The Philippines, being an archipelago of about 7,641 islands, boasts numerous surfing spots scattered across its islands. In this article, we highlight 12 of the best surfing spots in the Philippines, along with information on surf camps, when to visit, and nearby attractions.
Table of Contents:
- Siargao Island in Surigao Del Norte
- San Juan, La Union
- Baler, Aurora
- Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental
- Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur
- Bagasbas Beach in Daet, Camarines Norte
- Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
- Calicoan Beach in Guiuan, Eastern Samar
- Real, Quezon Province
1. Siargao Island in Surigao Del Norte
Siargao, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, is situated in the southeastern part of the country and is easily accessible by plane from Manila. The region is renowned for the globally acclaimed Cloud 9 surfing spot, characterized by thick, hollow tubes. This right-breaking reef wave serves as the venue for the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition.
Given its popularity, Cloud 9 can get crowded, but Siargao offers a plethora of other surfing spots like Quiksilver, Tuason Point, Horseshoe, Stimpy’s, Rock Island, Tuesday Rock, Daku Island, Pilar, Caridad, and Pacifico along the east coast facing the Pacific Ocean. These spots vary in wave characteristics and difficulty levels.
One of the advantages of Siargao is its vibrant social scene, with numerous bars, clubs, restaurants, and accommodations. This makes it appealing to both local and international enthusiasts seeking a lively atmosphere.
Best time to visit: July to December
Nearby tourist spots: Naked Island White Sand Bar, Sugba Lagoon, Magpupungko Rock Pools, Tayangban Cave Pool
2. San Juan, La Union
San Juan in La Union is another popular surfing destination located in the northwestern part of the Philippines, boasting a four-kilometer shoreline that opens to the West Philippine Sea. The most popular spot is Urbiztondo beach break, catering to beginner and intermediate surfers. A few kilometers south of Urbiztondo, Monaliza and Carrille right-hand point breaks serve more experienced surfers.
A mere 5-hour drive from Metro Manila, San Juan has become a popular escape, particularly for city dwellers. The town has evolved into a vibrant hub, not only for surfing but also for its lively party scene and the burgeoning creative and artistic communities. It’s a magnet for artists, writers, and entrepreneurs who have established unique cafes, galleries, and shops in the area.
Best time to visit: December to January, but waves are present throughout the year
Nearby tourist spots: Gapuz Grapes Farm, Tangadan Falls, Kamay an Bato Open Art Gallery, Thunderbird Resorts and Casinos Poro Point, Baluarte Watch Tower
3. Baler, Aurora
Baler, Aurora is also a 5-hour drive from Manila located in the northeastern part of the Philippines. Nestled between the Sierra Madre mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, it is considered the birthplace of surfing in the country. The film “Apocalypse Now” shot its surf scenes in Baler, contributing to the sport’s popularity in the Philippines.
Baler offers three main surfing spots. Sabang Beach, with its gray sand, is conveniently situated in front of the town proper, making it ideal for beginners. Additionally, Cemento Reef, also known as Cobra Reef, lies to the south of Sabang, while Charlie’s Point is situated to the north.
Best time to visit: November to April
Nearby tourist spots: Ditumabo Falls, Dicasalarin Cove, Ermita Hill, 600-year-old Balete Tree
For those who find La Union and Baler a bit too distant, Zambales is a convenient alternative. A mere 3.5-hours drive from Manila, Zambales’ surfing spots are primarily situated in the towns of San Narciso and San Felipe.
The top three surfing spots, Crystal Beach, Liwa, and High 5 Lahar, cater to various skill levels. Crystal Beach and Liwa provide an excellent starting point for beginners, while High 5 Lahar is tailored for more experienced surfers, featuring left-right hollow waves and long A-frames during the winter trade-wind season.
Best time to visit: November to March
Nearby tourist spots: Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove, Capones Island, Inflatable Island Subic, Mt. Pinatubo
5. Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur
Lanuza, an often overlooked surfing destination, presents an affordable alternative to the bustling Siargao within the same province. Unlike Siargao, Lanuza is not crowded, offering budget-friendly food and accommodation options. The region boasts several surfing spots along Lanuza Bay and Tandag, each catering to different skill levels.
Situated three hours away from the Surigao Airport, Lanuza provides a tranquil setting. Although restaurants are somewhat scarce, contributing to the quiet ambiance, the lack of bustling nightlife makes it an ideal spot for those seeking serenity.
Best time to visit: October to April
Nearby tourist spots: Laswitan Falls and Lagoon, Britania Group of Islands, Cagwait White Beach
6. Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental
Dahican Beach is a 7-kilometer expanse of fine cream sand, located in the town of Mati, Davao Oriental, at the southeastern tip of the Philippines. Approximately a 5-hour drive from Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, Dahican Beach boasts a beach break that is well-suited for beginners to intermediate surfers.
The area is also a popular destination for skimboarding and serves as a sanctuary for sea turtles, known as “pawikan.” Snorkeling in the area might offer you the chance to spot these fascinating creatures.
Surf school: Dahican Surf Resort
Best time to visit: November to April
Nearby tourist spots: Sleeping Dinosaur Island, Subangan Museum, Pujada Island
7. Bagasbas Beach in Daet, Camarines Norte
Bagasbas Beach, stretching 5 kilometers along the Pacific Ocean in Camarines Norte, is known for its fine dark gray sand. A reasonable 8-hour drive from Manila, it’s a popular surfing spot in the Bicol region, offering a consistent beach break suitable for all skill levels.
Situated in front of Cory Aquino Boulevard— the longest boulevard in the Philippines, the beach is lined with various restaurants and cafes.
Surf school: Bagasbas Surfers Club
Best time to visit: April to May, but surfing is viable year-round
Nearby tourist spots: Sitio Coguitin Eco-Tourism & Farm, Malatap Falls, Calaguas Island
Catanduanes, a small island province in the southern part of Luzon, boasts stunning white sand beaches and is exposed to northeastern typhoon swells. Two prominent surfing spots, Puraran Bay (also known as Majestics) in Baras and Virac Harbour in Virac, define the island’s surf scene. While Puraran Bay is typically for experienced surfers, beginners can hone their skills in the calmer waters behind Puraran Beach’s rock formations.
The most accessible way to reach Catanduanes is by airplane, but land travel to Tabaco, Albay, followed by a passenger boat ride, is also an option.
Surf school: Catanduanes Surf Camp
Best time to visit: July to November
Nearby tourist spots: Binurong Point, Maribina Falls, Caramoan Islands
Palawan, a renowned tourist destination in the country, is not just celebrated for its natural attractions but also offers diverse surfing spots along its west coast facing the West Philippine Sea. Among the most popular are Duli Beach in El Nido, Alimanguan Beach in San Vicente, Nagtabon Beach, and Tagkawayan Beach in Puerto Princesa. Each spot caters to beginners and intermediate surfers with reliable beach breaks.
Best time to visit: November to April
Nearby tourist spots: Puerto Princesa Underground River, Honda Bay, Nacpan Beach, Miniloc Island Lagoons
10. Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Pagudpud, situated in the northernmost tip of the Philippines within the province of Ilocos Norte, is approximately a ten-hour ride from Manila. Known for its white sand, the town boasts two popular surfing spots: the Vista beach break in Barangay Balaoi, ideal for beginners, and Manuela and Coco’s point break in Barangay Saud.
Surf school: Ikani Surf Resort
Best time to visit: November to June
Nearby tourist spots: Bangui Windmills, San Agustin Church of Paoay, Lapaz Sand Dunes, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
11. Calicoan Beach in Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Eastern Samar stands as the premier surfing destination in the entire Visayas Region, boasting an eastern seaboard peppered with surfing spots of varying sizes. Calicoan Beach takes the lead as the most popular, featuring a long stretch of unspoiled, white sand on Calicoan Island. However, the area lacks commercial establishments, with only two restaurants near the surfing spot.
Other recognized surfing towns in Eastern Samar include Borongan City, Taft, and Hernani.
Surf school: ABCD Beach Surf Camp
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearby tourist spots: Linao Cave, Canhugas Nature Park
12. Real, Quezon Province
Real, Quezon, offers another accessible surf spot just a 3-4 hour drive away from Manila. Various beaches in Real, such as Malapad Beach and Tignoan Beach, provide decent waves suitable for beginner and intermediate surfing. While the beaches may not look beautiful for swimming, they offer ideal conditions for those looking to catch some waves.
Best time to visit: October to March
Nearby tourist spots: Balagbag Falls, Nonok Falls
Ron Lao is an engineering graduate with a passion for writing informative content and exploring new places, cultures, and food. He loves science, cats, badminton, and anything wellness-related.