It was a beautiful morning that greeted us, a promise of a great day and at the same time warning of rain. When we had our tour of some parts of Aurora, we stayed at a family friend's home/vacation house. They do not live here anymore and visit once in a while.
The first order of business is food so off to the market we go.
These are the kinds of fish they have but we cannot choose what to buy. We ended up buying chicken, vegetables and dried fish instead.
After breakfast, we then headed to the capital of Aurora - Baler.
The municipality of Baler became the province's capital on June 24, 1951. According to history, it was a Franciscan monk, Fray Blas Palomino, who founded the settlement of Baler which later on became a town. Some missionaries took over but it was again took over by the Franciscans.
Unfortunately, a huge wave destroyed this town in 1975. Leaving the old town, a new town was then set up on what is now Poblacion of Baler. See Ermita Hill. The town was incorporated to what is now Quezon province under the American colonization in 1901. It was under the Japanese regime from 1942 until the Filipino and American troops took over in 1945.
Balerenos are what you call the townsfolk. The early settlers were Aetas and Ilongots. The town was only accessibly by sea. Traders soon brought different settlers from far and near places including Tagalogs. Some of these traders migrated and married with the early settlers. Tagalog or Filipino and Ilocano is predominant language here.
This towering monument in the center of the town symbolizes the 400 years of Baler's history and culture. There are four pillars in total - each pillar representing 100 years. Horizontal bars are interconnecting these pillars which represent the unbroken history of Baler.
The platform in which this structure stands is made of Vigan tiles giving reference to the Spanish heritage of the town.
Junyee or Luis Yee, Jr. who was trained as a sculpture was the brainchild of this monument. He is known for his large-scale installation art installations. He thinks with installation he can combine sculpture, painting, etc. in his works.
This symbolizes strength and overcoming adversity. This project was funded by Senator Edgardo Angara and was inaugurated on August 19, 2011.
These surfboards are beautiful painted which indicates Baler as a surfing spot. Also, beside the town logo is a mural of Baler's history.
Museo de Baler or Baler Museum houses artifacts, memorabilias, earthenwares and even Baler's son President Manuel Quezon's restored presidential car. It houses items from the Galleon Trade. There were paintings, photos and other visual arts. There were even letters and reports from the Franciscans missionaries who settled here during the 1600s.
The cold cast mural was sculpted by Toym Imao. It was commissioned by Senator Angara and Baler Historical Committee and inaugurated in 2002.
The entrance is 30 PHP per head. No wearing of hats, eating, taking videos or bringing of pets in the museum.
The statue of President Manuel Quezon is at the center of the park. He was born in Baler in 1878. He became the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines fro 1935-1944. He is known to be the first and second president - first to lead the commonwealth but considered the second president of the Philippines.
The replica of the house (Casa de Maestro Lucio) where President Quezon grew up can also be found in the park just beside his statue. Here you can find photos of the president and snapshots of his life.
A marker was also erected in memory of the veterans who served with valor and heroism during the war.
There is an area for slides and swings in the park. Also, around the park are souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.
After a little historical tour, we visited one of the coconut farms of our host. Coconuts and rice are two of the major products of Baler. We had trouble finding our way to the farm. Our host had not been to the farm for a long time and the change in landscape did not help. We asked around and finally found it.
The purpose of our visit was to bring home some coconuts as well. We have to call a coconut picker to help us.
The picker had a contraption attached to his hips and legs to help him climb up the trees. He then ties the coconuts to a rope and lowers it down the tree.
We had our fill of fresh coconut juice using a bamboo straw.
We also took a break and spent a few minutes in one of the seashores of Aurora.
It was a beautiful way to end the day. I was about to get in the car when I noticed this rock. It depicts the face of what seems to be an old man. I feel like there is a story behind that. It has the face of man longing for someone or something.
Come and visit Aurora. Visit its lovely beaches and surf. Know of its rich historical culture. Dive into its cool refreshing waters that only the verdant Sierra Madre can offer. Aurora is six hours from Manila.
You can check out other blogs I posted about Aurora: