The Philippines is slowly emerging as a new, exciting surfing destination, thanks to its beautiful islands and uncrowded coastline. There are tons of unknown breaks dotting the archipelago and among those only a few surf hotspots receive most of the crowd. Given here are the shortlisted hotspots for surfing like a boss in the Philippines. Riding the best surfing spots in the Philippines has never been so enthralling!
Top surfing spots in the Philippines
Starting off the list with La Union which is one of the Philippines’ most enjoyable yet easy to pick up destinations for surfing. With just a little over 5 hours’ drive from the capital city, The La Union welcomes both novice surfers (from October to March) and advanced surfers (in December and January). The beachfront in San Juan is dotted with cool shops, hostels, restaurants and bars. There are three breaks on this beach alone, although surfers should also check out Carille and Bacnotan, a short ride from San Juan Beach. La Union has some of the most affordable surf schools in the country, so many beginners take to the waves for the first time here.
This location is very much called the ‘birthplace of surfing in the Philippines’ and surf first started in Baler after the crew of the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’ left the boards that were used in the filming. The locals figured out how to use them, and the rest is history. Baler is a small town six hours from Manila on winding mountain roads, but its soothing atmosphere and majestic mountains are well worth the trip.
Noteworthy is that Baler’s sandy beaches are the best surfing spots in the Philippines for newbies all year-round. The largest waves are at Cemento Reef, and show up from October to March.
The breaks on the eastern side of Samar are still largely unexplored, but that’s good news for surfers looking to escape the crowds. The surf emerges mainly from reef breaks making Samar more suitable for experienced surfers. Parola and Talisay are two reef breaks that provide big swells that will excite and challenge advanced surfers. Closer to town, Boulevard is a beach break that’s a favourite with the locals in the mornings and evenings. October to March is the best time to surf in Samar.
If mystical Baler claims a spot in the hearts of many Filipino surfers, Siargao is its fun-loving, party-going cousin. Siargao is a gorgeous island full of empty beaches, sparkling lagoons, and lush mangroves. This place is also the origination place of Cloud 9, the Philippines’ most famous wave which is a barreling tall right-hand reef break that’s been ranked one of the top 10 best spots to surf in the world by CNNGo. Away from General Luna, Siargao’s surf central, other quality breaks are scattered on the eastern side of the island and around small islands a short boat ride away.
Note that Siargao has almost no sand breaks and its waves are best tackled by intermediate to advanced surfers.
Another one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines is Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. That being said, Pagudpud is one of the least crowded of all the surfing destinations mentioned until now. This is because the waves here are also very powerful but are nevertheless the best surfing spot to learn how to surf. The resorts nearby offer surfing lessons to the tourists and the teachers are none other than the very experienced locals themselves! While you’re here, try going to Blue Lagoon, the surfing paradise in Pagudpud.
If you are visiting the Philippines to surf, your list of surfing spots is incomplete without including the famous Zambales. An easy getaway, Zambales is only a three-hour drive from Manila, making it popular with surfers from Manila. There are three main surfing spots in Zambales: San Antonio, San Narciso, and San Felipe. San Antonio is the busiest of the three. San Narciso is a little more remote but has strong currents to watch out for. San Felipe offers fun waves at an out-of-the-way location. The swell in Zambales never gets too large, making it ideal for intermediate and beginners surfers to sharpen their skills.
Even though it’s 12 hours from Manila, Gubat’s secret is slowly getting out. The serene Buenavista Beach is the absolute perfect spot for a laid-back and chilled surf holiday. Except for a few local cottages, this long white-sand stretch is completely undeveloped. The break is called ‘Breeding’ because the area used to be an agricultural breeding site. Most afternoons see locals enjoying the waves. There are two surf camps to choose from at the moment, but it won’t be long before more surfers show up in Sorsogon.
With many islands and an elongated coastline, it is certain that surfing is one of the best water activities in the Philippines. Cloud 9 in Siargao has been consistently rated as one of the best surfing spots in the world, but it’s not the only place where you can get stoked in the country. Hence, Riding the Best surfing spots in the Philippines should be an amazing and enthralling experience for any traveller who wished to have an adventurous journey to connect with the adrenaline of pure joy.
We have all watched a lot of surfing on TV or at beaches when we were young, but to experience it first hand is another feeling in itself. Anyone who has ever tried surfing at least once in their life will tell you that it is pure joy and puts a smile on your face every time. You just need to be mindful of the water conditions and listen to the local guides’ instructions very carefully.
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