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Surfing in the Philippines: Your Ultimate Travel Guide

surfing in the philippines

Surfing spots in the Philippines come aplenty. Thanks to facing the great Pacific. Some kindred spirits look for something more intense and more adventurous, and to heed your plea, here is your surfing travel guide in the Philippines. Surfing indeed is not for everyone. But it does not mean, it cannot accommodate curious individuals.

This activity needs aside from skills, board, and waves with varying heights and lengths only found in a handful of Philippine beach respites like San Juan or Siargao also requires enthusiasm, curiosity, and above all, patience and bravery. And if your wanderlust heart and body is craving a more relaxed surfing destination, here are nine other surfing spots in the Philippines you can check out.

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Cloud 9 Siargao

This legendary spot has earned its spot as the top surf break in the Philippines and a must-visit destination for any wave enthusiast. With powerful right-handers and fast barrels breaking over shallow coral reefs, Cloud 9 will give you a thrilling ride like no other. But be warned, you’ll need some serious guts and skills to tackle this monster. One wrong move and you’ll find yourself tumbling down into the razor-sharp rocks below, before being spit out again towards the surface. It’s not for the faint of heart, but for those brave enough to take on the challenge, Cloud 9 is a dream come true. As for me? I’ll stick to the safety of the beach, thanks.

San Juan, La Union

Alright, hang ten my surfing friend! If you’re on the hunt for some gnarly waves in The Philippines, San Juan in La Union province is where you’ll want to be. Just a short drive from Manila, this surf spot is a go-to for shredders of all levels.

If you’re just starting out, Urbiztondo beachbreak is the perfect spot to paddle out. You’ll find a steady stream of waves that even surf school students can catch with ease. Intermediate surfers can head over to Monaliza Point for some good right point waves, while advanced surfers can show off their skills on the long, right point waves at Carrile Point when the swell is big. So wax up your board, grab your rash guard, and let’s hit the waves in San Juan!


Bacnotan, La Union

La Union is blessed with swells and serene beach resorts. The province’s most popular surfing spot—San Juan—is the go-to place for kooks and jakes alike, as well as tourists who recharge themselves with the typical combo, sea, sand, and sun. But its neighboring town, Bacnotan, is another coastal town that offers majestic waves. 

Unlike its more famous neighbor, Bacnotan has a more laid-back environment perfect for surfers who want peace while they tread—or at least try to—high waves. Bacnotan’s chill ambiance is also ideal for beginners or kooks and groms who don’t want to feel judged or embarrassed while they practice. Thanks to new thoroughfares that cut traveling time from Metro Manila to the north of Luzon, traveling and surfing in La Union becomes smoother.

El Nido, Palawan

Palawan is called the “Best Island in the World” by Lamudi and other platforms for many reasons: fine sand beaches, cerulean waters, stunning limestone rock formations, and gorgeous landscape. And yes, Palawan’s El Nido is a “secret” surfing spot as its waves only become prominent during Amihan (Northeast Monsoon) and Habagat (Southwest Monsoon) seasons. 

Newbie surfers who want to enjoy El Nido’s rare waves should wait for November to March or the Amihan season for clean, long rides. On the other hand, the Habagat season of June to September is the perfect time for seasoned surfers to challenge El Nido’s stronger waves. Where to surf in the Philippines may be dependent on the geographical location, ideally facing the Pacific, but the Philippines have some notorious monsoon season which creates seasonal swells perfect for surfing.

Surfing in Palawan? Possible?
Surfing in Palawan? Possible?

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

The municipality of Pagudpud is touted as the “Boracay of the North” due to its white-sand beaches. And because it is 12 hours away from Manila, Pagudpud isn’t exactly the most accessible surfing spot. Its somewhat inaccessibility makes it relatively less crowded and perhaps a suitable site for those who prefer an off-the-beaten-path surfing destination.

Pagudpud is perfect for more experienced surfers because the beach town offers advanced waves. Its secluded state is also ideal for surfers using longboards; they can practice without the risk of running into other people. Pro surfers will also love a spot called Heartbreak, famous for its swift waves running on shallow coral reefs. 

Baras, Catanduanes

The typhoon season may mean gloom and staying indoors in Metro Manila, but in Catanduanes the season calls for surfers to get on their boards and ride the waves. Hailed as “The Happy Island,” Catanduanes’ prime surfing spot is in the town of Baras. Locals and surfing enthusiasts deem its waves as majestic since they are one of the fastest and have the most hollowed barrels in the world.

While the strong winds in Catanduanes are a delight for pro surfers, beginners may also have their first surf in Baras’ calm waters. A popular surfing resort in the area that offers gentle waves is Puraran Beach. Novice surfers may hire surfing instructors for Php 350 an hour (price subject to change without prior notice) to teach them the basics of balancing on board.

Surfing Spot in the Philippines

Most surfing travel guide in the Philippines often do not have Baras in their list, and if you are that curious soul who prefers remote destinations, this one is for you.

Surfing Travel Guide in the Philippines: Daet, Camarines Norte

The town of Daet in Camarines Norte is flocked by beach lovers due to the surfer waves in Bagasbas Beach. The resort has sandy bottoms and shallow waves, making it a safe surfing spot for those anxious about getting hurt while they ride the waves.

Now, if you’re still too scared about balancing on a surfboard alone, try kiteboarding! It combines surfing, wakeboarding, and snowboarding. You’ll have a kite to “guide” you while you keep your balance on your board.

Surfing spots in the Philipines
Either you go north to Samar or to Southern Leyte, a pit stop at the longest bridge in the Philippines is mandatory: San Juanico Bridge

Guiuan Island and Calicoan Island, Eastern Samar

Eastern Samar may have been devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, but that didn’t stop the province from emerging from the rubble and offering beautiful destinations for tourists all over the Philippines. Two examples are Guiuan Island and Calicoan Island.

The islands of Guiuan and Calicoan outline the Pacific Ocean, which means they have swell waves intermediate and advanced surfers shouldn’t miss for the world. The best time to enjoy intensely bashing waves is between September and October. But if you’re looking for more laid-back waves for longboard surfing, go to Guiuan and Calicoan between April and May.

Dulag, Leyte

The Sabang Daguitan Surf Camp is the prime surfing spot in Dulag, Leyte. It is just an hour away from Tacloban City and is well-loved by locals. The surfing camp is perfect for beginners as the waves in this area are gentle and perfect for paddling and longboarding. After a tiring but fun day surfing with the waves, take a break at the surfing camp’s dampa-style restaurant.

Choose your ingredients and have the staff prepare your meal for you. Couple your meals with their delectable fruit shake, and you’ll be ready to face the waves the next day. Most surfing travel guides in the Philippines normally do not have this in the list. It goes to say, it is less popular. And if you love to avoid the swell of the crowd, then this is your place.

Leyte, Samar, and Surigao are relatively close to the most strategic base in the Philippines: Cebu. Surfers and travelers, and business people can quickly leave the island to pursue swells and fun in the neighboring islands. That said, you can find plenty of lots for sale in Cebu for its strategic location.

surfing travel guide in the philippines

Mati, Davao Oriental

In the town of Mati in Davao Oriental lies the Dahican Beach Resort. It boasts white-sand shores and small, frequent waves. Surfers looking for a chill sweep may enjoy a sunny day riding their boards in long lines at Mati’s Dahican Beach.

Since Dahican’s waves are pretty small and less-pounding than other surfing spots, the place is perfect for skimboarding. If you’re terrified of surfer waves or getting hurt by the raging water, learn to balance on a board via skimboarding at Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental!

Surfing Travel Guide in the Philippines

Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur

Lanuza is not the same as the famous Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte. Lanuza is a small village in the province of Surigao del Sur. While it may be less popular than its neighbor in the north, Lanuza is prized for its dreamy waves, perfect for newbie and pro surfers.

Lanuza’s waves range from clean, gentle breaks perfect for longboard surfing and short boarders to agile waves for anyone who wants to take their surfing skills to the next level. The town may be secluded, Lanuza might be the spot that will help you be more confident with trying different levels of waves.

Surfers, especially the jakes of the trade, sometimes want to avoid the tourists that dock on Siargao. This is their gem, which is not really far from Siargao Island. Hmmm, well, a boat ride away.

All that said, these nine surfing spots are dreamy destinations for beach bums and adventurers. Plan your next travel in any of these places, or perhaps visit them all, to appreciate the beauty and versatility of Philippine beach resorts.

Did you enjoy our surfing travel guide in the Philippines? Spread the word!

*words are not by the owner of the blog

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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1 Comment

  1. […] 9 is a famous surfing spot in Siargao and is taunted as the best surfing spot in the Philippines. If you’re an advanced surfer looking for some high-energy waves that break over shallow […]

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