Awesome Aurora

It is not often we hear this province being promoted as a vacation and touring destination. We heard it made news when a foreign movie "Apocalypse Now," (stars Robert Duval and Charlie Sheen) chose it as a location for a scene. Same is true with a local-award-winning movie "Baler." Oftentimes, it lands on headlines when it has been battered by typhoons, landslides and shaken by a recent earthquake.

Little did we know that this province in the North Eastern most of Luzon is an awesome mixture of history, nature, and beauty! A place that is awesome as Aurora!

In August this year, all eyes will be on Aurora as Mutya ng Pilipinas brings the glitz and glamour of its coronation night in the province's capital - Baler, also featuring the celebration commemorating its 400 years since its inception.


Baler is the home of two important Philippine figures - first commonwealth President Manuel Quezon and his wife Doña Aurora Quezon. Doña Aurora was known for her unwavering efforts to promote the social welfare of the people of Aurora. But in 1949, the province lost her in an ambush in the roads of Nueva Ecija. In her commemoration and as a deep respect and honor, the province was named after her.

Doña Aurora's name seemed to fit the province well as Aurora means the first appearance of light. Thus, light shed over the region when in 1951, the town of Aurora was formed as subprovince. On 1979, it was declared to be the 73rd province of the country.

Even today, a woman has made history - the incumbent lady Gov. Bellaflor J. Angara-Castillo is the first and only woman in Philippine History elected as majority floor leader of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines. During the 10th Congress, she had the most number of bills enacted into law, some of which now bring enormous benefits to the constituency of Aurora.

And the people of Aurora will experience double celebration as Mutya ng Pilipinas will showcase their province and Baler's 400th year Foundation.

Gov. Angara-Castillo said "very proud and very appreciative of the fact now Aurora will get more exposure not only in the Philippines but all over the world. We are doing our best to facilitate people in going to Aurora so that they can visit all these beautiful places. When the people go there, just let us know which ones you would like to see."

Common ground

And yes, there's a lot to see in this awesome province.

Nature, history and water are Aurora's charms. It is a place where history geeks, extreme adventurists and nature lovers can all meet. Just match your personality with Aurora's places and your trip will absolutely be a hit! You do not have to worry about language barriers because majority of the people speak Filipino. You can also learn Ilocano for they speak the regional dialect as well.

Baler Catholic Church

Baler Catholic Church is one spot you shouldn't miss. The church was the last garrison of Spanish Army of four officers and 50 men that was besieged by the Filipino freedom fighters. The besiege took a year from June 27, 1898 to July 2, 1899. So dramatic with so much historical valor, the war served as the inspiration of the movie "Baler."

Museo de Baler

History buffs can also catch a glimpse of the priceless relic of the "Campana de Baler" and other significant pieces of history in Museo de Baler. On the other hand, watching zarzuelas can take you back to Spanish Era where Muslims and Christians still fight. The play is staged during Aurora Day in February.

Paltic falls

Paltic falls or the Iner-Pacific Forest Resource Corporation (IFRC) used to be a nursery that raises hardwood such as Narra, Kamagong, Mahogany and Kapok. These trees will replace those cut from the over logged areas.

Balete tree

One tree that marked a World Record is the 600-year-old Balete Tree in Baler Park. Labeled as the Millenium Tree of the Philippines, the giant tree resembles the one we see folklore where fairies reside. If they were true, can we blame them for living in it. Its long roots and trunks made itself breathtaking. It will take 60 Mutya candidates holding one another in arm's length to circle this giant.

Restoring its beauty

It is also the lushness of its forest that made Aurora prone to abuse and illegal logging. Due to this illegal activities, flash floods and the landslides often hit the province. In 2007 alone, typhoon nina forced 100,000 residents of the province to evacuate.

As to the frequency of typhoons, the governor said, "lagi saming na-memention yun (typhoons) sa Baler e, pero samin, bale wala lang yun e. Ambon lang yun. Ang mga tao sa amin, matatag ang loob."

True enough, Aurora's resiliency bounced them back to lie and restore their beloved province's beauty. Thus, up until now, the rest of the world can enjoy and experience an awesome Aurora!