BALER: The hungry ones go to Gerry

Walking around the province of Baler will take the joy out of you if you don’t know where to regain all your strength. So as hungry travelers, we decided to hit Gerry Shan’s Place for a simple buffet. It costs P120 and you’re free to eat whatever your mouth can chew.

Gerry Shan's
Gerry Shan’s (photo from

I contented myself with rice, all the available viands, all the available fruits from the punch (without the alcoholic ingredient of course), all the available sweets and all the available table napkins. It was heaven.

Two minutes after entering the restaurant, we’re full and ready to hit the road to our hotel from far far away.

We paid the two tryk drivers more than what they’re billing us because they were really good people. Plus, we wanted them to take us again for another round of radtrip the next day so we wanted to leave them satisfied.

Since our hotel was too far, we had to bid our drivers goodbye. The hotel owner had a son, who gladly picked us up from Gerry Shan’s place and we all made a move.

The trip took 30 minutes. We were half-sleeping on our way there. I asked kuya already about my curiosity in seeing Ampere Beach. We had a pit stop so I could take some photos. It was nice. Mid-sized pebbles filled the beach and massive waves crashed against the stones making the beach unattractive for lazy sunbathing.

Then we headed on.

The hotel, according to their Facebook page had all the “away from the city” amenities one needs in Aurora. And that includes a pool – by the roadside, so that passing people in passing cars and buses can share your swimming moments with friends.

It was quiet. Dark. In fact it was too dark that the road to it was only lighted by passing vehicles and the faint glow from inside the house-turned-into-a-BNB made us realise how far we were from civilization.

We silently alighted from the SUV and went inside to be welcomed by the lady owner and her husband. We passed by a family eating at the common dining area and went to our bedrooms.

Seeing that our room’s bathroom was only walled to our waists, we asked the guys to exchange rooms with us. We simply could not afford having unwelcome stares from random strangers from downstairs to know how we scrub our armpits.

Looking through our windows, the isolation pushed us into semi-depression so we all decided to take a swim. We tried the beach but it was too dark we thought we could hear another dimension from the darkness.

And the night was spent in silence in swimming the 4-meter diameter of the pool. And the light from the house slowly died as the family that was eating in the dining room already called it a night.

We could hear a hum from the television inside. The owners were watching late night news. I was thinking of the mangosteens. We stared at each other, absorbing the entire day as it passed by. There was no better place to ruminate than in that diminutive 3.5 feet pool. Every 5 minutes or so, a car would be passing by and share our silent moments by the water.

A dog could be heard from somewhere. The bats reminded us it was late. A few more submersions and it started to drizzle. We were tired and wanted to sleep. We battled it out a bit with the rain before heading inside. SZ went in first. Then by the time I finished with my shower, she was in deep sleep. I read some Bible verses before I turned in.

At 2 AM, it rained hard.

I awoke. But what good was it for? I had to start another day in a while.


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