I just love engaging locals in conversations. I learn the most from them. This is why for me, there’s no better way to travel but to do it like a local do. While its comfortable to rent vehicles and stay in comfortable resorts, it keeps you away from the real world – the one that locals had to live with and work around.
While I was in Baler, I learned that the local government tried (I think they’re still at it) to construct a bridge that would connect Sabang to the fishing barrio where Ermita hill is located. Their efforts of building that bridge had all failed. Wasting money and resources that the province don’t have (still locals find humor in this “kapalpakan” of their officials). There’s a bridge farther upstream where people with cars and rented vehicles (often tricycles for two hundred bucks or more) pass. The only reason tourist cross this river is to visit the site called Ermita Hill.
I found out from locals that it would only cost P5 to cross the river by a small wooden boat (paddled like a Venetian gondola) that can carry 4 to 6 people. So I walked from my place to the area where I can catch that five peso boat ride. There I saw some craftsman working on traditional fishing boats. There was some gambling going on as it was a Sunday.
The river is about 500 meters wide and since it rained hard the previous night, the water was murky and flowing a bit strong towards the bay (less than a kilometer from where we are crossing).
Still trying to write about that 3 day stay in Baler. What a great town. I heard that the town got battered by the recent typhoon(s). My prayers are with you Baler.