Best Surfing Destinations in Luzon, Philippines
You don’t need to travel too far to find the best surfing spots in the Philippines. In fact, you can find a lot of them right here in Luzon! Beaches aren’t just for swimming and getting a tan anymore. More and more people are learning to surf, so here are some choice surf spots that you’re sure to fall in love with.
Even if you’re not a surfing fan, chances are you’ve heard of Baler. Tourists, both local and foreign, can be seen flocking to this lovely town in Aurora, especially during the holidays. For beginners, Sabang beach is a very popular choice as it’s close to many hotels on the beachfront.
If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, though, you can always go to another spot, like Charlie’s Point or Cemento Reef.
Travel time to Baler is at around 6 hours from Manila. If you’re joining a large group, it’s best to rent a van to take you there. Commuters also have the option of taking the bus. Surfing seasons start in September and end at around February, but expect a bit of a crowd during these peak months.
Real has the advantage of having a great surfing spot closest to Manila when it comes to land travel. Travel time is roughly 2.5 to 3 hours when you’re coming from Manila.
This is ideal for beginners as they can easily try to surf on the weekend and be back in time for the workweek to start. The quiet town of Real, Quezon, has many beach resorts, but not many of them offer surfboards for rent.
The town isn’t as developed as other sports, so this is best for backpackers or adventurers who are used to camping or “roughing it” in general. The best time to go surfing in Real is from October to February, but since it’s so near to Manila, you don’t need to plan too far in advance!
Crystal Beach, San Antonio, Zambales
This is another popular surfing spot as Zambales is pretty near Manila. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t get as packed with tourists as others.
It’s a solid option for when you want to go on a day trip during the weekend and learn to surf while you’re at it.
Crystal Beach offers more challenging waves than most, so it’s best to go here if you’re more experienced. While it’s still possible for a beginner to learn here, know that the waves are stronger, so be prepared. Like Baler, the best time to go surfing is from September to February.
Liwliwa, San Felipe Zambales
Zambales has no shortage of great surfing spots. Liwliwa is another destination that’s high on surfers’ lists. While the beaches here aren’t that developed, you can still find a few surf resorts perfect for backpackers.
The waves here are more stable compared to the ones in Crystal Beach but take note that it’s still a bit of a challenge. Travel time is at around 3 to 4 hours from Manila.
San Juan, La Union
San Juan, La Union. It’s widely considered as the Surfing Capital of the Northern Philippines for a reason: quality surfing with waves suitable for surfers of any experience level. Whether you’re here with friends, family, or on a thin budget, you’re sure to find a spot that’s right for you.
Travel time to La Union is 4-5 hours from Manila. San Juan also has two main surfing seasons: November to March and July to October.
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
For scenic beaches worthy of the best postcards, you can’t go wrong with Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. It has it all: white sand coastline, the clearest water, and just natural beauty that you can’t make anywhere else.
Locals say that waves are consistent almost all-year-round in some places in Pagudpud. Expert surfers should prioritize visiting the area from July to September, though, for even better waves.
The beaches aren’t crowded, mostly due to its distance away from Manila, but it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s 13 to 14 hours by car, but if you want to avoid the long trip, then you can take a plane to Laoag then on to Pagudpud from there.
Puraran, Baras, Catanduanes
Puraran is perfect for pro surfers. Many have said that the waves here can be compared to those usually found in Hawaii. It’s pretty secluded in Puraran so expect to conquer the powerful waves without a crowd’s hassle.
Things get pretty busy in October when the Governor’s Surfing Cup is held. Surfers from all corners of the globe travel to Catanduanes to show their skills.
Getting to Catanduanes takes around an hour if you take a plane. If you want to travel by bus, it’ll take 9 to 12 hours to get to Virac, Catanduanes, plus an hour and a half from Baras.
Bagasbas, Daet, Camarines Norte
Bagasbas is becoming more popular year after year. Many surfing clinics and festivals have been held at Bagasbas, as it’s highly recommended for beginners. Waves here are consistent throughout the year, so it’s a great place to go on holiday. If you’re a bit of an advanced surfer, you can go further away from the shore for more challenging waves.
It takes 8 hours to get to Daet from Manila over land. If you want to take a plane, it’s a 1-hour flight to Naga and then 2 hours of driving to Daet.
There we have it: the 8 best places in Luzon to learn and master surfing! Have you been to any of these super surfing spots? Do you know any hidden gems that you feel should have been included in the list?