Image courtesy of Costa Pacifica Raintree, used with permission.
When it comes to interesting but hidden destinations, you can always trust surfers to sniff them out before everyone else (see: Bali, Indonesia), and Baler, a coastal town in the Philippines, looks like it's next in line.
Baler sits in front of the Pacific Ocean, which produces nine-foot-waves between October and February for surfers arriving at the gray-sanded Sabang Beach. Sabang's sandy bottom is ideal for starting surfers: no fear of getting scarred by jagged rocks under the pounding surf!
The town's present popularity with surfers belies its deep historical roots - founded by Spanish colonial authorities in the 17th century, the town prospered under the rule of Spanish missionaries and civil authorities until the Philippine revolution of the late 19th century. Baler, in fact, was the site of the last Spanish garrison in the country to surrender.
That funky crossroads between natural thrills and historical context can be an excellent spot for a resort that caters to both body and soul, and that's where the new Costa Pacifica Raintree in Baler, Quezon places itself.
The Costa Pacifica Raintree opens in the first quarter of 2013 on a picturesque stretch near Sabang Beach: perfectly placed for sweeping sunrise views of the Pacific. Surfers get intimate access to their favorite breaks, and if they plan to stay in for a while, the resort's 108 elegant suites are ready to oblige: all come with air conditioning, LCD TVs with cable access and WiFi access too.
Surfers on Sabang Beach, Baler. Image courtesy of Costa Pacifica Raintree, used with permission.
The views of the Pacific Ocean enliven the Costa Pacifica Raintree experience, providing a great dining backdrop for guests eating their breakfast buffet at the Beach Shack, or setting up a conducive atmosphere for convention-goers meeting at the Pavilion overlooking the sea.
The Pacific Ocean location aside, guests enjoy plenty of amenities to keep themselves occupied. Around the resort, the pool and gym will tempt active guests of all ages - even kids can get in on the act with an activity room and gym of their own. And apart from the Beach Shack, the Café Rosa presents its own twist on in-resort dining, serving authentic Baler cuisine all day long in a Mediterranean-inspired setting.
Best of all, the Costa Pacifica Raintree puts guests in the middle of the Baler experience, which encompasses so much more than just the surf. The town's past can be rediscovered by guests in places like the Quezon Memorial Park, a shrine in honor of Baler's favorite son, the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth Manuel Luis Quezon; and at Ermita Hill, a park that also commemorates the great tsunami of 1735, a disaster that forced the town to rebuild three miles inland.
Ermita Hill tsunami memorial. Image courtesy of Costa Pacifica Raintree, used with permission.
Beyond the town, visitors to Baler can look to other seaside attractions, including white-sand Dicasalarin Beach (better for swimmers than surfers) and off the coast of Baler, the the islands of Aniao, Dimadimalangat, and Lukso-Lukso.
Baler is located about 89 miles northeast of Manila; you can take the five to six hour trip from the capital via Genesis Bus Lines (genesistransport.com.ph). Hopefully the Costa Pacifica Raintree will be ready to serve you then; for booking inquiries, log on to firstname.lastname@example.org or call their Manila phone numbers: +63 2 576 4555. You can also visit their site, www.costapacificaraintree.com.