Surfing the Southern Waves

If you’re a recent surfing convert, consider this as your head’s up to the continuously growing surfing culture in the Philippines.

Contrary to popular belief, surfing in the Philippines has been stirring the local beach scene for quite some time now – approximately forty years in the South, according to the founding fathers of CNSA (Camarines Norte Surfing Association). CNSA itself has been in operation since 1968, roughly five years after the sport found itself a home in Bagasbas Beach. Thanks to the generosity of some foreign visitors, the locals of Bagasbas were shredding waves in no time. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So how come the Northern spots – La Union and Zamabales – first gained commercial recognition? Blame it on the local powers responsible for each region, but we won’t even go into that. Let’s just say that in almost all cases, the best is always put on reserve. But not for long.

Fairly recently, throngs of road trippers, backpackers, and your all-around thrill seekers, have been paying homage to the thrashings of the Pacific Ocean in the Southern part of Luzon. Surf spots are being discovered left and right from the outskirts of Batangas all the way to the Bicol region, where triple overheads are raging especially in the summer. Yes, the South is the way to go for big waves and long rides from March to August when the Pacific becomes the surfer’s playground. Head North during the months of September to February when the China Sea becomes a surfing paradise.

In the South, Bagasbas Beach in the province of Daet boasts the best beach break during the summer. Here you will find a long and wide stretch of fine grey sand where the surf breaks left and right. This is the ideal spot for beginners and aficionados alike.

Or trek up north of Bagasbas to Tong’s Point if you prefer a shore break. It takes a lot of effort to get here, however, making it the least frequented spot in the area. Rewarding, nonetheless.

The greatest resource of Barangay Bagasbas, however, is not the surf but the people. The locals here are simply the best. They’re, without a doubt, the most accommodating and hospitable people around. You don’t have to worry about lodging, food, or anything at all as the well-known Baker, master of the indomitable Surf Shack, would voluntarily take care of all your travel worries in a heartbeat and still manage to make you feel like royalty. So if any of you adventurous souls should find yourself in Bagasbas, just ask for Baker. Everyone knows the guy.

Another winning spot in Daet is the recently developed Pandan Reef Resort in San Jose, Talisay. This is a private spot whereas Bagasbas is public. This remote getaway is perfect for those who want to surf in peace, meaning, no wave stealers. Your wave, your ride. Locally known as San Jose Beach, it boasts great sets which break left and right on a sand bar. Lodging is also not a problem here as beachfront cottages, cabanas, and tents are available for rent, and cheap, too courtesy of the ever-hospitable Tito Leo.

For you surfing experts who prefer the rush of a reef break, the River Mouth in Mercedes will give you your paddling’s worth. To quench your thirst for more speed, rent a bangka for a very affordable rate.

The surfing scene in Southern Luzon is definitely a reality to be recognized now at it’s most pristine. Experience surf culture free of all commercial politics and side issues. Head South and reconnect – with nature, with fellowmen, and with yourself.

[Tags]Surfing, Philippines, Surf, Luzon[/Tags]

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