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Surfing in the Philippines

Situated north of Papua New Guinea and south of Taiwan, the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7107 islands. With two distinct seasons bringing two different sets of conditions, there is generally always something to surf in the area.

The swells are from the north-east direction either from lows in the north pacific or from closer tropical activity in the Philippine sea. The dry north-east monsoon season (November - April) brings big but generally onshore waves, while the wet south-west monsoon season brings much better conditions. However the climate conditions (20°C at night/30°C daytime) remain generally the same throughout the whole year on the outer south-east islands.

April and May can be really good, with June-July being great for beginners, and August to November being peak months for surf size and conditions.

Any coastline that is exposed to these north-east swells receives waves, with the main surf area being south-east in the archipelago containing the islands of Siargao and Samar.

These islands feature a number of great waves from beach breaks to hollow reef/point breaks.

Most of the Philippines is laidback, stable and relatively safe for travelling - and is, of course, cheap. The Philippino people have a rich culture and are helpful, cheerful and friendly.

INFORMATION + MAP (click to open/close)

CURRENCY

The Philippine archipelago is made up of 7107 islands; favourably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait The islands of Luzon and Mindanao account for two-thirds of the land area. The capital is Manila.

CURRENCY

The currency is called peso (p. for short), which is divided into 100 centavos.

VISA

No visa is required for a stay of less than 30 days (travelling on NZ passports), provided the onward passage has been booked and paid for.

CLIMATE

There are two seasons in the Philippines- The dry north-east monsoon (November to April) season and the wet south-west monsoon (May to October) season. Depending on where you are, the wet season is different. The north-western part of the country is during this period visited by the monsoon that south-east Asia is well-known for, while the climate on the south-eastern islands is practically the same during the entire year. In the Visayas region (mid-Philippines) where Malapascua is located, the wet season is mild, with one or two hours of rainfall each day. The rains can sometimes be quite massive but many people still go travelling in the country during the wet season. Temperatures are quite steady around 30°C (= 86°F) all year, with a slight peak in May.

LANGUAGE

There are two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango and Pangasinan.

Religion

Even though the Philippines lies just north of the world's largest Muslim state, Indonesia, it is about 94 percent Christian - mostly Roman Catholic. About five percent of Filipinos are Muslim, mostly living on the islands of Mindanao and Palawan - islands closest to the Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.

POPULATION

89,468,677 (July 2006).