Baler History, Philippines
Proximity to any destination can be a huge factor for pushing a trip through. With Baler, it’s the spectacular geographic formations and its closeness to the Pacific Ocean that’s making it enticing for surfers and travelers from East to West.
This third-class municipality and capital of Aurora is considered as an economic and political center. With 29,923 people living in 14 barangays since 2000, it sets on a vast plain at the mouth of Baler Bay that’s contiguously a portion of the Pacific Ocean. The nine-foot waves that flaunt on the seas are attracting surfers worldwide especially during the Aurora Cup every February.
Baler was formerly called Kinagunasan with early inhabitants as Angara, Bitong, Carrasco and Lumasac families. It was in 1609 when seven Franciscan missionaries founded the city that was later converted by Augustinians and the Recollects into a town in 1658. But then again, the Franciscans came back for another settlement in 1703. When the Spanish colony ended in1899, the Americans made Baler part of Quezon (formerly Tayabas) after being under Nueva Ecija. It was only on June 14, 1951 when it was acknowledged as capital of Aurora.
The high waves on the place were discovered when a tidal wave struck in 1735 completely drowning the town of Kinagunasan. The parish priest of Casiguran, who was then visiting Baler, survived by swimming to the Hill of Point Baja. Families of Angara and Bitong also managed the sudden onslaught. Because the nearby towns of Casiguran, Dipaculao and Dingalan were left untouched, the calamity was taken into account as an inspiring legend of survival. It’s a story passed on from generation to generation.
Catholicism has sprung until Baler Church was put up. The Americans influenced the townsmen to govern by establishing a municipal government in 1901. History accounts distinctively say that Aurora was where the former Philippine President Manuel Quezon’s home and rest house was. Its deep connection with Baler Bay and the Pacific Ocean puts forth some picturesque waterfalls, panoramic beaches and big waves to surf on.
The town commemorates the so-called Aurora Day on February 19 where “Zarsuela”, an interplay drama and dance, is staged. Several acts depicting the Muslim-Christian conflict are performed in pantomime by talented ladies and gents portraying as princes and princesses, warriors and laymen.
This most progressive town in Aurora now possesses some great resorts, public institutions and facilities and attractive spots to enjoy not only during Aurora Cup. In any season of the year, you can see the truest jewels of nature and prided historical markers.
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