Although it is not considered as a big surfing destination like Indonesia and Hawaii, the Philippines boasts of a lot of great surfing areas that is less crowded and can be a challenge to whatever level you are. The waves may sometimes be messy and unpredictable, but if you are lucky and after an adventure, then surfing in the country will not disappoint you. Surfing here is seasonal so it's important to know when is the best time to visit.
Below is a list of the most popular surfing spots in the Philippines:
- Cloud 9, Siargao Island Surigao del Norte - Siargao is located northeast of Mindanao and is considered as the "Surfing Capital of the Philippines". An international surfing competition is held here annually especially during October.The Cloud 9 wave is known worldwide for its thick, hollow tubes which surfers and adventurers love. Although Cloud 9 wave is the most popular in the area, other breaks include Tuason Left (for experienced surfers), Cemetery, Burgos, Rock Island, Jacking Horse, Stimpies and Pacifico. Best months in surfing this area is from August until the beginning of November when the area gets most typhoon swells and the best winds.
- Baler, Aurora Province - Baler is located on the northeastern coast of Luzon and surfing here depends on how the weather is doing. There is a wave just about all year but the peak period for good surfing waves is from October to February. The most popular reef is Cemento Reef which is about 10 minutes banca ride from the town proper. This right handed reef is not for the beginner. For first time surfers, Sabang Beach is recommended specially during the months of October to February. Other surfing areas in Baler are Charlie's Point where parts of the movie Apocalypse Now was filmed, and Lindy's point.
- Puraran Beach, Catanduanes - Catanduanes is located in the Bicol region off the coast of Legaspi City. The most famous wave here is The Majestics, which can be found in the gorgeous and picturesque beach in the village of Puraran. It is considered world-class and produces awesome long-barrel waves. This is a powerful wave so this means that just those with experience should attempt this wave as it is extremely dangerous. Best months to surf are from July to September.
- Daet, Camarines Norte - Daet is the capital of the province of Camarines Norte and located in the east coast of Luzon. Because of its location being relatively close to Manila, many surfers based in Manila are visiting here especially during the weekends. Like other surfing areas in the country, Daet's surfing is also seasonal but the best waves come around June to October although swells can be consistent throughout the year. The most popular surf spot is Bagasbas Beach, which is only a 5-minute ride from Daet airport and ideal for beginners and experienced surfers alike. Other surf spots in the area are San Jose, The River's Mouth and Tong's Point.
- Calicoan Island, Samar - Calicoan is located on the east coast of Samar Island and the prime surfing spot is the abcd beach where Surf Camp, a tranquil tropical getaway is located. This is definitely a must-see for surfers because of its coarse landscape, lush tropical forests, unspoiled beaches with crystal clear waters and surf waves. Best season for surfing is from April to November.
- Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte - Pagudpud is located on the northwest tip of Ilocos Norte in Luzon and is considered the largest island in the Philippines. With its crystal blue waters and white sand, Pagudpud beach is comparable to Boracay. Travel time usually takes 12 hours by bus from Manila. The avid surfers themselves owns and operates the resorts and surfing activities while a surfing clinic is also being offered for beginners. The Blue Lagoon in Maira-Ira point, which is 24km away from Saud beach has an astounding jade green waters and is the most popular spot for surfing especially on a windy day. Best months to go surfing here is during the typhoon season of July to September.
- San Juan, La Union - San Juan is 7km north of San Fernando, the capital of the province of La Union. Buses from Manila and San Fernando bound to Laoag, Vigan or Abra pass through San Juan, just don't forget to tell the driver to drop you off at one of the resorts which you can easily recognize by their billboards on the road. Surfing has become popular here and there are plenty of resorts along the sand to choose from which are reasonably priced, well-managed and serene. The resorts also offer surfing lessons and surfboard rentals. Good quality waves here on its best days can hold up to 8 to 10 feet. Best months to surf is from the beginning of October until the end of April.
- Lanuza Bay, Surigao del Sur - Lanuza has been hosting local and international surfing competitions and is famous for its 10 feet waves. The most popular surfing ground is Doot Poktoy, which has a soft, sand bottom and when the waves are good, it can measure up to the world renowned waves of Siargao and Hawaii.
- Vigan, Ilocos Sur - Vigan, the capital of the province of Ilocos Sur, is situated on the northwestern coastline of Luzon and considered one of the oldest town in the Philippines. Surfing here is seasonal but when it has good waves, it will definitely not disappoint you and in fact you will not get to share the waves with a lot of people. Best months to go here is from August to January when the typhoon has been in action in the South China Sea. Surfing spots are Manangat and Nalvo, Santa Maria.
- Zambales - Zambales is province located on the west coast of Luzon and is the nearest surfing destination from Manila requiring only 3 hours of travel time by land. Best time to go here is from May to November, when the waves can be consistent although not necessarily its biggest. Popular breaks are the Crystal Beach Break, High 5 Lahar and a number of breaks in Capones Island.
Wind en Kite surfing is also popular in The Philippines. Bulabog beach in Boracay is one of the best destinations to practice this sport. From November to the beginning of April the Amihan or north-east monsoon is blowing over the island and provides perfect conditions for windsurfers. In the beginning of January the annual Boracay International Funboard cup is held, which attracts kite and windsurfers from all over the world.
The man-made Lake Caliraya is about 100 km south-east of Manila and is becoming a popular kite and windsurfing spot because of its cooler climate (the lake is located 370 meters above sea level) and proximity to Manila. Facilities here are less developed than Boracay.