There is Surfing in Iligan City

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There is Surfing in Iligan City

surfing in Iligan

surfing in Iligan

Just going thru my Lokalsoul Facebook newsfeed I saw a photo of my friend Kitoy inside a small barrel. Cool photo. But then I realised that it was not in Siargao where he usually rips. The photo was shot at the coastal breaks of Iligan City. I know what you’re thinking. There is surf in Iligan City? I am surprised as you are. Five years writing for Lokalsoul and I haven’t learned of it. Fortunately photographer Gaps Sabuero is kind enough to tell us more about surf in Iligan and how they get stoked their side of the sea.


Iligan City surf

Iligan City – the last place on earth you’d ever expect to find surf. But, there is. And when surfers lug 6 foot boards to a 20 minute jeepney ride to the spot, people stare and wonder where the hell are these guys going. With no accurate surf forecast, surfers rely on spot checks or just plain speculation based on weather. Iligan spots come alive when prevailing winds are at its peak. When the season is over, it’s over.

It was circa 2004 when Charles Nebres, a local windsurfer, took the sail and mast off his board and a bunch of skimboarders took turns on one soft top brought home from a trip to Surigao. They paddled beyond their familiar shorebreaks.

Now, 2 bodyboarders and 12 surfboards shared by about 20 surfers occupy the line-up on big days. And big in Iligan means just 5 to 7 foot reef and beach breaks showing up only a few months. With the limited surf here, some go all-out spending consecutive whole days leaving work, school and responsibilities behind. However, the stoke really comes when some comrades working overseas go home or when surfers from other areas of Northern Mindanao come and take a taste of the elusive morning glass or choppy afternoons.

Seldom when Kitoy or Marlo Gallardo, Iliganons living in Siargao, drop by home we’d sit and watch. We’d be stoked dissecting, taking-in every little detail of their rides and how siargao waves seasoned them.

Surfing in iligan is still young and we’re still learning. But with every little maneuver we pull off on waves we have, be it small barrels or carves, our day is made. Totally worth a full season of waiting.

gaps sabuero surfing in iligan

Words and photos by Gaps Sabuero. There he is above bodyboarding Iligan. Thanks brother.

Check out his awesome photography here. You would want to see it.


A quick search about Iligan tells us that this place also is also known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. There are about 23 waterfalls in the city and this is where the famous Maria Cristina Falls can be found. Imagine that. A city with 23 waterfalls and has surf too. Who wouldn’t want to visit Iligan. I sure would love to explore the city, meet the locals, eat local delicacies, trek to the waterfalls and if the timing is right, catch some waves too. Another place in the Philippines that inspires more wanderlust to the lokalsoul.


  1. Happy to see lokalsoul articles on my news feed!

  2. Tristan says:

    Where is this exactly in Iligan? Was Born and Raised there but I’ve never heard of any surf spots 🙁

  3. lokalsoul says:

    thanks Derrick! trying to write again. i missed this as well!

  4. lokalsoul says:

    not exactly sure Tristan. ask around! haha.

  5. Hurley says:


  6. lokalsoul says:

    thank you Hurley for the info!

  7. venice says:

    This is Villa Lacida, Magoong, Linamon Lanao del Norte….

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