When the city pace gets a bit much, The Conservatory at Charlie’s offers an easy way to unplug—camping. Only this time, with warm meals, well-appointed tents, and good service. About a 6-hour drive from Manila to Baler, Operations Manager Carsy Araneta shares why the trip is worth it.
Tell us more about your location. Our campsite at Charlie’s Point is famous for its cameo in [Francis Ford Coppola’s movie] “Apocalypse Now”, which is why a lot of places in Baler are named Charlie’s [a reference to the movie]. Charlie’s Point is located at Brgy. Reserva, Baler, Aurora, about 10- 15 minutes from the Baler town proper.
Tell us more about The Conservatory. When you first enter, the whole area is filled with lush coconut trees and mountains as far as the eyes can see. You also have a river and a beach right by the campsite. Charlie’s [Point’s] surfing area is known for it’s big waves.
Describe The Conservatory experience. We always tell guests that the only thing they need to bring is a backpack of clothes, we’ll take care of the rest. Our camp assistants prepare everything—you wont have to worry about making beds or setting up tents, we want guests to fully relax.
How is this different from regular camping? Glamping? We don’t like to call it glamping. We like to think of [it] as a bridge between actual camping and feeling like you’re home. Each of our tents can accommodate 3 guests and have an outdoor porch. Basic visits include 5 meals and stand up paddelboarding (SUP) and kayaking. It’s a stepping stone for those who aren’t ready to rough it up just yet…. Yes, we do have bathrooms.
What’s the background story of how The Conservatory started? A couple of us friends would basically just come to Baler to surf and we loved it so much we decided to check for property and Charlie’s was perfect. We wanted to make something with zero impact on the environment. We don’t have electricity, we appreciate the natural sea breeze and the light of the moon. Sometimes on a super bright day we no longer need to use our lamps.
A typical day in The Conservatory: Is surfing at sunrise then having breakfast (it’s usually whatever is available in the market—tapa, tocino, skinless longganisa. Afternoons are spent either swimming in the river, going around with paddleboards, or listening to new birds by the mangroves. Late afternoon, I have my merienda and fresh buko and then draw or take a nap in our driftwood garden.
A typical night in The Conservatory: Watching the fireflies in the trees or listening to the ocean as it hits the shore. Quiet, calm and peaceful. I cap off my night at 9pm.
Favorite thing to do when it’s sunny: take a dip in the river or have fresh buko!
Favorite thing to do when it’s rainy: sleep and listen to the rain when it falls on the tent
Thing I miss the most when I leave The Conservatory is: the quiet and peace and the smell of fresh air. The air you breathe here can’t get as fresh. From our campsite, the nearest resort and road is kilometers away.
Baler is about a 6-hour drive from Manila, reachable by car or bus. The Conservatory at Charlie’s is a project of The Easy Adventure. Follow @easyadventure (Instagram) and visit theeasyadventure page on Facebook.
By Anika Ventura