Baler, Aurora

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Downtown (Poblacion)
Downtown (Poblacion)
Official seal of Baler
Nickname(s): Birthplace of Philippine surfing
Location in the province of Aurora
Baler is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
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Country [[{{#property:P17}}]]
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Province Aurora
District Lone District
Founded 1609
Barangays 13
 • Mayor Nelianto C. Bihasa (LDP)
 • Vice Mayor Karen G. Angara-Ularan (LDP)
 • Total 92.55 km2 (35.73 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 36,010
 • Density 390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code {{#property:P281}}
Dialing code {{#property:P473}}
Income class 2nd class

Baler is a second-class municipality in the province of Aurora, Philippines.[4] It is the provincial capital of Aurora. It is located some 230 kilometres (143 miles) northeast of Manila via a mountain pass accessible by bus and private vehicle. It is host to spectacular geographic formations and is situated on a vast plain at the south end of Baler Bay, a contiguous segment of the Philippine Sea.

It became the capital of Aurora on 14 June 1951 under Republic Act No. 648[5] signed by President Elpidio R. Quirino. It remained the seat of government of Aurora on 21 November 1978 under Batas Pambansa Blg. 7[6] signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

It was identified by Google in 2009 as topping the list of beach destinations in the Philippines.[7] It was described by Yahoo! Southeast Asia in March 2013 as one of the "top surf spots" in the Philippines.[8] Nine-feet waves serve as its main tourist asset, attracting hundreds of surfers during the surfing season from September to February.

According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 36,010 people.[3]


Baler is politically subdivided into 13 barangays.[2]

  • Barangay I (Poblacion)
  • Barangay II (Poblacion)
  • Barangay III (Poblacion)
  • Barangay IV (Poblacion)
  • Barangay V (Poblacion)
  • Buhangin
  • Calabuanan
  • Obligacion
  • Pingit
  • Reserva
  • Sabang
  • Suklayin
  • Zabali


Spanish colonial period

Filipino troops of Colonel Tecson in Baler (May 1899)

In 1609, seven Franciscan missionaries, led by Fray Blas Palomino, founded the settlement of Baler, which was later converted into a pueblo (town) by the Augustinians and the Recollects in 1658. Due to scarcity of religious missionaries, the Franciscans again took over the administration of the settlement in 1703.

On 27 December 1735, a great storm came and a huge wave called tromba marina devastated the old town settlement, then located in Barrio Sabang. Among the survivors were the Angaras, Bijasas, Bitongs, Lumasacs, Carrascos, and Pobletes who swam toward the nearby Ermita Hill.[9] A new community sprang into what is now the Poblacion of Baler, leaving "Kinagunasan," the place of devastation.

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Church

On 27 June 1898, 15 days after the Philippine Independence was proclaimed, 54 Spanish soldiers of the Baler garrison, under the command of Captain Enrique de las Morenas y Fossi, made the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa church their barracks. When Captain De las Morenas died on 22 November 1899, Lieutenant Saturnino Martin Cerezo replaced him. On 2 June 1899, the last Spanish garrison in the Philippines surrendered after the Siege of Baler, effectively ending over 300 years of Spanish rule in the country.[10]

American colonial period

In 1901, the Americans incorporated the town into the province of Tayabas (later named Quezon province). Before the Americans came, Baler was under the district of El Príncipe.

The Comedia de Baler of Aurora mounted its first production in 1927. It was supported by then President Manuel Luis Quezon and enjoyed the collaboration of artists Fortunato Esoreña and Alejandro Ferreras and arnis expert Antonino Ramos. Still alive until today, it features a group of colorfully attired performers using authentic weapons, like swords and knives, in their plays.

Japanese occupation

In 1942, Japanese troops entered Baler, where they made the Baler Elementary School building as their garrison under the command of a certain Captain Hattori. The general headquarters and camp base of the Philippine Commonwealth Army from 1942 to 1946 and the Philippine Constabulary from 1944 to 1946 were stationed in Baler. In 1945, Filipino and American troops landed in Baler, including Filipino troops of the 3rd Infantry Division, the 5th Infantry Division, the 51st Infantry Division, and the 52nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary, the local recognized guerrilla unit, and the American troops of the 6th Infantry Division of the United States Army. The retreating Japanese troops destroyed the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Church in Baler.[citation needed]

Post-war period

On 14 June 1951, by virtue of Republic Act No. 648,[11] Baler became the capital town of the sub-province (and later, province) of Aurora.

In 1956, the barrio of Dingalan was converted into a municipal district within Baler and later became a town in its right.[12]

Conversion to Cityhood

The League of Cities of the Philippines has the expanding disagreement in opinion against the conversion of sixteen municipalities into constituent cities. The LCP had tried to influence President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to certify as call for immediate attention a draft of a law imposing a suspension on the conversion of additional towns into cities.

On the other hand, former Senator Edgardo Angara expect that Baler, the birthplace of the late President Manuel Luis Quezon, will ultimately reach the state of being a city within the year. A bill converting the town of Baler into a city has been filed by House Deputy Majority Leader and Aurora Congressman turned Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, a son of former Senator Ed Angara.

Local Government Code states that before a town could be classified as a city, it must have an annual income of at least Php100 million and a land area of at minimum 100 square kilometres (39 square miles) or a population of 150,000.

Senator Angara advocates House Bill 24 filed by Zamboanga Sibugay Representative ANN Hofer giving automatic cityhood to capitals of provinces without cities by freeing the capital towns of provinces from the income needs of the cityhood.


Population census of Baler
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 24,689 —    
1995 26,919 +1.63%
2000 29,923 +2.29%
2007 34,492 +1.98%
2010 36,010 +1.58%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][13]

Tourist spots

  • Aniao Islets
  • Aurora Memorial National Park
  • Baler Bay
  • Cemento Beach and Cobra Reef
  • Dicasalarin Beach/Cove
  • Dicaloyungan Picnic Zone
  • Digisit
  • Dimadimalangat and Luksu-lukso Islets
  • Doña Aurora Memorial Shrine
  • Ermita Hill
  • Lieutenant Commander James C. Gilmore Marker
  • Museo de Baler
  • Quezon Memorial Park – the birthplace of President Manuel L. Quezon
  • Sabang Beach
  • San Luis Obispo Parish (Baler Catholic Church) – famous for the Siege of Baler in 1898–1899 between the Philippine Revolutionary forces and Spanish troops during the Philippine Revolution and Spanish–American War
  • Santo Entierro

Filming locations

Apocalypse Now, directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Hollywood actors Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, and Martin Sheen, was filmed in Baler and at Baler Bay.

Baler, a Filipino epic film directed by Mark Meily in 2008 has some locations filmed in Baler. It stars Jericho Rosales and Anne Curtis.

Notable personalities


Sister cities


  1. "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Province: AURORA". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 23 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 22 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI) – Baler
  5. Republic Act No. 648 - An Act Creating The Subprovince Of Aurora, Which Shall Comprise The Municipalities Of Baler, Casiguran, Dipaculao And Maria Aurora, Province Of Quezon
  6. Batas Pambansa Blg. 7 - An Act Separating the Sub-Province of Aurora from the Province of Quezon and Establishing It as an Independent Province
  7. Google searches reveal top tourist spots
  8. Get stoked at these top surf spots
  9. History of Baler
  10. Lieutenant Saturnino Martín Cerezo surrender after 340 days of siege
  11. "An Act Creating the Subprovince of Aurora, Which Shall Comprise the Municipalities of Baler, Casiguran, Dipaculao and Maria Aurora, Province of Quezon". Retrieved 12 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "An Act Creating the Municipal District of Dingalan in the Municipality of Baler, Subprovince of Aurora, Province of Quezon". Retrieved 12 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links