Tourism boom in Baler creates more job opportunities to residents

May 21, 2015 4:56 am 

By Jason de Asis

BALER, Aurora, May 19 (PNA)– The booming tourism industry in this capital town of Aurora creates more job opportunities to local residents.

Riza P. del Rosario, chief of the Municipal Tourism Office (MTO), said in an interview that there are presently 43 registered tour guides and 127 trike guides here and still need more to accommodate the growing number of local and foreign tourists.

Regularly, there are more than 3,000 tourists who arrive here during Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to see the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines, and its breathtaking wonders.

“Surfers from all over the world love visiting the town of Baler,” Del Rosario said.

She said that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days in this town due to the influx of tourists thus, there is still a need of more tourist guides, hotel accommodations, restaurants and the like.

Del Rosario also said they are now in the selection process of applicants who would like to be tour and trike guides.

Meanwhile, she advised the travel and tour operators to contact the town local tour guides as they are the ones who are trained to explain the history of Baler and the province’s tourist destinations.

Among the famous tourist attractions here are the Baler church, site of Siege of Baler, Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon marker, Manuel Luis Quezon presidential car, General Douglas MacArthur car, Lt. James Gilmore marker, Baler 400 years monument, Quezon memorial park-birthplace of Quezon, Museo de Baler, Sabang beach, Dikaloyungan marker, Ermita Hill, Philippine Civil Service centennial forest, Santa Isabel chapel, Baler fishport, Dimadimalangat islet, Diguisit beach, Dicasalarin beach, among others.

“Tourists will learn about Baler’s history through our tourist guides while they are walking in the places of San Luis Obispo Church, the Baler Park, the house of Doña Aurora, who was the wife of former Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, and the Museo de Baler following some footstep-shaped markers on the street to find their destinations to other historical landmarks,” del Rosario said.

This town is a second-class municipality, the provincial capital of Aurora and the commercial hub.

It is located some 230 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of Manila via a mountain pass accessible by bus and private vehicle.

It is host to spectacular geographic formations and is situated on a vast plain at the south end of Baler Bay, a contiguous segment of the Philippine Sea and is known as the site of the last pocket of resistance of the Spanish Armed Forces during the Filipino-Spanish War.

It became the capital of Aurora on June 14, 1951 under Republic Act No. 648 signed by President Elpidio R. Quirino.

It remained the seat of government of Aurora on 21 November 1978 under Batas PambansaBlg. 7 signed by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In 1979, Baler’s surfing culture began when a scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now,” showed soldiers surfing the waves of Baler.

Some of the film crews taught local kids to surf. And eventually, those taught surfing to tourists and local youth residents.

The result became the new generation of Aurora-Filipino surfers where most of them worked as surfing instructors while the others have become participants in surfing competition around the Philippines and other continents of the world.

Baler also hosted surf and music festivals among others.

Tourists visit this place because of the variety of surfing spots which are perfect for beginners and also for professional surfers.

Surfing lessons normally take up an hour (15 minutes on land and 45 minutes on water).

For beginners, the best time to surf is during summer when the waves are gentler.

During the surfing season from September to February, 9 feet waves serve as the main tourist asset, attracting thousands of surfers.

Baler was also identified by Google, Inc. in 2009 as one of the top beach destinations in the Philippines.

It was also described by Yahoo! Southeast Asia in March 2013 as one of the “top surf spots” in the Philippines. (PNA)

FPV/ZST/JDA/PS

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