How’s the Weather in PAGASA Baler?

"Typhoon (insert name here) is estimated XXX kilometers east of Baler, Aurora…”

Most of us Filipinos have heard or read about this announcement every time there is an upcoming weather disturbance in the Pacific, and the capital town of Baler in Aurora Province is the reference point. PAGASA, the state meteorological agency of the Philippines, has a weather station in this laid back town, and is one of the town’s ‘must visit’ attractions.

The weather station with the Doppler radar dome up.

That Christmas Day, we woke up with Amihan, or northeast monsoon, was on full force over Baler. Rainy and very very cold (for a sea level town standards). Wouldn’t it be nice to ask our weatherman in the weather station? So our family decided to visit the weather station and ask manong weatherman.

A view of Discalsarin Cove from PAGASA Baler Weather Station while Amihan was in full force.

PAGASA Baler Weather Station is located more than 10 kilometers south of the town proper at Barangay Zabali. Perched up in the hill near Discalsarin Cove, the weather station has a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean and the green Sierra Madre behind it.

The office

Going there is an adventure itself, with amihan. Landslides along the way with such rough seas along the windswept coast—as if we are in some Scottish island! Climbing up the steep one-way pavement with a car is also something else.

Solar panels…but where was the Sun?

Is that the rain gauge?

The weather station was built in the 1990s. Interesting fact also is that it was the first one to have a Doppler radar installed—bringing more accurate forecasting, especially rain volume. You may visit Baler’s Doppler radar images at Project NOAH website. We were lucky enough to see the Doppler radar operating at that time (that is why we have no “rooftop shot” of the station).

Baler’s Doppler radar image

Manong Weatherman spent his Christmas up in the hill, in service of the Filipino people. He said that amihan was blowing from Japan and Russia, hence bringing cold air and rains in Aurora. However, he also mentioned that by the time we cross back Sierra Madre Mountains, we’re back with the familiar sunny, dry, yet cool weather of December (and yes we did when we reached Nueva Ecija, there was no rain!)

The Doppler Radar facility

Our visit was short yet infomative. We get to know how this little dispatch up on a hill serves as an important ‘watchtower’ for the people in Luzon and the rest of the country. While a lot of us are criticizing our state meteorological agency for their inaccuracies, the people like the manong weatherman in PAGASA Baler Weather Station, dedicate their lives in improving weather forecasting…willing even to spend Christmas away from his family.

Manong weatherman on the table

How to Get there:

Tricycles are not advisable to go up to PAGASA Baler Weather Station because it’s too steep. You may rent a tricycle from the market place and negotiate how much are you willing to pay for the driver to bring you there and have him wait at the base. Going there, you may need to climb up 30 minutes…not unless you have a car, van, or a motorcycle.

(This was originally posted on now defunct on 10 March 2013)