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Spots where you can go surfing in the Philippines

Surfing in the Philippines: Where and When You Should Go For Perfect Waves

If you’re looking to check surfing off of your bucket list, the Philippines might be the perfect place for you to do exactly that.

The Philippines is known all over the world as a top destination for a summer getaway with the country’s big supply of white sand beaches, beautiful coves, clear waters, and sun for days. But more recently, it’s becoming more well-known for more than just scenery — it’s becoming a hotspot for surfing.

Surfing has been growing as a sport in the Philippines, with more talented athletes showing off their skills and gaining local and global recognition. But this should come as no surprise, given the great waves you can find all over the archipelago.

Indeed, the Philippines’ vibrant surf scene can breed talents that are world-class. And if you’re eager to test out your wave-riding skills, these are the best places (and the best times) for you to try it out.

Surfing in the Philippines: Siargao
(Photo credit: Surfers of Siargao on Instagram)

What to know: Siargao is arguably the Philippines’ most popular surfing destination, as its coastline boasts 27 kilometers of waves, offering surf spots all over the island that cater to different experience levels. Cloud 9 is definitely the spot’s most popular destination, known to surfers from all over the world, but this is just one out of many. A surf trip here means you’ll get to ride waves in many different spots. So whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced surfer, you definitely need to check Siargao off your bucket list.

The top spots: Cloud 9, Quiksilver, Jacking Horse, Stimpy’s, Rock Island

When to go: Although Siargao’s main draw for surfers is its year-round swell, the peak usually runs from July to December thanks to the southwest monsoon, also known as habagat. During its peak months, waves can reach all the way up to 12 feet.

San Juan, La Union
Surfing in the Philippines: San Juan, La Union
(Photo credit: Jay-R Esquivel on Instagram)

What to know: Known as the Surfing Capital of the North, San Juan, La Union has become one of the most well-known places in the Philippines to go surfing. Among the city’s main draws is that it’s just a few hours’ drive away from Metro Manila, making it one of the closest surf destinations for city folk, and it’s also a great place for tourists looking for a beach getaway with great accommodations, great food, and friendly locals. But perhaps the biggest draw, especially among surfers, is that San Juan offers waves that cater to all levels, from beginners to professionals, and because of how well-known it is for surfing, there are many surf classes you can choose from.

The top spots: Monaliza Point, Carrile Point, Urbiztondo

When to go: The waves in San Juan, La Union follow the North Swell season and are brought about by the amihan winds. This usually runs from October to April, with December and January typically known as peak months.

Surfing in the Philippines: Baler
(Photo credit: Pilipinas Surfing on Instagram)

What to know: The birthplace of Philippine surfing is not too far away from Metro Manila; just a few hours by car or bus, Baler is one of the best places to visit to ride some quality waves. Located in the province of Aurora, Baler is best known for having waves all year round, but of course, the “best” time to go would still depend on your experience level. Apart from the waves, surfers also love Baler because of its long shoreline lined with many hotels, resorts, surf schools, and restaurants, making it a fit vacation destination for any kind of budget, with all the best spots in one place.

The top spots: Charlie’s Point, Sabang Beach, Secret Spot

When to go: Baler’s main attraction is its year-round waves. For beginners who are looking for more manageable rides, you can visit during the Philippines’ summer months, but for more advanced surfers, the peak waves usually run from around September to January.

(Photo credit: Pabst Camingue on Instagram)

What to know: Lanuza may have pebble beaches instead of the Philippines’ signature white-sand beaches that tourists seek out, but don’t be fooled — this is one of the country’s best spots for surfing. Located in Surigao del Sur, it’s recently grown in popularity as a spot to catch some waves. With numerous breaks, and because of its remote location, it’s a perfect place to go if you’re looking for a less crowded surfing getaway.

The top spots: Doot Poktoy, Punta, Sitio Badiang

When to go: If you’re looking for consistent waves in Lanuza, the best time to schedule your trip would be somewhere between November to March, with December typically as the peak month.

Real, Quezon
(Photo credit: Real Coast & Surf on Facebook)

What to know: If you’ve already checked your road trips to Baler and La Union off your bucket list, you need to visit Real, Quezon next. Even though it’s just around a four-hour drive from Manila, this surfing destination isn’t as big a tourist spot as other surfing destinations in the country, which makes it ideal for surfers looking for less crowded spots to ride waves. Think of La Union before it boomed into the hotspot it is today.

The top spots: Tignoan Beach

When to go: Real, Quezon’s surfing season normally starts in August and lasts all the way through March, but for peak waves, you should plan your trip somewhere between October to February.

Eastern Samar
(Photo credit: Province of Eastern Samar)

What to know: Eastern Samar is quickly turning into a more popular surf spot in the Philippines, and is now even regarded as the surfing capital of Visayas. Though it may be more of a commute from Metro Manila, the travel will be worth it, as waves hit many different spots on Eastern Samar’s 150-kilometer coastline, meaning there’s a lot to discover on this volcanic island. But apart from the great surfing, you’ll also be able to enjoy its underrated white-sand beaches, clear-water tide pools, waterfalls, and more hidden gems.

The top spots: Lalawigan Beach, Boulevard, Pirates Cove, Llorente

When to go: For bigger and cleaner conditions, the best time to visit Eastern Samar for surfing would be in between the months of November to March.

Daet, Bicol
(Photo credit: Bicol Traveler on Facebook)

What to know: The Bicol Region, though not as popular as Siargao or Baler, boasts some of the Philippines’ best waves, but one spot in particular that you should definitely add to your bucket list is Daet, as it is known as Bicol’s surfing capital. Daet’s five-kilometer stretch of year-round waves are perfect for surfers of any experience level, but the spot’s seabed of soft sand makes it all the more appealing to beginners who are still learning the ropes.

The top spots: Bagasbas Beach

When to go: Though Daet has waves all year round, the best time to visit for peak swells would be from September to May.

Banner image by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash.

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