FER­TILE FRON­TIER

In Baler, de­signer Car­men Araneta found an av­enue to cul­ti­vate her cre­ative vi­sion

Northern Living - - NORTHERNER - TEXT EDLAINE FLOR

“When I first came to Baler, I in­stantly fell in love with the place. I be­gan think­ing of how to pre­pare the place for when the next ty­phoon comes,” says Car­men Araneta of Easy Ad­ven­ture. Back in 2014, they found this three-hectare land—suited for her eco-luxe camp visi­tors—that would com­ple­ment the place’s main at­trac­tion: surf­ing. Though some would use the word glamp­ing, Araneta be­lieves her busi­ness finds a good mid­dle be­tween the com­forts of a re­sort and an au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence of na­ture.

Al­ready eight months preg­nant as of writ­ing, Araneta has es­tab­lished a rou­tine and a new way of life in Baler. Away from the city, she wakes up at around 6:30 a.m., and along with her dogs and her hus­band Paolo Vil­la­corta, walks to the camp to have break­fast and even en­joys some of the ac­tiv­i­ties they of­fer such as kayak­ing and pad­dle board­ing. “I moved to Baler be­cause it doesn’t feel mod­ern. You don’t see fast food chains here; what you have here is fresh.”

Sub­se­quent to build­ing Easy Ad­ven­ture from the ground up, the soon-to-be fam­ily of three are al­ready work­ing on their or­ganic farm that will cater to visi­tors who also want to learn more about or­ganic farm­ing. The pro­duce from the farm will be used in their restau­rant.

Prior to mov­ing here and start­ing her re­sort, Araneta had al­ready es­tab­lished Carisse, a cloth­ing brand for is­land girls at heart: swimwear and ev­ery­day wear in­fused with a trop­i­cal vibe such as ruf­fled off­shoul­der tops. “I’ve al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated the woman’s body and I was in­spired by the ’70s and ’90s. Now that we live in Baler, I get in­spired by na­ture, the crash­ing waves, the flow of the sea.” She adds that she usu­ally drafts her de­signs when it’s hot. Though she’s ex­pect­ing a boy, Araneta soon ex­pects her la­bel to carry a line for girls, with linen and pom­poms as some of the ma­te­ri­als. “We’re go­ing to do a mom and baby [line], and that’s what I’m work­ing on now; it should be out by May.” The cloth­ing brand’s name is taken from Araneta’s child­hood nick­name.

To­gether with Araneta’s con­tin­u­ous search to fur­ther de­velop a more mind­ful busi­ness, Baler has also been evolv­ing ex­po­nen­tially be­yond their surf cul­ture. Baler’s coast is teem­ing with restau­rants and cof­fee shops. And be­yond the coast, Araneta hopes to high­light the pic­turesque meet­ing of the river mouth and the Pa­cific Ocean at Char­lie’s Point, fa­mous for its ap­pear­ance in Fran­cis Cop­pola’s 1977 clas­sic film Apoca­lypse Now.

I moved to Baler be­cause it doesn’t feel mod­ern. You don’t see fast food chains here; what you have here is fresh.”

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY ARTU NEPOMUCENO

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