What better place to visit for a surfing adventure than the Philippines? You’ve got over 7,000 islands surrounded by water to choose from. Many places are quite easy to get to, and the combinations of surf and beach are endless.
The western Philippine islands are bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
On the eastern shores you have the South China Sea.
To the south, toward Indonesia, you have the Celebes Sea. There are just so many exciting choices!
Surfing North to South
Let’s start with the Luzon island group, the northernmost areas of the Philippines. You’ll find a variety of beaches to suit you whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer.
Urbiztondo Beach in the northwest Luzon area is just 5 km from San Fernando. The San Fernando area will be your resource for hotels as well as places to eat. Wave height can vary from 1.5 to 3 meters, and it’s a good idea to bookmark resources such as Surf-Forecast.com for up-to-date information no matter where you want to go.
It’s about the only place in the Luzon area where you’ll find beginners’ waves. You’re going to find textbook sandbar surfing in this area.
Pagudpud offers some of the best surfing in the Philippines and, indeed, possibly in the world. It’s located on the tip of the Luzon in Ilocos Norte, and you’ll reach it from Laoag. The sands are white and the waters are crystal clear—many people compare it to Hawaii. It’s another beach-break area, and it offers challenges for surfers of all skill levels.
Cemento Beach boasts waves bent by reef and rocks, yet it also offers opportunities for anybody who wants to give it a try. The sands are white but laced with broken bits of shell and coral. In the summer months, waves can reach as high as 4 meters or more. You’ll reach it from Baler, and besides great surf it also offers snorkelling and wall diving when the waters are calmer.
Bobon Beach is one of the most popular places to surf in the Mindinao Island area. You’ll find it in Northern Samar, and if you love lush tropical ferns and pristine beaches—along with opportunities for shopping and boating—this may be the place for you. The surf is shaped by reef and coral, and it’s another place guaranteed to keep everybody happy.
Calicoan Island lies in the Visayas, on the eastern side of Samar. It’s about a four-hour bus ride from the airport in Tacloban. The wave quality of this reef-coral beach is world class. Expect swells up to 2.5 meters with long to very long rides. Surfers report urchins, rocks, and a strong undertow, although it’s rated as suitable for all surfers.
Boracay Bay boasts plentiful resorts to accommodate the many who come here to surf, windsurf, scuba dive, and snorkel. It’s surfing in the Philippines as you’ve imagined it, with gently swaying palm trees and colourful foliage. You can get there easily whether you’re coming from Cebu or Manila. It’s not really a place that will challenge expert surfers, many of whom complain about short, low rides. But the food and people are fantastic!
Hewies Ayuki Island is a place for the most expert surfers to put themselves up against all the challenges of Nature. Reach it from Lanuza, about an hour from the bay. The waves on this reef-coral beach are hollow and fast, offering straight drops, varying from 1.5 meters up to 10 meters!
Che Che’s is another beach for experienced surfers, and it’s quite a bit off the beaten path. You’ll find it via Claver, with waves swelling up to 2.5 meters and holding for a long, perfect break. This is another place where past visitors have run into sea urchins.
Sarangani Bay on the southernmost tip of Mindinao, far southwest of Davao City, offers Gumasa, a beach that many say will someday overtake Boracay in popularity. The beaches offer white, soft sands, bordered by the calm waters of the Celebes Sea, and besides surfing the waves you can go kite surfing, snorkelling, or scuba diving. It’s a place to discover before it’s overcome by tourists.
No matter where you choose to surf in the Philippines, you’re bound to find warm waters, cool breezes, warm sun, swaying trees, and friendly people.
Check out places like WannaSurf.com for reviews by other surfers and updates on conditions. Grab your board and get going!