Feature

To Catch A Wave

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Explore the best surf spots in the rising King City of the East.

Story by
Gio Costuna
Photography by
Story by
Miguel Nacianceno
Read Time
Location Tag

Borongan is best known for its golden sunrise and fog-covered mountains, but as a coastal city situated by the Pacific Ocean, it is also home to a variety of water sports and activities. Its location tells you that Boronganons thrive in anything that involves the water—surfing being the most notable of all. As the birthplace of surfing in the region, Borongan City has gradually emerged as the surfing capital of Eastern Visayas; a place to hone local talent and produce homegrown surfing champions. 

Discover Borongan’s best free, public surfing locations as the city strives to become one of the Philippines' top surfing hubs.

LOCSO-ON

Best for: Intermediate to Advanced surfers

Best time to visit: The tides at Locso-on are best from November to March. Remember to check the forecast for an accurate chance at the waves! 

If you’re a surfer looking for a challenge while in Borongan, Locso-on Beach is the best for you. The spot is just a 20-minute walk from the city proper—or a 10-minute ride, if you’re lucky enough to rent a motorbike.

Not many surfers dare to venture into the waves of Locso-on: strong currents make for rough waves, and give surfers a hard time when they’re paddling, or even trying to recover from a strong wash. While there is also a portion that breaks over a sandy bottom, surfers must be skilled enough to maneuver over the reef break.

But don’t be too intimidated—because of the lower visitor numbers, it’s the perfect spot for those who want time with the waves. Locso-on is popular among intermediate and advanced shortboarders, though advanced longboarders who are up for a challenge can also enjoy the waves.

The beach at Locso-on also serves as a popular spot for locals to chill: You can set up an umbrella and folding chair in the sand and enjoy cold drinks or a quick picnic. But heed the locals’ warning: Watch your steps for sea urchins hanging out on the rocks!

LALAWIGAN

Best for: Intermediate to Advanced surfers

Best time to visit: The waves at Lalawigan are always reliable during surf season (November to January). 

Lalawigan is a close neighbor of Locso-on Beach—the surf spots are only a five-minute walk from each other, and Lalawigan is less than a 10-minute motorbike travel from Borongan city proper.

Though they both cater to experienced surfers, you’ll find more Boronganons in Lalawigan because of its sandbars, which form perfect waves for riding. This spot is also fun for those who prefer a beach break experience, though surfers are still urged to be careful because of the area’s strong sea currents.

Shortboards are recommended to enjoy the waves at Lalawigan. For those who lack equipment or find themselves short on surfboard wax, worry not: Zack Surf House is located just across this surf spot, along Cogon Road. Established in 2003, this beloved surf house provides surfing essentials for local and visiting surfers such as leashes, deckpads, fins, wax, and the like. 

BATO

Best for: Surfers of all levels

Best time to visit: While waves are not as consistent in Bato, rideable swells usually come from October to March.

While its name translates to “rock”, this doesn’t literally mean that Bato is a reef break. This surf spot is known as one of Borongan’s best places to catch a wave—and is good for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers.

Bato is loved for how accessible it is to surfers: The spot is close to the city proper, and is only about a 10-minute travel on foot. This means less worries about having to catch a ride going home. When the conditions are perfect, surfers also flock to Bato because of how it can easily generate the perfect wave—and at times, create point-break waves that allow for longer rides.

As this spot offers good rivermouth waves for all surfers, it occasionally makes Bato a little crowded. But it’s always worth a shot visiting because the locals are accommodating and a lot of fun to surf with—many of them also offer surfing lessons for beginners for a small fee. 

Both shortboard and longboard are perfect for the waves at this spot, so make sure to bring them both with you!

SABANG

Best for: Surfers of all levels

Best time to visit: Surf season in Sabang lasts from November to March, with the waves usually peaking in December.

The Sabang surf spot is located at the north side of Baybay Boulevard, and is considered a favorite among local surfers because of its location—just a 5-minute walk from the city proper. 

My personal favorite about this spot is its rivermouth waves: the longer waves mean surfers  can enjoy a longer ride. Additionally, surfers don’t have to worry about stonefish or sea urchins lurking underneath the waves here, making the experience as a whole more carefree. 

As the most accessible spot from the city for surfers of all types, crowds are inevitable. To ensure people’s safety in the area, the local government has also installed a surf tower and active lifeguards—accredited instructors of the Academy of Surf Instructors (ASI)—on duty. I’ve personally met and have learned surfing from some of them; they’re a lot of fun to be around, and always give helpful tips to improve your surfing game. 

The Boronganon surfers you’ll inevitably meet on a trip to Sabang are also quick to form new friendships—they’ll probably also invite you for more surfing lessons next time. 

For the waves at this surf spot, you can either bring your longboard or shortboard with you.

BAYBAY

Best for: Surfers of all levels

Best time to visit: You can catch the best waves at this spot during typhoon season, October to February, with the surf season peaking in December.

Among all the surf spots in Borongan, Baybay is probably the best there is. It’s the only spot within the city one can surf in, and the perfect place to find yourself if you want to witness Borongan’s famous golden sunrise.

Baybay Beach has helped put Borongan City on the map as a growing surf capital in the region: it was the venue of the inaugural Surf in the City in 2019—which served as the final leg of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour, one of the biggest surfing competitions in the Philippines, participated by players from the country’s best surfing destinations like Siargao, La Union, and Baler. 

Visiting surfers of all experience levels can enjoy Baybay’s beach break waves, and this spot is considered the best place for both longboarding and shortboarding. Though it’s a busy area, it never gets crowded as the beach extends along the entire stretch of Borongan Bay Walk. It can be accessed through the Baybay Boulevard, which follows the coastline for 1.5 kilometers.

Aside from surfing, you can also expect to see food stalls, coffee shops, beer and barbecue houses along Baybay Seawall. 

Another iconic sight at Baybay is the Surf City Tower, which has become the usual backdrop of Borongan’s tourist photos. Residing in the tower are Borongan City Lifeguards—accredited ASI instructors, as well—who are on duty everyday to ensure visitors’ safety. They are trained in both Life Support and Water Search and Rescue by the Philippine Coast Guard and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office. 

As Baybay is located in the heart of Borongan, it’s considered the center of all affairs in the city, and where sports events like football, frisbee, basketball, skateboarding, skimboarding, and surfing take place. Last year, Baybay successfully hosted over 200 surfers from across the country in Surf in the City 2021—the country’s first surf competition since the pandemic started.


Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in the 2022 print issue of Borongan Magazine, commissioned by the Public Information Office for the City of Borongan. Edits were made for the GRID website.

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