I can breathe in pure freedom as the salty air of the sea brushed off the city dust from my worn out shirt. The tossing of the waves drowned out the clicking sound of the keyboard in my head that has been whirling within me for a week (and for months, actually). I have returned to Baler for the second time around just to take a break and be with a friend who wanted to enjoy my company before she migrates to Europe.
The scene was thrilling as a few surfers were seen riding along the feisty waves from a distance, but the scorching sun waned that out. I realized I was already exhausted after that grueling seven-hour bus ride from Manila. My friends were just as tired. But the trip did not seem to faze seven-year-old Liam who kept on asking, “When are we going to the beach?” Or “When are we going to surf?”
One of the best things about going to far away places is the food. I never hesitate to enjoy a plateful of sumptuous dried fish paired with an egg or a giant glass of pure, authentic mango shake (trust me, no preservatives). Some locals would drop by the cafe to sell pearls or jewelry (I don’t know if they’re real at all), but I’d rather support this guy who sells rice cake doused in honey. It’s perfect for the afternoon coffee.
Surfing is always the highlight of Baler. An hour of surfing lessons only costs about Php300 (US$5.7) for local tourists. But my Php300 was washed away in the waves because I could never, ever master this craft. I don’t know why my balance skipped away during the surfing class. At least, I looked good for a fraction of a second.
I’m impressed with my friend, Marie, because she could handle Liam well while having fun with us. There were times they would argue badly, but she always made sure he’s in safe territory no matter how far he went. I guess this is one of the reasons why moms are superheroes.
Vacation, as old folks say, is one of the perks a single person like me can have anytime because I don’t have kids (or a partner) to worry about. But I guess this norm does not apply to my friends, who are both mothers, because their family gives them time to go out, relax and enjoy. Fun is not limited to single people because everyone has the freedom to choose and break out from their mundane routine from time to time. This was what the waves have been telling us for the past two days. Even as we left, they kept on inviting us to come back and share to our children the freedom we’ve tasted back in Baler.
On a sidenote:
Baler could be a bit far from Manila, but it is easy to access because there are buses going straight there. Joybus is one of them and a fare costs about P720 (US$14).
SMART Beach House is a recommended stay for tourists. It’s quiet (especially on weekdays) and clean. The hosts are also very friendly.