By Melo Villareal
The Philippines is a country that is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Celebes Sea, the Philippine Sea, and the South China Sea. And, if there’s anything unique about the Philippines, it’s the fact that it has 7,107 islands, and therefore 7,107—or more—potential surfing spots! Of course, not all of these islands and islets are developed for the purpose of surfing or doing any seaside activities (yet), but whether you’re a surfer, or just an enthusiast, the following are the ten of the thousands of surfing destinations in the Philippines that you wouldn’t want to miss:
Before going to any of the other surfing destinations in the country, you should first come to the birthplace of the surfing culture itself! Baler is the place where the 1970s classic Apocalypse Now was filmed. The crew left a surfing board to the locals, and, splash! The surfing culture is born in the country! The surfing spots in Baler accommodate both the novice and the advanced surfers. Sabang Beach is hit by medium sized waves, while Cemento Beach, which also hosts the local surfing competitions, offers large, stronger waves. The best time to come surfing in Baler is around October to April, when the northern swell brings about the perfect waves.
If going to Baler is not enough, then satisfy your waves of desires here in Siargao. Siargao is known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, and houses the world-famous Cloud 9 Beach, a surfing spot that ranks 8th as the best surfing sports destinations in the whole world. Just a word of caution, though: Siargao is not a place for the novice surfers out there! The waves here may reach up to 7 feet at most during the season, and it is therefore not recommended for those who have not mastered the sport. Still, Siargao is the best place to watch some of the world’s professional surfers firsthand, so you could learn from them.
La Union is very close to Manila, and is accessible via the roads. The waves here are perfect all year-round, but are at their peak level during the months of January and December. San Juan is known for offering perhaps one of the most affordable rates of surfing schools, and there’s also surfing shops where you can rent a surfboard, just in case you don’t have one. While you’re here, come see Carille (5 minutes from San Juan), one of the most recommended surf spots in the area.
Another surfing spot that is close to Manila (with only 90 minutes of travel time) is Real, Quezon. Unlike Baler and Siargao, the waves in Real, Quezon, are generally… friendlier, and is therefore recommended to the beginners out there! The waves here also break on sands, rather than hard coral reefs, so it’s less difficult to learn how to surf here. Depending on where you are, surfing lessons here are affordable, with prices starting at Php500 (with board included) only.
Being near Manila, the shorelines of Daet, Camarines Norte are dotted with tourists almost every weekend. But it’s not only the proximity that attracts tourists—it’s also the perfectly balanced waves! Depending on the season, the waves here welcome both the newbies and the veteran surfers. Bagasbas Beach in Daet is one of the most visited surfing spots in the region because its waves are moderately strong and break on sandbars, so you should try to come here too.
Although Zambales’ beaches are not as vast as those in the northern part of Luzon, it’s still a popular surfing spot for the locals and the tourists. The three surfing spots here are San Antonio, which becomes a surfer paradise during the months of April through September; San Narciso, which is not recommended for you if you can’t handle the strong currents; and, San Felipe, a hidden surfing spot that often offers long, consistent waves before breaking.
Another one of the country’s surfing spot bigwigs is Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. Although with that said, Pagudpud is perhaps the least crowded among the surfing destinations mentioned so far. The waves here are also very powerful, but is nevertheless the best surfing spot to learn how to surf. Some resorts nearby offer surfing lessons packages as well, and the teachers would be none other than the experienced locals themselves! While you’re here, try going to Blue Lagoon, the surfing paradise in Pagudpud.
The coastlines of Eastern Samar are yet to be explored, as one news agency reported. Although the 100 kilometer shores have been developed and discovered by the locals through the passage of time, many surfing spots have yet to be explored. Like other surfing spots in the country, the best season for surfing in Eastern Samar starts on the month of October. Here, the locals would recommend you to surfing spot Boulevard, as it offers surfers one of the best waves to ride, and also because it’s very close to the town proper.
Puraran in Catanduanes, is the most visited tourist attraction spot because of its picturesque view of the sea, the food the beach locals cook… and of course, because of its waves! Puraran is roughly an hour away from the town proper, but once you get there you’ll know it would be all worth it. The shore itself is hidden by the forest of coconuts, but once you hear the crashing waves, you know you’re in Puraran. There are a lot of surfing resorts in the area, so surfing shops, lessons, and/or rentals abound.
What used to be an agricultural breeding site is now slowly becoming one of the best surfing spots in the country. Sorsogon, with its surfing spot “Breeding”, used to only open to the locals. It was just recently when the spot was also introduced to the tourists as well. The waves in Breeding offer waves that break in reefs, and the best season to go surfing here starts at October and ends at March.