AURORA | Surfing 101 in Baler, the Surfing Capital of Central Luzon

Aside from its beautiful coastline and historical importance, Baler was also made popular by its Pacific waves that attract hundreds of surfers during the surfing season. The town has been cited by several entities as one of the top surf spots in the Philippines. So when in Baler, who would pass up on learning how to surf with its killer waves? Definitely not us!

Selfie while surfing in Baler

At around seven in the morning, we put our rashies on and headed to the beach. Manang Lilia, the very kind lady who hosted our stay, advised us to surf that early as it was during that time of the day when the waves are better and the sun is not yet scorching hot. She also told us not to take our breakfast yet so we would feel light during our ride (and to keep the surf boards from breaking, I guess).

My buddies in rashguards, ready to surf in Baler

Baler's Surfing Spots

There are several surfing spots in Baler which are suited for different types of surfers.

Cemento Beach and Linda's Point are preferred by advanced surfers for its bigger swell, i.e., surfer-eating waves. Linda's Point, according to, is a surf spot accidentally created by the local government engineers while working on a flood prevention project. It provides tall, strong and sharp waves. Cemento beach, on the the other hand, is the host of local surfing competitions held annually. Getting to Cemento Beach takes a 45-minute walk or a banca ride.

Surfers lining Baler's beach

Most popular among tourists, Sabang Beach provides small to medium size waves making it an easy ride for beginner and novice surfing.

While most of us were first time surfers, we had our Surfing 101 at Charlie's Point since it was just a five-minute walk from the transient house we stayed in. Seeing from a distant, Sabang beach happened to be crowded that time and looking for available surfboards and surf instructors might not be that easy if we had it there. Charlie's Point is an easy walk from Baler town proper. It is recommended for all types of surfers.

Surfing 101

As soon as we arrived at the beach, we were offered surfing lessons by the local instructors from surrounding beach resorts. But there were only three available surfboards when we arrived since the beach was already bursting with surfer-wannabe's (but not as crowded as Sabang) so we have to wait until the other surfboards become available.

Surfing instructions in Baler beach
Surfing 101 | PHOTO: Elaine Petallo

We signed up for an hour of surfing lesson at a rate of PHP 350 per head inclusive of a personal instructor and surfboard rental. The instructors were polite, accommodating and they had been patient to us. For about 5-10 minutes, they would give the basics, then, it's surf time!

Clarrisa and I while waiting for the next killer wave
Waiting for the next wave | PHOTO: Anton dela Rosa
Nikki surfs a la Christ the Redeemer
Nikki surfs a la Christ the Redeemer | PHOTO: Anton dela Rosa
Elaine cheering his boyfriend while on board
Elaine on being a stage girlfriend | PHOTO: Anton dela Rosa
Ladies' turn to surf
Who would be the last woman standing? | PHOTO: Ana Policarpio

I have tried cable wakeboarding which is somewhat a similar sport but I find surfing easier to do. Both sports require balancing skills, but unlike surfing, you can easily fall from the wakeboard with just a minimal angle of incorrectly bent knees. Maybe it has to do with the size of the board? Since a surfboard is about thrice the size of a wakeboard. I don't know, I hate Physics.

I was in the midst of enjoyment but I was so sick that day so I cut my ride short and just took the all-time favorite pose with none other than, the surfboard!

Clarrisa and I with the surfboard

Fast Facts

While Baler is not the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, it prides itself as the "Birthplace of Philippine Surfing". It was first discovered and surfed by the production crew of the 1979 American film "Apocalypse Now", who later left their surfboards to the locals giving way to the birth of Philippine Surfing culture.

Surfing in Baler is all year round because of consistent waves, but it is best to surf during the months of October to April.

Failed surfing on first attempt
This happens, of course | PHOTO: Anton dela Rosa

Surfing Lesson Rates

I thought that an hour of surfing was not good enough, but I was physically beaten up after a few runs, or maybe I was just too tired because of the activities during our first day. If you feel like you got stoked, you may surf at your heart's content for the next hours with the following standard rates:

  • PHP 350 - an hour of surfing inclusive of the lessons and surfboard rental
  • PHP 150 - board rental for an hour
  • You may also rent for 8 hours, but I am not sure how much it would cost.

Surfing schools line up along Sabang Beach. Beginners flock the beach during summer while advanced and professional surfers visit during the "ber" months for surfing season.

Find time to try surfing no matter how tired you feel when visiting Baler for the first time. Being able to stand up against those waves was adrenaline pumping and a rewarding experience after a butt-numbing hours of travel before reaching Baler. And what would be more fulfilling than bringing home a winning photo of you standing on that board?


DJ Rivera is an I.T. professional, entrepreneur, travel blogger, writer and the online publisher of based in Rizal province, Philippines. Click here to know more.

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