Our Baler trip is about to end, but wait! There are still two more scenic spots to conquer! The Hanging Bridge and the Balete Millennium Tree.
Hanging Bridge is located in Sitio Zabali and connects Barangay Tibang and Barangay Sabang. The bridge is actually built for the use of the locals and not intended for tourism. But since the bridge was set in a place visually spectacular, it gained popularity. It is now one of Baler’s famed tourist attractions frequented by visitors.
We were told by a local yesterday that the bridge was heavily damaged by the rampaging typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu) last October 18 of this year. We were lucky because as of our visit, the bridge was repaired and looked much better and stronger.
When we parked our van, surprisingly, there were no visitors in the area and so we had the place all by ourselves. We excitedly went up the bridge through the concrete steps and came up to a full view. The bridge was long supported by steel cables, with wood planks on top of steel and wood handrails. Compared to Hanging Bridge of Bohol, this one was less scary because it was improved.
We tried walking father, shaking and laughing out loud. We did it for few steps only because of lack of time. We have to go back to Manila before the night falls so we consumed the remaining minutes gazing at the beautiful view, savoring the fresh air and enjoying our happy photo ops.
Next stop, to the enchanting 600-Year Old Balete Tree in Barangay Quirino, Aurora. We diverted the usual itinerary in going to Baler. Instead of visiting it first, we rather made it last. When we parked our van, everyone got thrilled seeing the gigantic tree from afar. We paid for the entrance fee and came close to the tree which was locally called the Millennium Tree.
According to the Wikipedia, the Millennium Tree which is estimated about 600+ years old is the largest of its kind in Asia. It towers to 60 meters (200 ft) tall with its roots about 10 meters (33 feet) to 15 meters (49) feet in diameter.
We couldn’t get enough of just looking at it near the entrance so we walked around until a student guide approached us. He told us the nature of Balete tree, how it wraps its trunks to a host tree and eventually choke it to death. That is the reason why there was a hallow part inside because the original tree was dead. Interesting trivia. Thank you kid.
He showed us to a hole and every one of us went inside. It was humid and dark. But not so dark because there were glints of light passing through those trunks. The hallow chamber could fit several people. Just like little kids we roamed around, amazed and in awe, but not frightened at all. It was like a labyrinth; we walked in a path until we reached the other end and got out happily.
The last portion in this tour is picture taking while standing in a beanstalk. Some roots were slippery so we did not climb higher.
We ended up the day, cooling off with a bottled of mineral water and buko juice in the canteen.
Our Baler trip is now officially ended. Ask if we have fun? Certainly, we did. Every place has its charm, interesting history, culture, nice people, and nice food. I consider Baler as one of the best tourist destinations worthy of visit.
Till next time Baler! Mwah!