Most of us love to travel, but don’t you just hate the sticky feeling of sweat and dust clinging to your skin after the long trip? It’s such a great consolation to get yourself a hot bath then doze off in a comfortable room just before the strenuous activities start. Of course, the quality of recharging will depend on the hotel facilities. Clean showers and nice rooms do not just pop out of nowhere, especially not in distant places such as Baler.
June 15, 2019 — Getting to Baler takes around 6 hours on the road from Manila. At first, this may seem like a drag, but the destination has an impressionable character which makes the lengthy and pricey travel worth it. Best known as a surfer’s haven, the stretch of Sabang Beach in the quaint town of Baler has a multitude of hostels and homestays that are ready to welcome tourists any time. Whether your budget allows a luxurious stay or calls for low-cost accommodation, there is always an option available to fit your liking.
Fortunately, I have discovered a resort along Sabang Beach near enough to enjoy a fair bicycle ride to the main road yet far enough to savor the quietness of the seas. Called Balituk, this little gem tucked in the further end of Sabang’s shore invites its guest to relax and chase summertime’s bliss.
Upon entering the premises, the first thing that caught my eye was the Teepee Hut. There were about four triangular houses which stood across the vast sandy lot and boy, they looked really airy to sleep in. Ate Lorna, the resort manager, assisted us in picking the hut we’ll be using for our weekend stay.
Turning my head on another angle, I found a group of colorful shipping container vans transformed into air-conditioned rooms. Below this splash of hues was the pool sheltered by a mesh net.
Other amenities accessible to guests of Balituk are the shared kitchen, dining area, and bathroom. The bathroom has the basic facilities such as toilet and shower. Meanwhile, the kitchen has utensils and plates that can be borrowed by guests. They can also cook their own food and wash dishes.
One thing you’ll notice when you look around is the bright-colored illustrations. It’s a delight in the eyes to see vibrant murals such as the sunset-over-water wall art, and signages such as the please-clean-up-after-yourself sign in the kitchen.
Since we arrived a couple of hours earlier than check-in time, my friends and I decided to take a power nap while waiting for the Red room to be ready. The bamboo bed (locally referred to as papag) was located in a sweet spot where shade and cool breeze meet. We cozied up in the papag and woke up to realize we were sleeping for over an hour.
Thanks to Wikipedia, I now understand why the term teepee sounds so nomadic. Alternatively spelled as tipi, means “to dwell”, it originated from the indigenous American Indians in North America during the early days. Their tents were easily deconstructed and reassembled when they needed to relocate. Portability was significant to them for various reasons, especially when hunting for food.
Today, the concept of conical houses were adopted and modernized. Interestingly, Balituk’s Teepee Hut is suitable for those who love to get a closer encounter with nature. If you fancy the chilly night breeze, the sound of swaying leaves, and the gleaming rays of moonlight, I believe this is a perfect camp retreat for you.
A teepee hut, which costs ₱1,200 a night, accommodates up to two persons. Inside you’ll find a ceiling fan, a power outlet, a curtain, and two foam mattresses each with a pillow and a blanket. Booked guests are to use the shared bathroom.
If you’re not in the mood to catch a glimpse of the nomadic lifestyle, Balituk also offers air-conditioned rooms to provide the ultimate comfort without overspending. Found inside these festive-looking container vans are white-walled brightly lit rooms equipped with single beds, cabinets, a shower and toilet, vanity table, and fresh towels. Along with these features, we also enjoyed free breakfast that comes with availing the color-coded rooms.
The Red room fits three people for ₱2,300/night. Even if it was small, it was maximized by a space-saving layout. Highlights include the vanity table which looked like it was pulled straight out of Pinterest, and the spacious bathroom with hot-and-cold shower. Overall, we were satisfied with our room experience. I slept on a seemingly floating bed wherein I used the cabinet as a ladder to get there. It was fun and comfy!
Our experience jumped a level higher when we were served breakfast the next morning. They brought us Pork Adobo with paco fern salad, tomato, salted egg, and steamed rice! It was placed in a banana leaf cutting. Presentation-wise, it gave us the impression of living as a native. Environmentally and economically speaking, this presentation is a way to conserve water and save money by not using plates. Their advocacy for Mother Earth here is too strong, they also encourage tourists to segregate their trash.
The food, it turns out, is cooked from a neighbor tapsilog house called Masilig. Prices of the food averages from ₱100 – ₱150. After filling my stomach, it was time to enjoy the beach.
Just a quick note, by the way. At one glance, by looking at the corroding metal on the stairs and container vans, I deemed Balituk to exist for about 5 years or so already. However, I learned from Kuya Arnel, the resort manager, that Balituk has been around since 2017 only. Even though I was surprised, it wasn’t new information.
This was, as I pondered, typical for metal structures in an environment interacting with saltwater. I’ve been to many hostels and resorts with this same dilemma and unless it’s obviously bound to cause an accident, I’ve grown to disregard the corrosion. (In case someone feels the urge to complain about the “rust”, perhaps this could shed some light.)
That early morning, we watched the sunrise with cacao ice cream on our hands. (Cacao ice cream sold in-house!) I love how peaceful our side of the beach was because not much people were around. Although I didn’t get to surf due to personal reasons, I am happy to finally visit the beautiful town of Baler.
Real estate photography: Kristine Nobleza Landscape photography: Renz Dupitas Portraiture: Dhemie Sable
Guide to Balituk Baler
Inquire ahead of time via their Facebook page or cell number. They usually get fully booked!
The resort is ideal for solo and couple backpackers, even for families, barkadas and yuppies.
Balituk is located at the farther end of Sabang Beach.
They have the best cocoa ice cream sold at ₱75 a cup! And whoop, they also sell dyed shirts.
It’s best to clean as you go. The use of the kitchen and dining area is already free,
Yellow Room (4-6 pax)
Green Room (3-4 pax)
Red Room (2-3 pax)
Violet Room (2-3 pax)
Teepee Huts (1-2 pax)
₱ 1,200/night (+₱400/head, max of 4 pax)
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Address: Brgy. Buhangin, Baler, Aurora 3200
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/balituk/
Contact number: 0917 500 5059 (only SMS, no calls!)