How It All Started?
It all started with a solo photoshoot in Liwliwa, Zambales when I was taking to beach photographer Tiara Mejos in between the shoot for a possible collaboration. I told her that this year would be a year of networking and building strong base for journeyingjames. She mentioned about her good friend Mitch Escal (MUA) and I told her I have a friend with the same name who also is helping me with my tours. That was it- “CAMP, SHOOT & SURF” was born and we did our very first “Surf and Shoot Tour” in Calaguas. Because of much success and demand for it, we decided to do it again, this time in Baler.
I planned to bring a maximum of 20 people only. 20 became 30 and then it ballooned to 40. What will I do? Shoo-away those who want to chill at the beach and experience #journeyingjamestours? Big groups like this is kinda hard to managed but I’m thankful for my team- Emm for leading the bike tour, Arvin and Jojo for taking care of the food, food and more foods, Tiara and Mitch for the amazing photoshoot. Buti nalng walang “pasaway” sa grupo (ako na ata pinaka-pasaway).
Anyway ff is the itinerary that we used during the tour. If you want to DIY Baler, feel free to use this as a guide. All photos are from Jojo Pauly of PhotoJOJO.
Day 1 (Friday)
10pm Meet-up McDonalds QC Ave, just below QC. Ave MRT Station
11pm Go to Baler
Because the group is too big, I thought it would be fitting if I myself do the briefing at McDo QC Ave an hour before we leave. It was great to see those who have joined the 1st Surf and Shoot tour and new participants as well. This is exciting!
Day 2 (Saturday)
5:30am Arrive at Baler
6am Breakfast (KKB)
7am Check-in at Tent City
8-11am Free Time / Surfing / Photo Shoot*
1-2pm Free time/ Surfing / Biking
3-6pm Photo Shoot*
7pm Ihaw-Ihaw Dinner / Boodle Fight
8pm onwards Stargazing / Socials / Bonfire
We left before midnight and arrive too early in Baler. Had a quick dawn and waves patrol before we headed to “rolling stores” for breakfast. The itinerary is kinda relaxed- you choose your own adventure:
- sign-up for the photoshoot
- learn to ride a bike
- try surfing
- take a nap
That was the activity for the whole day, well, as long as there’s still natural light from the sun. Ohhh, I should not forget the boodle fight that lunch which will continue until Sunday.
We did everything except for the bonfire as it rained during the night. As everyone started to crawl into their tents and kubo, some decided to stay behind and followed the IT called “socials.” Thus the “Socials Group” was born. Nothing fancy though and you didn’t miss anything as we just had the time of our lives- bonding over some rhum with iced tea. And yes, we had so muuuuuuuch fun and laughter.
Day 3 (Sunday)
5:45am Sunrise Watching
7-10am Go to Waterfalls
11am Balete Tree
1-3pm Free Time / Surfing
4pm Head back to Manila
5pm Pasalubong Center
8pm Dinner at San Jose, Nueva Ecija (KKB)
11pm ETA Manila
I was wrong when I predicted that these guys will wake up at 7am. NO! They were up even before sunrise and area very eager to go to the Waterfalls. Maybe because they really want to get the most out of this tour so everyone was ready.
We had a quick breakfast of local delicacies (yes, we support local products), coffee and hot chocolate. Then we headed to Brgy. Ditumabo and did a 45-minute trek to the mother falls. Of course, we had so much fun and I think, 1/4 of those enjoying the waterfalls are my tour participants. Awesome!
Before going back our campsite, we had a quickie at Maria Aurora to check out the famous “Balete Tree.” Some opted to climb it while some are contented to just have a photo with it. Ohhhh man, it was really huge that we cant even hug it all.
After lunch, we broke camp and had more time for surfing or just chilling on the beach.
I guess we will continue doing this in the future. You can check the Portraits of this Tour here: “Baler Summer Photoshoot.”
Where to Stay/Eat/Rent a surfboard in Baler?
Please check my updated “BALER TRAVEL AND SURFING GUIDE.”
What did this tour accomplish?
1. Because Php100 from the registration fee is automatically deducted, we raised Php3,300 for #PROJECTJOMALIG. This is our way of helping a small fishing community in Jomalig Island, Quezon- providing vitamins and food supply to the kids.
2. It became an avenue to meet new friends and travel buddies. #nuffsaid
Next “SURF & SHOOT TOUR” will be in Dahican Beach, Davao Oriental. Book your plane tickets now and join the fun.
___ ___ ___
You see, when you join our tours, you not only enjoy, you also get to meet new friends but more than that you get an opportunity to help small communities So thank you so much Arnold, Celine, Hannah, Darryl, Clemhyn, Erick, Mika, Anthony, Aileen, April, Niiru, Kareen, Paul, Ags, Leilani, M, Dranreb, Eileen, JC, Duane, Carmi, Mayrene, Aiza, Alex, Vida, Joemel, John, Syl, Vhince, Vianca, Jeremy, Steph, Alpie, Jet and Leroy.
Thanks again Tiara, Mitch, Emm, Arvin and Jojo fro everything! Until next time. Thanks din Mitch Sy for coordinating.