The Philippine islands are situated in the tropics, in the entire extent between the northern hemisphere and the equator. In these climate zones, due to the increased sunshine, you can’t feel the cold season unlike in Europe and USA. Instead, the weather in the Philippines is simply differentiated as “hot-season” and “rainy-season”.
This distinction is more or less accurate, depending on the destination in the Philippines you want to visit. Precise weather forecasting is, however, very difficult with about 7,641 islands, as certain weather phenomena can cross the typical weather conditions and the weather itself can vary widely between nearby neighboring islands.
The warmer season or “hot-season”
The warm and hot season in the Philippines prevails in the months of March, April and May. The rather sun-drenched travel friend will therefore consider these months as the best travel time, with a constant high humidity, as the climate is strongly influenced by the sea.
The daily temperatures during this time can reach values of over 40° C, which is why caution is advised. A major problem is that the temperatures do not fall off at night. Without air conditioning, sleeping can become difficult. This weather can continue until June.
The rainy season
As a consequence, the rainy season will start between mid-June and early July. It would be felt during the months of June, July, to December and January. However, rainy season does not necessarily mean that rain can be expected all the time. Often, it is only occasional shivers, which prefer to descend in the late afternoon or at night. As the temperatures can be very high even during the rainy season, occasional rainstorms are to be expected.
Typhoons during the rainy season
In the period from July to November, typhoons are coming in from the Pacific. These tropical storms can cause major damage but are limited to some regions of the country. The region that is usually majorly damaged is the Eastern Visayas because they are the front liners when the tropical storm approaches the country. The second largest island, Mindanao in the south and the Western Visayas islands are normally less affected, but depending on the movement of a typhoon, they are haunted by heavy rain at their foothills.
Weather phenomenon El Niño and La Niña
With the term “El Niño”, a weather phenomenon that occurs in some years is characterised by high temperature and long-lasting dryness. When El Niño occurs (like in 2016), it can be that it does not rain for 6 to 8 months. While the exact opposite of the phenomenon is called “La Niña”, in which it is constantly raining even in the warm or dry season. The year 2011 seems to have been such a La Niña year. Both weather phenomena occur throughout the Pacific and show their effects in a similar manner.
Conclusion: When is the best travel time for the Philippines?
The best time to travel in the Philippines depends on the particular destination and the subjective feeling of the heat. The average daily temperatures in the Philippines are about 26° C, with the exception of the hot months of March, April and May. The typical weather during the rainy season is characterized by warm temperatures and high humidity. Precise predictions are hardly possible and are additionally made more difficult by the mentioned weather phenomenon.
Even in the supposedly worst rain months, the weather god can be merciful and only occasionally send rain showers from above. Particularly on Northern Luzon and around Manila, the first rains around June are often very strong which can also be recognized by the floods at this time of the year.
The weather in Palawan, which is pretty famous amongst tourists to the Philippines, looks as follows: from June to November, there are stronger rains, and from December to May the rain drops and the main season begins.
In Siargao in the north-east Mindanao, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar and South-East Luzon the rainfall is strongest from November / December to March / April and from May to October, also at the beginning of the “official rainy season”. In the central Visayas, we have often seen the so-called “Habagat wind” or south-west monsoon from June onwards, which brings heavy rainfall coming from the south-west.
The Habagat is then replaced by the “Amihan” which comes from the northeast. During this time (October to May), there is a tendency towards less rain – while in Panglao (Bohol) we were “in the rain” during the whole month of January. Exceptions prove the rule here. However, we can say with some decades of travel experience that the Central Visayas are a suitable destination all year round.
Typhoons can be reasonably associated with increasing environmental impact, similar to the hurricanes in the Caribbean. Also, for this reason, a weather forecast is very dared for the months of July to November.
Based on our experience, the best travel time for the Philippines is between February and June, and the country can be travelled throughout the year. The tourist numbers show that most travellers, visit the Philippines between November / December and April / May.
If you like it somewhat “cooler”, you should visit the islands between October and February. Especially the Visayas are less affected by strong weather changes. Strong typhoons can be found, for example, in the north or on the southeastern Pacific coast.
Tips: Read here more about the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. If you are quite confused on what to bring for your trip to the Philippines click here. And if you want to have an epic tour arrangement for your Philippines excursion check out our tour itineraries.