Prevailing winds create the weather in the Philippines, with two monsoons, the north-eastern one running from November to early May and the south-westerly monsoon from May to October. The former is the drier season for most of the Philippines, and the wet season starts in June and is at its peak from July to September, becoming drier again in October.
This doesn’t fully describe the weather in the Philippines, as the east coast tends more to be rainy from December to March and fairly dry for the rest of the year. Typhoons are possible and you would be well advised to check your itinerary forecasting services to avoid any problems.
May is the hottest month in the lowlands, with temperatures as high as 38°C, and the coolest, perhaps most pleasant months, are January and February, but at any time between January and May the weather in the Philippines provides the best time to visit, with some areas quite dry through to September.
Thousands of Islands
The Philippines have well over 7,000 islands so it pays to do some research before your visit! Maybe a discovery tour would be a great way to get started – going from Manila City to trekking through rice paddies and climbing Mount Pinatubo, an active volcano with an amazing crater lake, also offered are ferry trips to some of those many islands.
So many activities, so little time! You could go Deep-Sea Fishing in Siargao, where trips are organised from January through May, or maybe diving is more your thing. The reefs around Sabang have been a marine reserve since 1973 and rumoured to be a great location; diving is possible all year round.
There are so many beautiful beaches that it’s hard to choose just one beach, and many resorts have won awards, such as Boracay and Palawan – both rather exclusive, though. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy life here, and there are plenty of small islands and beaches to explore.
If culture’s your thing it’s hard to know where to start – from famous weavers around Lake Sebu, who literally dream their patterns, to walking tours of Manila, taking in the history of this 400-year old walled city, to the Art District full of cool galleries in Victorias. Or maybe you’d like to go in October and party at the Masskara Festival, which specialises in incredible costumes and promises many days of visual feasting and inspiration.
Packing for your trip
The weather in the Philippines will help determine what’s in your suitcase or rucksack. The year-round average temperature is about 27°C, with the coolest days in in January ( average 25.5°C) and the warmest around May (around 28°C) which means light, summer clothing most of the time, but if you’re visiting mountainous regions be prepared with some warmer clothes – for example in Baguio City, which is 5,000 feet above sea level, annual temperatures are much lower at about 18°C. And don’t forget your rain gear, whatever the month!