The Roads To and From Baler
If you're wondering how to get to and from Baler, there are 2 routes you can take. If you use your vehicle's GPS, it will direct you to drive through Pantabangan to and from. But The Memet and I decided to mix it up a bit.
On the way to Baler, we went through Pantabangan and then on the way home, we drove through Bongabon.
Here's a helpful link on how to get to Baler from Manila.
My goal here is to show you what the roads looked like. Hehe! Here are some photos of the road to Baler via Pantabangan:
Here's a video too:
Although it had a lot of zigs and zags (Haha!), approximately 95% was nicely paved with a generous smattering of civilization here and there. It was quite a long drive though.
On the day we checked out from Costa Pacifica, we decided to ask around for directions on how to get back to Manila from Baler. A lot of the people we asked suggested we go through Pantabangan again. But a few mentioned that there was another option: Bongabon. It was supposedly 30 kilometers shorter compared to the road that we drove through in Pantabangan. The thing was, it was only around 30% paved (hello, rough road!).
When we told them we were driving an SUV, they mostly nodded and said that we can easily navigate through the unpaved roads. With that in mind, we decided to have a little adventure. With plenty of daylight left, we started our drive back to Manila via Bongabon.
With one look at the rough roads, it was quite obvious that Bongabon isn't safe during rainy weather. Landslide galore.
It was a thrill driving through a small river. I'm not sure it would be safe to drive a car through it. But an SUV won't be a problem. So long as the sun's shining and it isn't raining anywhere in the vicinity. The water was quite shallow when we crossed, but the current was pretty strong.
When we came across some clearings and easy to navigate roads, we couldn't help but stop and take in the view. It was awe-inspiring.
To sum it up, the rocky twists and sharp turns were aplenty via Bongabon, while there were few to no people at all. Some of the turns brought us face to face with a huge truck or two so, yeah, you can just imagine what it was like trying to get through that with only enough space for one vehicle.
The road through Bongabon actually led us through a part of the Sierra Madre mountain range that was in Aurora. Sometimes, I was busy holding my breath (mostly because of the close encounter with the cliffs) and sometimes, the view just took my breath away. Mother nature sure is a stunner.
WARNING: While I actually enjoyed our drive through Bongabon (a lot), I would have to warn y'all that you need to be extra careful (as if the photos aren't enough) if you decide to take the same route. Make sure you're driving an SUV (not a car) and that you have plenty of daylight left. It took us around 2-3 hours to get back to civilization. Hehe!
Your cellphones will highly likely not have any network coverage while you're up there, so be sure your vehicle's in tip top shape. You won't be able to call for help if your vehicle breaks down, and there aren't a lot of people who pass through there.
Be sure to check the weather too. Don't go through Bongabon when it's rainy. Read: LAND SLIDES.
With that, I'll leave you with a short video that I took while we were pulled over for a quick break somewhere in the wilderness. Hehe!