trekking are some of the activities a tourist can enjoy in Aurora. This past trip is only the beginning of many more adventures to come.

For additional information about Aurora, check their official website at Aurora.ph.
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timpaul
post Sep 29 2008, 10:59 PM
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I was surprised also at how beautiful Aurora is. I loved the waterfalls and probably stayed in the same hotel where you stayed. I could say i had a great time there. The night life was funny too because I think there was only bar in town that was close to the hotel. It was weird to see a mix of farmers, gays and girls and rockers all at the same bar... probably since it was the only bar there nobody had a choice. Everything is cheap here where else could you get a beachside accomodation with aircon, clean room and sheets, cable TV for only 600 PhP and it was that expensive because we got the room with 4 beds!!

A definite must visit place!!


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jerminix
post Sep 30 2008, 02:55 AM
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Wow, thats cool, why dont you visit other places in the Philipines like Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, etc, those places have very good beaches and the accommodation is really great. You can have your vacation there. Just contact the local travel agencies and they will gladly help from the the preparation of flights to hotels, to food and many more.
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timpaul
post Sep 30 2008, 03:17 AM
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Its all about walking off the beaten path. Sometimes its fun to be '"surprised" once in a while. I have visited the other places you've mentioned and they were great In my opinion and quite cheap too. Aurora was quite a find. I really had fun during my stay there and i wanted to share it with other forumers.


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