Baler is a 5-6 hour drive from Manila but I live down south in Parañaque so add 30 minutes to the transit time plus another 45 minutes for the EDSA traffic jam and another 30 minutes for the stopovers – to which is why our drive going to Baler was 7 hours and 30 minutes. But with great company and an amazing playlist from spotify, you wouldn’t really mind the drive especially if your view is as breathtaking as the one you’d see going up north.
It was a scenic drive, one of my favorite road trips yet – we passed through heavenly fields of ornamental grass just after SCTEX, tree-covered slopes, green valleys, clean rivers, coconut trees all aligned in vast spaces and the magnificent sight of the sierra madre mountain range – Got too busy marveling at everything and being in so much awe that most of the time my mouth was just hanging open, so most of the time I couldn’t really be bothered to lift my phone up to take photos.
An hour away from our destination, we passed by a house with a sign on their lawn that says “Malunggay Pandesal”, Kevin and I looked at each other, he parked the car on the side and walked to the house.
For anyone who doesn’t know what a pandesal is: Pandesal or pan de sal (Spanish for “salt bread”) is a common bread roll in the Philippines made of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, and salt. Malunggay is moringa or drumstick tree in english. So along with the normal ingredients they mix malunggay leaves in the pandesal.
Back to the short side trip story- we ended up buying 10 pcs of this delish home-baked malunggay pandesal for 20 pesos (2 pesos per piece). Kevin says it was the best decision we’ve made for the whole road trip. ha.
We reach our destination; unpacked, stretched, showered then headed over to the restaurant and was quite surprised on how good the chicken inasal and adobong manok sa gata that we ordered.
The resort had a chic and modern but cozy vibe to it. Their great sized rooms are all white with colorful pillows on each of the two beds. Each room has its own ‘porch’ with a hammock swing and a chair out front next to the sliding door.
The staff was always helpful, pleasant and engaging. They were locals to the town of Baler which is useful because for those of you who don’t really plan your trip with research, they would happily give you some recommendations.
The next day we were blessed to have sunshine most of the day. After some short morning yoga, coffee and breakfast, we went to the beach. Kevin surfed for the first time in years and since then have expressed (many times) how perfect the waves are in Baler and how much he loved it, I got to tan and read a few pages from the book I love The Women Who Run With Wolves. After an hour of separately surfing and tanning we joined forces and jumped in the water and he taught me some techniques for swimming in the ocean.
Activities on the beach were followed by a wonderful late lunch; I had Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa and Kevin ate burger and fries. Both orders were superb and to top it off they gave us a free frozen brownie dessert which was as you’d imagine it to be: perfect.:)
After that very delicious meal, we walked back to the beach, Kevin found a frisbee and he taught me how to play and catch the damn thing. Just as soon as I began to get the hang of it, the skies around us started turning pink, we then decided to chase the sunset which was taking place on the other side of the resort.
After doing our due diligence and taking as many photos of the sunset as possible, we went for a swim in the pool and danced to a few songs under the moon light.
We woke up to the sound of heavy rain the next day and wondered if driving all the way to Manila is possible (these doubts were were the product of us wishing that we could stay one more night cuddled up in the resort’s room) but we did check out; we had breakfast in our room as we packed all our stuff and then we checked out and as I was waiting for the check out clearance they gave us a frequency card that is filled with different freebies and discounts every time you come back:) then we were off to start the 6 hour drive going home.
Their rooms are so nice! It’s simple, chic and clean. Perfect for those beach getaways you’ve been day dreaming about! It’s great for couples, best friends and groups of friends or families as they have 2 beds in all the rooms and you can also bring a furry friend (1 dog per room & a fee of 500 pesos shall be charged to your room).
Deluxe Room – P6,000/room(TAX Exclusive)
>35sqm room with veranda
>facing the pool
>two comfortable queen sized beds
>good for four (4) person
>3way bathroom with hot/cold shower (toilet is separated from shower)
>includes bathroom essentials: towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and tooth care kits
>refillable fresh bottle of water
Super Deluxe Room – P7,000/room (TAX Exclusive)
–40sqm room with veranda
-facing the pool
-two comfortable queen sized beds
-good for four (4)
-3way bathroom with hot/cold shower (toilet is separated from shower)
-includes bathroom essentials: towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and tooth care kits.
-refillable fresh bottle of water
Extra twin sized bed – Rate: P1,000/night (applicable on Super Deluxe Room only)
Extra person – Rate: P800/night (applicable on Super Deluxe room only)
>beach beds with umbrella
>gazebos with comfy couch
>hanging swing beds
>satellite bar near the beach
>3,000sqm of free open space
Other services offered
-surfing lessons with surfboard and certified instructor for P400/hour/head
-surfboard rental for P200/hour
-bonfire for P500/night
-Fishing on the shore for P400/rod
Check-in time: 2:00 PM
Check-out time: 11:00 AM
A security deposit of PHP 1,000 is required upon check in and will be refunded after surrendering the key and guest cards to the receptionist and the release of housekeeping clearance.
YAY FOR THIS! They allow dogs in the resort. 🙂 but please let them know beforehand if you plan to bring your furry friend.
Strictly one dog per room.
A charge of P500 dog/ day will be made for room cleaning purposes.
Dogs up to 40 lbs. are permitted and may not be left in the guest room unattended.
Dogs must be on a leash in public areas.
A pet waiver must be signed at check-in.
Any damage will be charged accordingly.
Friday – Saturday Open: 7:00 AM to 12:00 Midnight
Sunday – Thursday Open: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM
BRINGING IN FOOD AND BEVERAGES:
They discourage bringing in food and beverages to help maintain the resort pest free. Remember the malunggay pandesal I was talking about, we left a couple of pandesals in the paper bag and the next morning ants were all over it. The staff helped us and solved our problem by giving us a bowl with water so ants couldn’t reach snacks that we brought in.
But if you wish to do so, light snacks are allowed.
And for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages): Corkage fee is P1.00 per ML
If you’re driving a car:
For Waze users: just type DPWH Aurora. L’Sirene Boutique Resort is right beside it.
From Manila, enter the North Expressway at Balintawak and exit at SCTEX (entry at LaPaz, Tarlac toll gate). From there, follow the highway leading to Aliaga and to Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. From Cabanatuan City Proper, take the Nueva Ecija-Aurora highway, passing thru the towns of Talavera, Rizal, and Pantabangan until you reach the Aurora border, then thru the towns of Maria Aurora, San Luis, and finally, Baler. Beware of wild zigzagging roads, fast trucks and landslides during rainy season.
Note: It is advised not to take the old, dangerous road– The Baler Bongabong-Road at night.
Other modes of transportation:
1. Genesis Transport Bus
Terminal: 704 EDSA corner New York St, Cubao, Quezon City
Telephone Numbers: (02) 709-0803 / (02) 853-3115 / (02) 421-1422
Genesis Transport Bus provides the only direct route to Baler from Metro Manila. Its terminal is located along EDSA in Pasay City and Cubao. For trip schedules and inquiries, visit their website Genesis Transport Inc.. Alternatively, take any bus which goes to Cabanatuan and from there, take a public utility van heading for Baler at the terminal, last trip of vans depends on numbers of passengers. The trip takes about two and a half hours.
From the bus terminal in Baler, take a tricycle going to L’Sirene or (just tell the driver) the resort beside DPWH Aurora.
2. JoyBus (deluxe luxury) departs from Manila daily at 12:00am & 1:00am and costs P650-750 (~US$15)
• On board hostess
• No stops
• On Board Comfort Room
• Free Snacks
• Free Blanket
3. JoyBus (regular) is also a slightly more cost effective option. It departs daily from Manila at 2:30am, 4:00am, 5:30am, 7:00am and costs P450 (~US$10)
L’Sirene Boutique Resort
Address: Purok 6, Barangay Reserva, Baler, Aurora.
Cellphone Number: 0917-743-8556
Other places to visit in the Philippines: