Aurora is a paradise for surfers, with its long coastline
exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The sport was made famous in the
Province by the classic film Apocalypse Now. The scene in which
U.S. soldiers are surfing was filmed here, and the production
crew left behind surfboards for the locals to use. The locals
of Baler claim that the surf is sometimes so huge that they could
hear it all the way from the provincial capitol building, some
1.5 km away from the coast.
There are numerous surfing points in Aurora, but the municipality
of Baler offers most of the more accessible surfing areas with
Baler is also home to the country's largest Filipino surfing
community, numbering about 50, although there are only some 20
surfboards in the entire town. The local surfers are always friendly
and hospitable to visiting surfers, and it pays to learn from
their experience with the waves in the area.
Here's a run-down of great places to surf around Baler:
Glassy right and left waves in the early mornings. Fun waves-not
usually big, except during typhoons. A good site for beginning
and novice surfers. The MIA Surf & Sports Resort, located
by the beach, offers surfing lessons and rents out surfing,
windsurfing and snorkeling equipment. They also offer tours
to the best surfing, snorkeling and diving areas. More
To the south of an old cement pier is a reef break just off
a large rock. The area produces excellent quality right breakwaves
over sharp reefs. It is one of the spots most frequented by
Australian, European and Japanese surfers in Aurora. The sight
is recommended mainly for experienced or professional surfers.
Surfers are advised to wear wetsuits. Cemento Beach is usually
the site of the finals for the Annual Aurora Surfing Cup. Spectators
have to traverse a swamp to reach two huge rocks that provide
a splendid view of surfing action. More info...
Famous for being the setting for the surfing scenes in Francis
Ford Coppola's film, Apocalypse Now, Charlie's Point is known
for medium-quality right and left breakwaves on sand/gravel
bottom. The waves are best from December to January. The place
is within walking distance from Baler town proper, north of
Further North of Sabang Beach, Lindy's Point is a newly discovered
surfing spot. The place is within 15-minute walking distance
from Bay's Inn.
The tall waves were "artificially" created when
local government engineers opened the mouth of Baler Bay to
the town river to prevent floods during the rainy seasons.
The clashing waters coming from the river and the Pacific form
strong, sharp breakwaves that provide an exhilarating high
among experienced surfers.
Surfing waves are present all year round, but the best waves
come in from October to February.
The typhoon season coincides with the wet season from mid-June
to November, although there are occasional typhoons in December.
The area of Aurora is visited by typhoons at least 3 or 4 times
a year. The typhoons blow in from the Pacific brought by the
South-West Monsoon, through the South China Sea.
From October to March, the North-East Monsoon blows down from
China. This is the best surf season. The hot months of May through
early June bring a relatively calm sea breeze. During this time,
the waves are small and are ideal for snorkeling, windsurfing
Aurora Surfing Cup
The Aurora Surfing Cup is an annual surfing competition held
in Baler. The Cup was first held in September 1997. It is a three-day
competition with several different events and an open-to-all
There is a registration fee for the Cup (previously pegged at
PhP 350 or approx. US$ 7), which includes welcome and closing
dinners, a beach party, an official event t-shirt, and the chance
to win extra prizes in raffles and games usually sponsored by
Governor Bella Angara-Castillo. Various gifts are also given away
by the commercial sponsors.
The Cup has four event divisions: Open Surfing Division, Youth
Division, Grommet Division and Bodyboard Division. Competitors
in the Open Surfing Division are seeded according to the Association
of Surfing Professionals (ASP) format. The events take place
on the beaches of Sabang and Cemento.
The format of competition is as follows: In each division,
the participants are divided into heats for the qualification
rounds. Each heat is given 20 minutes to ride ten waves, the
best three out of ten scored. Two points are taken off one's
score for every wave taken over the maximum of ten. The top
two scorers of each heat go to the quarterfinal round. The
same format of competition is used in all subsequent rounds.
After the finals, an Awards Night Dinner, normally sponsored
by Governor Bella Angara-Castillo at her residence, is
held where the winners are announced. One champion and three
runners-up are awarded in each division. Only trophies are
given out; there is no prize money. However, winners may receive
special prizes such as surfboards from sponsors. The awards
dinner is followed by a night of dancing, parlor contests,
Free Surfing Clinic
One of the Cup's biggest attractions is its free surfing clinic,
open to anyone interested in learning the basics of the sport.
Local Baler surfers conduct the clinic and even lend out their
equipment for use by the participants. Lessons include bodyboarding
and stand-up surfing.