Surf Travel: Kiwi gets tropical in the Philippines
Travel guide for surfers visiting one of the Philippines thousands of islands
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 August, 2012 : - - The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands and has the 5th longest coastline in the world. It is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea.
There are three seasons: the hot dry season or summer from March to May, the rainy season from June to November, the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan. Temperatures usually range from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.
With so many Islands and different wind patterns it's hard to know where and when to go to in the Phils to score good waves, but one thing is for sure... the surf will be pumping somewhere along their beautiful coastline.
I chose to travel the path less traveled and it couldn't have been a better choice. Coming from Christchurch a city tucked away on banks peninsula and part of the south islands east coast in New Zealand (a place where surf conditions are fickle and the water is at best bearable) it seemed more than mere coincidence that I ended up trading my cold local for a peninsula on the east coast of one of the most southern islands in the Philippines. The main difference being that on this new peninsula the waves were pumping and the water was warm!
To get to my new location I first had to endure a twelve hour international flight followed by a 1 hour internal flight and finally a four hour bus ride that skirted the mountainous terrain weaving in and out of secluded bays teasing me with what seemed like surfable reefs round every corner. On this journey I also saw the effects of large scale mining operations and the devastation that they had caused. Large areas of hillside were left barren not a single plant left their rivers running a muddy red, the clay topsoil washed into the sea, spread out like the tentacles of some giant sea creature bent on destroying all in it's path.
It saddened me to see such devastation in an area of such natural beauty but soon the bus had fought its way through the muddy hillsides and we were back on a concrete highway making good progress past the many rice paddys and small townships that lined the road to my final destination .I arrived at my surf camp at around 3pm with a couple of hours of daylight left, threw my backpack into my room, grabbed my board and headed out to my favorite break (a righthand rivermouth point break that peeled for 150 meters) for the first of many memorable surfs.
Over the 5 weeks that I was there I surfed many different reefs, points and beach breaks with friendly locals and a handful of expats. I enjoyed the hospitality of locals and expats alike and made lasting friendships. I surfed all but three of my 36 days in paradise and when my time was done vowed to return every year possible!
Maraming Salamat to everyone who made my trip in the Philippines so enjoyable!
Author: Andy / Surf New Zealand
Tags: Philippines, Tropical, Islands, Surf Destinations
Surf Travel: Surfersvillage