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The laidback east coast town of BALER is known for its excellent if intermittent surfing: it was the location for the surfing scenes in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. The shots were filmed at a break known as Charlie’s Point located at the mouth of the Aguang River, which is a 45-minute walk north of the main surfing beach of Sabang. When the film crew departed they left the surfboards behind, kick-starting local interest in the sport.

You can surf year-round at Baler although the best waves usually come between October and February, especially early in the morning. While it’s the most convenient, Sabang Beach isn’t the only good spot for surfing: Cemento Beach, 6km east of Baler, sees waves of up to 4m. To get there, take a tricycle from Baler town to the river outlet south of Sabang Beach and then either hire a bangka for the ten-minute ride to Cemento or make the forty-minute walk.

If you aren’t looking for surf then you could try the white beach at Dicasalarin Cove, which can be reached by bangka from Baler (P3500 for a day-trip) or on foot from Digisit (2–3hr) which is 5km beyond Cemento. Further afield, Casiguran Sound is a calm and picturesque inlet around 3–4 hours north of Baler by either road (P162 ordinary bus, P595 a/c bus, P200 van) or sea. Protected from onshore winds and waves by a finger of hilly land, it is perfect for swimming and very undeveloped.

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