Bagasbas: A beginner’s surf spot

Izah Morales
It's natural to fear the unknown, but overcoming this fear unravels new experiences.

KIDS AT PLAY. Bagasbas is not just a haven for future surfers, but for children and families as well. Photo by Izah Morales.

DAET, Camarines Norte – Fear is like a chain that ties and limits you from experiencing the world. The only way to get a taste of adventure is to be free from the chains of fear. 

The cool breeze of a Sunday morning welcomed us as we walked by the shore of Bagasbas in Daet, Camarines Norte. Kids were building sandcastles while their parents were preparing for a picnic. It was a family day. About a hundred locals and tourists were on the shore watching the waves of Bagasbas.

“I won’t be surfing,” I told my companions as we discussed about who goes first on the surf board. After minutes of discussion, my friend Mike finally gave in and volunteered to test the waters. 

PATIENT TEACHER. Kuya Onyok gives a demonstration to his students. Photo by Izah Morales.

Kuya Onyok of the Bagasbas Unified Surfers Association gave us a demonstration on how to ride the board properly. He also gave safety precautions on keeping the board from hitting us on the head. 

After 3 tries, Mike returned to shore and encouraged us to try it for ourselves. Another friend Lucci followed and tried it. She was so thrilled. The group then turned to me and said, “Sayang naman outfit mo. Naka-rash guard ka pa naman. Sige na, go. (Don’t let your outfit go to waste. You’re even wearing a rash guard. Go try it.)” Their persuasion worked.  

I released the chains of fear and found myself listening to Kuya Onyok’s instruction. Before dipping my feet into the water, I told Kuya Onyok, “Kuya, huwag mo akong dadalhin sa malalim ha. ‘Di ako marunong lumangoy. (Please don’t bring me to the deep part of the sea. I don’t know how to swim.)”

Kuya Onyok just smiled and told me to relax. We waited for the wave and he directed me to stand up on the surf board. 

My knees shook. A big splash came. I fell. The next thing I knew, I was under the surf board. 

I rose up from the water determined to try it again. Falling off the board that first time never stopped me from learning how to surf. It was like a bug that bit me. It became an addiction.    

FEAR DEFEATED. The author rides the waves after a few falls. Photo by Izah Morales.

Kuya Onyok told me to spread my feet apart so I can stand on the board. He repeated his instruction 4 times until I finally got it on the 5th try. It was an exhilarating feeling to stand on top of the board and ride the waves. 

From being a mere observer, I became part of the sea. I wouldn’t have experienced that fun had I let the fear conquer me. 

The small yet continuous and strong waves of Bagasbas are perfect for beginners. One doesn’t need to be a swimmer to be a surfer. The Bagasbas Unified Surfers Association offers surfing lessons for Php 400/hour (Php 200 goes to the instructor, while the other Php 200 is for the rental of the surf board). 

SURFING TIME. Two members of the Bagasbas Unified Surfers Association prepare for their surfing class. Photo by Izah Morales.

Let the waves wash away your fears. You might want to try surfing at the 5th Bagasbas Summer Surf Festival on April 28-30, 2012. –

Tips for would-be surfers: 

1) Wear sunblock on the face to prevent sunburn.

2) Wear rash guard and board shorts (don’t wear bikinis unless you want to put on a show.)

BONDING MOMENTS. A family enjoys the waves of Bagasbas beach together. Photo by Izah Morales.

How to get to Bagasbas: 

1) From Manila, ride a bus-bound for Daet (Superlines, Philtranco). Fare is around Php 600 per way. 

2) From the terminal station, you can ride a tricycle to the Bagasbas Beach.


(Follow Izah Morales’ travels at her blog, Tripadora. Contact the 5th Bagasbas Summer Surf Festival organizers through email RAPPLER believes in responsible travel. Share with us your travel adventures around the Philippines. Email your story and photos with subject heading PH Travel to

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