WorkGoals Series: Aurora

Once again we were privileged to travel for our work project. This time my new office partner and I were assigned to one of the most visited places in Luzon for its amazing beaches that offer a good challenge for novice surfers. Not only that but it also exhibits natural and man-made marvels.

Baler and Casiguran, Aurora. A place of natural beauty and calmness.

The six-hour travel from Manila was smooth and easy. Our office at Baler (NFA Baler) is located a few minutes away from the bay hotels and inns. Going to the beach is as far as one quick ride of tricycle for only 15pesos. There are plenty of bars and restaurants around the area. A two-day tour around won’t be enough to visit them all.

During our first day, we only did our work. Essentially, it was the real reason for going there. My partner went out after dark to look for a place to eat. The bay area had a lot of affordable barbeque restaurants/grills. Our craving for grilled meats took us to Yellow Fin bar and restaurant.

Grilled Foods
Grilled much?
Yellow Fin Menu
The Yellow Fin Menu

I told myself that I would not be leaving Baler without hopping on a surfboard. Luckily, during an afternoon office meeting (which we were not included), my partner and I went out to search for a surfing instructor. We enjoyed an hour and a half surfing at the beach. I experienced my first one during our last Barkada travel at Daet, Sorsogon, where the waves were kinder. Baler had a wilder, more dangerous sequence of face-slapping waves. Not actually expecting that we’d be able to surf, we did not bring spare clothes. But we managed to buy ready-to-wear from a souvenir shop near the bay area.

Valar Morsurfing: All men must surf. Sadly I was not able to store photos of me surfing. A tragedy happened on the GoPro. Tragic, so tragic. This was at Sabang Beach by the way.

Just as we were done, our service arrived with the officer we assisted on our work travel. They took us to visit the hanging bridge but there were only darkness and chirping crickets. Even the city lights were too dim to cast a good view. We decided to take our dinner at Chef Jerry’s Picnic Bay Buffet Restaurant. There were no other customers on that night. They say that place gets filled up during the weekends.

Chef Jerry's Picnic Bay
There was no one except the restaurant staff.
400 Pesos per head.

5am Thursday. My body hurt so bad and I had some rash on my arms due to surfboard chafing. Too bad I did not get warmed up and wear rashguards the day before. We needed to wake up early anticipating a four-hour drive to Casiguran. Too tired and cold, I said to myself. But the twists and turns on the road turned to a reviving comfort upon our arrival. Our tiny satellite office resided far far away from everything urban. The corners of the horizon were just astonishingly refreshing. Grass. Mountains. Trees. The cold breeze. What a day to be alive! I loved it.

Outside our satellite office. Never feel stress from work.

A proper courtesy call happens quickly right after arriving at wherever office we’re supposed to go. Following the quick introduction, we hopped back in the van. I did not expect a hasty tour around Casiguran. First off was the heavenly reef of Casapsapan Beach resort along Casiguran Beach.

Casiguran - Casapsapan
Any sea lover introverts would die of envy.
Casapsapan Beach Resort
Just pay 30 pesos for parking and you get to enjoy every step on this paradise.
Buriki. A tool used to get samples of grains from sacks.

We spent enough time on the beach of Casapsapan, letting the mixture of the cool and warm breeze of the Pacific wind kiss our skins. A short visit and snack at the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority followed afterward. They had cute houses available for rent, a nice place for team building or family vacation.

Accommodation at APECO
A cute lodging for everyone.
Casiguran - APECO
Beach front mini park.
Casiguran - APECO
Looking at it is as good as swimming. No, I take that back.

The cell reception was unstable. There was a cell tower that provided good reception within a small radius at the center of the Diniyog town. A chapel resting elevated at one side of the vicinity revealed a whole view of the little community. It’s hard to find our office at Google Maps. Honestly, I don’t know where it is located on the map.

Going back to the satellite office, we continued with our work and enjoyed luncheon with Native Chicken Tinola, and Eskabetcheng Talakitok along with the entire employees (only six) of our Casiguran satellite office. Just afterward we traveled back to Baler and arrived in time for dinner.

Yolly's Grill
Just another grill restaurant at Baler.
More Yum.
Sisig at Mely's
Sisig pa more!

Out of the dozen restaurants around Baler, we tried out Mely’s Restaurant. Noodle dishes cost less than a hundred pesos and it is served in a large bowl, good enough for 3-4 persons. Their delicious sisig, as shown above cost 160 pesos, a serving enough for three people.

Hairy Tree at the NFA Baler Office
I’ve never seen a tree so hairy.
Inside the Balete
This is what it looks like from the center of the tree.
At the foot of Balete.
Talk to me and tell me tales of the past?
So many foodhouses. This was where we had lunch.

The next morning was the last day for our work travel. But we first headed for a little trip to the 600 year old Balete Tree at Maria Cristina. Visitors were allowed to climb up to three meters at the outer and inner part of the tree. The tree stood high and grew wide that it formed a little walkable path inside. I was not aware of the three-meter rule until I’ve climbed at least five meters inside the tree. It looked lonely though. It’s been living for almost a century.

Ermita Hill View Deck
This view is just magnificent.

Beside the places I’ve shared on this blog, there are still more to visit at Aurora. There’s the Baler Museum, Diguisit Beach, Mother Falls, Tanawan Falls, Dingalan Bay, Dipaculao Beach (which was between Baler and Casiguran, unfortunately, we did not make a stop there), and a couple more beaches.

4 thoughts on “WorkGoals Series: Aurora

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