Guest Post by Derek Gauthier
With tons of world-class surfing spots in the Philippines, the country has become a popular destination for surfers. Tons of beaches in the country feature some of the best waves that both beginner and pro surfers can enjoy.
With 7,107 islands in the Philippines, over 36,000 km coastline, and access to the Pacific Ocean, the Philippine Sea, the South China Sea, and the Celebes Sea, the country has countless beaches.
Although not all of them are ideal for surfing, there are some great destinations with impressive waves that you wouldn’t want to miss. You have options to go to popular surfing spots in the Philippines or the lesser-known surfing beaches if you want a level of privacy.
Popular Surfing Spots in the Philippines
Some surfing spots in the Philippines are the go-to vacation destinations for those who are looking for world-class waves. From professional surfers to celebrities, these beaches have seen so much action.
There is nothing more popular than the place that birthed the surfing culture in the Philippines. Baler, Aurora is among the top, if not the first, surfing spots in the Philippines that surfers visit when they are in the country.
Baler has tons of surfing spots you can visit. You can ride medium-sized waves in some spots like the famous Sabang Beach. If you want much larger and stronger waves, you can also experience that in Baler, particularly in Cemento Beach, which is a go-to destination for pro surfers worldwide.
Surfing has become a popular activity in Baler, for both the locals, Filipinos from other parts of the country, and foreign travelers. It’s a great surfing hub whether you are learning how to surf, if you enjoy surfing, or you are doing the sport professionally.
The surfing spots in Baler are excellent to visit all-year-round, but massive northerly waves usually appear between October to March.
Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte
Another one of the popular surfing spots in the Philippines, one you shouldn’t miss is Siargao Island. It’s a top destination for both newbie and pro surfers alike. Siargao also became popular worldwide for its perfect reef breaks.
You can find gentle waves for newbies and those who are learning how to surf. However, there are also challenging, and massive reef breaks to keep expert surfers on their toes.
It is also one of the top surfing spots in the Philippines for pro surfers and international celebrities, so keep on the lookout if you visit the place.
The surfing season in Siargao is from September to May. But you can usually catch the perfect breaks coming in regular occurrence starting from November to February.
The “Happy Island” or Catanduanes is one of the top surfing spots in the Philippines for both beginner and intermediate surfers. Aside from world-class waves, you can also experience the stunning landscape of the area, surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful rock formations.
Although it isn’t as crowded compared to Baler and Siargao, Baras has become a tourist magnet, especially for avid surfers. Not all beaches in Baras are ideal for surfing, but if you come to the beach of Puraran, you’ll experience a consistent lineup of barreling waves.
Both local and national surfers flock in Baras, especially every October. It’s the peak time for the Catandungan Festival as well as the Puraran Surfing Cup that attracts pro surfers worldwide.
The best season for beginner surfers to visit Baras is from February to June when the water is much calmer. But if you seek challenging waves, between July to October is the best season to visit the area.
San Juan, La Union
Another one of the top surfing spots in the Philippines is San Juan in La Union. After the discovery of the impressive breaks in the area, San Juan went into rapid development to cater to the increasing number of surfers and tourists.
If you are looking for a great surfing destination in the Philippines, you wouldn’t want to miss San Juan. It’s close to Manila, making it easily accessible for travelers both from other parts in the Philippines and other countries.
San Juan has some of the best waves that are available all-year-round. There are also tons of surf camps you can check out. Swells peak between July to October and November to March. If you want the challenging waves, you can usually enjoy them around December to January in San Juan.
You can’t find white beach sands in Real, Quezon, which can be a turn-off for some beachgoers. Don’t let that fool you. This place offers some of the best breaks you can enjoy. Real is only a couple of hours from Manila, which makes it among the most accessible destination for surfers in Luzon.
Once the surfing season starts in the town, tons of surfers from Manila and other countries flock on the beaches in Real. The surf season in the area starts from August through March, but you can usually catch the best breaks around October to February.
Lesser-Known Surfing Spots in the Philippines
If you want to venture away from the busy surfing spots in the Philippines but still want the best waves the country has to offer, there are tons of lesser-known and yet-to-be-discovered surfing destinations.
Guiuan and Calicoan Island, Eastern Samar
The coastline of Eastern Samar features Pacific swells that you wouldn’t want to miss. The scenic beaches in the town have some of the largest waves you’ll ever see and experience. The surfing spot is ideal for intermediate and pro surfers, with the prettiest waves peaking between September and October. However, you can still get some longboarding waves between April and May.
Guiuan and Calicoan Island are two of the popular hubs in the area. However, these coveted surfing spots have protection from local surf communities. You can’t easily find them, but if you ask the locals nicely, they might steer you in the right direction.
El Nido, Palawan
El Nido, Palawan, was first famous for its beautiful beaches, among the best in the Philippines. However, it has also become a great spot that surfers want to visit. It has an extremely long coastline where you can see a variety of waves depending on the season.
From November to March or the Amihan season in the country, El Nido is a great hub for clean and long rides in the surf. It’s the best time to enjoy the breaks if you are still learning how to surf.
If you want to level up the adventure, you must visit El Nido between June to September or during the Habagat season.
With the expansive reach of El Nido, you can find tons of great surf spots that are hidden in plain sight if you want something more private.
Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur
Don’t confuse this surfing destination with Siargao, which is in Surigao del Norte. Surigao del Sur, on the other hand, is the home to small villages, including Lanuza, which features some of the dreamiest waves in the country.
If you are looking for wonderful surfing spots in the Philippines that are a bit secluded, then Lanuza is a must-visit. Compared to Siargao, this surfing destination is much more laidback, but have plenty of good breaks you can experience.
There are also different types of waves you can enjoy in Lanuza, even with its small radius. You can ride long and peeling breaks to fast and barreling ones. It’s a great surfing hub for both newbie and expert surfers.
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Another one of lesser-known surfing spots in the Philippines is Pagupud, Ilocos Norte. With a 12-hour drive from Manila, it is not the most accessible surfing spot, which is why the place isn’t too crowded.
Despite not having a lot of tourists flocking on the beaches, Pagudpud gives some of the best left-handers, which are perfect if you are using longboard surfboards, although it’s exciting for shortboarders too.
You can also explore Pagudpud further to find beaches that delivers more advanced breaks. There is one named Heartbreak, which is popular for the hollow and fast waves running on the shallow reef. If you are a pro surfer, this spot is a must-visit. Plus, it is almost always empty, since not everyone can take the challenging waves Pagudpud has to offer.
The Bicol Surf Region
Another one of the less crowded surfing spots in the Philippines is in the Bicol Surf region. Here, you’ll get countless of choices from Barcelona, Sorsogon to Bagasbas Beach, Daet, among many others.
Bagasbas Beach, in particular, has an expansive shoreline where you can discover multiple beach breaks, which is perfect as a training ground if you want to improve your surfing skills. It is where most aspiring surf champions train.
Meanwhile, Sorsogon has both crowded and crowd-free beaches. Some towns are home to surf camps where a lot of junior surfers and local kids flock the beaches. However, if you go to the town of Barcelona, there is usually a thinner crowd, if there are any people at all, but you’ll meet a ton of challenging reef breaks.
Although there are still tons of surfing spots in the Philippines, these are ten of the best the country has to offer to get that ultimate surfing experience.
About the author
Derek is an avid surfer living in Southern California and likes to spend his free time biking along the Pacific Coast Highway and reading up on the latest outdoor magazines. He is also a frequent contributor to Surf Hungry
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