Mindanao
Best months:
July to December

Mindanao

Philippines
Surfing guide
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LAST UPDATED 07/01/2008
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introduction

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Seav: Map of the Phillipines; 2005

Mindanao is the southernmost administrative province of the Philippines and also the most dangerous for the tourist. Extreme care should be taken when travelling in remote areas of this province, especially at night. Kidnappings and terrorist related activities predominantly conducted by the Abu Sayyaf group continue to occur.

It’s the same old story I’m afraid of Muslim separatist movements clashing with the predominately Christian administration.  This region was once a sultanate and contains the majority of Islamic culture in the islands. How about the surfing – basically unexplored.

 

surfing

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Johny Canal: Phuka Beach, Borocay, Philippines; 2006

The islands have absolutely no shortage of points, reefs and beach breaks. This area of the South China Sea / West Pacific can be notoriously fickle as far as regular swell generating weather systems go. Your surfing will generally be restricted to the monsoon seasons. The good news is that the Philippines has 2 of them. The North East monsoon (November to April) can produce quality swell that lights up the eastern breaks, larger cells can wrap around the northern tip of Luzon though the Babuzan Island chain to the north attenuates much of this.

The South West monsoon (May to October) can generate sufficient swell to break on the north west coast of Luzon and there are several good breaks here. Further south the west coast is limited due to the close proximity of Borneo and other large island masses.

travel

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Popoy: NAIA Centennial Terminal (T2); 2007

Flying is the most common method of arrival into the region. Davao, the capital, is centrally located to the south of the group. The east coast offers all of the surf potential in the region. The west coast is totally protected from swell by the shallow Sulu Sea. This is the predominate local of known terrorist cells operating within the country also so you really have no reason at all to go there. Get a car and drive the east coast – uncharted rewards await the brave.

weather

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Nilfanion: Pacific Typhoon Tracks 1980-2005; 2007

The monsoon weather patterns dominate the country. The North East Monsoon (November to April) will offer you the best surfing results on the east coast of the islands. Peak swells generally result in December / January. This is also the main wet season for the country with associated humidity well into the 90% mark. August to October would probably be the best season for quality East coast surf, combining good swell and superior surface conditions.

where to stay

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Mayon Volcano, Bicol, Phillipines; 2005

There are small towns all along the east coast, each with very low key guest houses, each village has its own break such as Holy Cross, an unsurfed rivermouth / beach break and Manay – a peeling right hander point break that deposits on a white sand beach.

what to pack

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Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops; 25 May 2007

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life. Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes.... And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.  

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and possibly overpriced. Getting medical insurance for the trip would be a good idea too.

Bring plenty of memory for digital cameras and bring plenty of batteries. And take a good protection for your camera from the sand.  

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