Baler: Surfers will go where waves are | Inquirer News

Baler: Surfers will go where waves are

/ 05:55 AM January 06, 2018

A surfer braves the waves of the Pacific Ocean at Baler town in Aurora province. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— Any place may claim to be a surfing capital, but surfers will go anywhere with the best waves.

That’s the reason the Baler government in Aurora province will not contest House Bill No. 6683, passed on third reading last month, that seeks to declare La Union province as “surfing capital of Northern Luzon.”


“La Union has long been positioning itself as the ‘surfing capital of the North.’ The branding of Aurora, particularly the capital town Baler, is ‘Birthplace of Philippine Surfing,’” Michael Palispis, Aurora tourism chief, told the Inquirer by telephone.


“When I started the program [promoting surfing in Aurora], the Department of Tourism was giving all-out support to La Union and Siargao (in Surigao del Norte province) and yet Aurora, to date, has the biggest surfing industry [locally],” Palispis said.

In 2016, 638,680 tourists flocked to Aurora while the number increased to 493,630 as of September 2017. The number of surfers is not counted but surf camps fronting Baler Bay have been filled to the brim with wave riders, Palispis said.

Noel Tolentino, board chair of the Aurora Surf Riders Association Inc., said he felt uneasy about La Union’s new brand.

“It’s my personal opinion. We are going to have a meeting to come up with a common stance on this matter,” he said.

He said his uneasiness came from the unique history of surfing in Aurora in that part of the Pacific Ocean. In 1979, he and his brother, Raul, and other Baler residents, picked up the sport after director Francis Ford Coppola wrapped up the shooting there of several scenes in the epic war film, “Apocalypse Now.”

They used surfboards abandoned by the actors. Charlie’s Point, which is actually at the mouth of Aguang River, got its name from the film’s line: “Charlie, don’t surf.” —TONETTE OREJAS

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TAGS: Aurora, Baler, Surfing, waves

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