The Philippine Star, Feb. 10, 2007
A different kind of surfing in BalerThe town of Baler is rich in history. Founded in 1609, it is birthplace of Manuel L. Quezon, president of the Philippine Commonwealth. In 1735, it was engulfed by a tsunami, and in 1899, Spanish resistance fighters made their last stand against American troops in Baler church.
Nowadays, the town is a popular surfing hub, known for its nine-foot high waves and 4.5-meter barrels in Cemento Reef, where the annual Aurora Surfing Cup is held.
Last December, a different kind of surfing began to take place in Baler, and students from Aurora's best public high schools were the first to make waves. Smart Communications Inc. launched the Smart Teacher Learning Resource Centers at Baler National High School and Aurora National Science High School.
Public high school students in Baler are now enjoying the marvels of information and communications technology (ICT). The capital town of Aurora province is about eight hours from Manila by land travel, accessible only through the Sierra Madre mountain range. But with ICT at their fingertips, in a matter of seconds, the students can now take a virtual tour to any part of the world.
"The Smart Schools Program brings Internet connectivity to public high schools and helps pave the way for ICT development in these schools," said Darwin Flores, Smart public affairs senior manager for community partnerships.
Networked computers and peripherals are installed in the chosen schools, along with one-year free Internet connectivity.