ABCD Beach, Calicoan Island
Most loyal surfers have probably already heard of Cloud 9. Popularized in the early 90s by American photographer John Callahan, Cloud 9 is a surf spot located on Siargao Island known for its thick hallow tubes and right breaking reef waves. But in the last 10 years, due to a growth in Philippine tourism and popularity among the surfing community, the “surfing capital of the Philippines,” has earned an unflattering nickname, Crowd 9.
If fighting the crowd isn’t your thing, and you’re a pretty independent traveler, then ABCD Beach should jump to the top of the list of surf spots to check out in Southeast Asia. With a peak season from April until November, ABCD Beach is located on Calicoan Island and is still relatively unheard of making it the perfect haven for those who don’t enjoy large groups.
Calicoan Island lies in the province of Eastern Samar east of the Leyte Gulf. From Manila, Calicoan can be reached after an hour flight into the main city of Tacloban and a four to five hour bus ride. The travel is well worth the wait. ABCD Beach offers good left hand waves making it a sweet spot for those with a goofy stance (aka right foot in front). Given the right season and time of day though, this reef break has both right and left waves.
Newcomers to the sport are also in luck. In off seasons, the current is not too intense for beginners and aspiring surfers will be pleased to learn with relative ease in the warm water and white sands of ABCD Beach. On any given day you can find friendly locals ready with board rentals, a surf lesson or just good company. Instruction ranges from about 400 – 500 pesos for three hours.
Accommodation varies on Calicoan Island. If you’re an early bird ready to ride the waves early, it is best to stay as close as possible to the water. Calicoan Surf Camp Resort, boasts beautiful rooms, villas, swimming pools, recreation activities and fine dining.
The more inexpensive option next to the water is Surf Villa, which resembles a large cozy two? story house and is located very close to Calicoan Surf Resort. Overlooking the beach, Surf Villa has a friendly staff, great food, and clean rooms. Prices at Surf Villa begin at about 1,800 – 2,000 pesos a night for two people.
Don’t go to Calicoan expecting Boracay; to party all night or even a happening array or restaurants and shops. However, if you’re looking for good surf and a very mellow getaway from the hustle of the city, Calicoan Island is the spot for you.
Guest Writer: Yvette Ferrari is an American ex-patriot from Southern California currently living in Beijing, China. She enjoys exploring her surroundings and discovering places with natural beauty, especially beaches. Of all the countries she’s traveled to so far in Southeast Asia, she thinks none rival the friendly culture or beautiful beaches of the Philippines.
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