The Philippines is a wonderful country. There’s a vibrant culture to discover on its hundreds of islands, with huge cities and beaches comprising the places you should be exploring in this Southeast Asian nation.
Being prone to typhoons and bad weather, however, it can be tricky to work out the best time to visit the Philippines. That’s why we’ve provided you this handy month by month guide! We’ve even run through some of the best festivals in the Philippines to help pinpoint the best time of year to visit for you.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Philippines?
Weather in the Philippines in January
January is pretty much high season across the whole of the Philippines. It’s a popular time of year, and one of the best times to visit the Philippines in terms of weather. However, there are also the full prices of accommodation to consider, as well as the tourist crowds.
Manila has an average temperature of 25°C and highs of 30°C. But if you are going to high altitude places, such as Baguio, temperatures are cooler, especially at night. In the south, on the other hand, it is warmer, with a limited amount of rainfall. Siargao, for instance, has an average temperature of 27°C. Palawan and Boracay can still be slightly rough from the monsoons, so island hopping may be limited during January in the Philippines.
Weather in the Philippines in February
The beautiful weather in February is similar to that of the previous months. It’s pleasant, so it’s still a pretty popular time of year to visit the Philippines. For the country as a whole, the average temperatures are around 30°C. There is a minimal amount of rainfall, and most days are dry and sunny.
It is a good time to visit the Cordillera region, as the temperatures are slightly cooler. The Banaue rice terraces are also cooler at this time of year. The capital region sees temperatures that hover around 30°C. In February, Baguio sees high heat and humidity with maximum daytime temperatures of 29°C.
Weather in the Philippines in March
March sees visitors pouring into the island country, with the high season still very much in full swing. It’s a good time of year to visit the Philippines, as temperatures are – though hot – still bearable. In Manila, for example, the average temperature has climbed to 32°C. It’s a very popular time to visit coastal areas such as El Nido, as the sea temperatures are warming up; here, they are around a very balmy 27°C.
It sees around eight hours of sunshine per day. You will also be unlikely to get many downpours during a trip to the Philippines in March, with only an average of three rainy days across the month. With nice coastal breezes, there’s no better time to layout on the beach! For a break from the heat, head to cooler Cordillera.
Weather in the Philippines in April
Often, when Easter falls, April is a very busy time of year to travel to the Philippines. As a result, the hotel rates can be at their most expensive, and there are many more crowds in Manila and beach areas. Temperatures are also rising, with the daytime temperature in Manila usually reaching around 34°C. There’s high humidity, too, dropping to 32°C at night.
Across the country, there are about nine hours of sunshine per day to enjoy and explore, plus the sea temperatures are heating up: they climb to around 29°C. A beach destination, much rather than a city, is needed during this time of heat. Boracay, for example, would be a good idea! However, it is likely to be busy!
Weather in the Philippines in May
Hot, hot, hot. May is one of the hottest months of the year. If you are not a fan of scorching temperatures and humidity, then May is not the best time to visit the Philippines. The rising temperatures mean the capital gets to around 36°C during the day, with high humidity. Night temperatures are not much better.
As the month goes on, the chance of rainfall increases as the rainy season begins to encroach on the country’s shores. At the moment, May only sees around 32mm of precipitation. However, the rains do help to break the humidity and make for a welcome relief from the intense heat of the sun. A good option at this time of year is to head to coastal regions like Boracay, Palawan, Moalboal, and Bohol.
Weather in the Philippines in June
June marks the beginning of the low season in the Philippines. Accordingly, accommodation prices drop, and crowds begin to disperse, meaning this could be a good time of year to visit the Philippines – especially if you don’t mind the occasional rainy spell.
Heavy rainfall is expected in June. If you still want to get some time on the beach, head south to Siargao, Cebu, or Bohol. Bohol sees its famous “Chocolate” Mountains turn from brown to green, which isn’t as impressive; however, Banaue’s rice terraces are almost luminous green at the moment, so June is a great time to see them.
Weather in the Philippines in July
It’s now most definitely low season. While the eastern side of the country is relatively dry, the western side – and, to be honest, most of the country – gets substantial rain during this month. The average daily temperatures can fluctuate between 20°C and 32°C, with the rains bringing a cooler climate. The average level of rainfall in the Philippines during July is 253mm, with an average of 17 days experiencing rainfall.
Typhoons begin to affect the country, which can be completely devastating: large typhoons can cause flooding, destroy buildings, and keep whole cities on lockdown. Visiting the Philippines during July? Head to Bohol, Siargao, Cebu, and other southern islands; they get rain, but far less than other places.
Weather in the Philippines in August
August in the Philippines is pretty much the same picture as you get in July in the Philippines. There’s a lot of rain, typhoons can hit, and temperatures can vary from around 21°C to 32°C. It is rainier in August than in July, with an average of 24 days out the month receiving rainfall. Around 431mm of rain drenches the country during August.
It’s very unlikely that you won’t experience rain during your trip to the Philippines if you choose to go in August – especially in the Cordillera and Luzon regions. The southerly islands fare better but are still pretty likely to see rainfall. If you’re into surfing, however, one recommendation would be Siargao.
Weather in the Philippines in September
Again, a very wet month. September is still low season, and for a good reason: typhoons do hit during this month. Even though they’re not terrible, huge typhoons, they will cause torrential rain and probably some flooding. Typhoons can really affect your travel plans, so do pay attention to the weather before you fly if you plan on visiting in September. Temperatures in September throughout the Philippines hover around 25°C, but can still reach into the 30s.
The rainfall for the month, on average, is 421mm across 23 days. So, really, it is less rainy than August, but you should still prepare for downpours. Towards the end of the month, things may even dry up a little bit. It’s a good time to visit the Philippines if you want a good hotel deal, especially in places like Cebu (24-33°C), where the rainfall is consistently broken up by brilliant sunshine.
Weather in the Philippines in October
October in the Philippines means shoulder season. The country is coming out of the drenching of the rain-soaked low season and gradually heading into a better time of year for tourists to visit. The hotel prices are still good, before spiking once again in November.
The average rainfall is still fairly high, with an average 22 days receiving a total of 355mm for the month. The north of the country (Luzon, Cordillera) will be getting much of that, whereas places such as Bohol and Cebu are relatively free from too much rainfall. The average temperature for the country as a whole is 25 to 27°C. Towards the end of the month, it actually gets to be a great time to visit the Philippines – even though there can be a rogue typhoon or two occurring in the south.
Weather in the Philippines in November
Prices rise ahead of the high season next month. The weather is better, the rainy season has all but passed completely, though it does still rain. November gets an average of 192mm across 19 days, while the temperatures on average sit between 24 and 32°C.
The clouds of the rainy season begin to disperse and have, on the whole, been replaced with sunny skies. Humidity lessens up, too. It’s a beautiful time of year to visit the Philippines, especially Boracay, El Nido, and Bohol.
Weather in the Philippines in December
It is high season across most of the country. December brings in cooler, more pleasant weather, enticing visitors who are looking for a beach break during the holiday season. Be warned; hotel prices at resorts triple around New Year, so maybe that’s not the best time to visit the Philippines if you’re on a budget.
Days are clear and sunny, with low levels of humidity and less chance of rain than in recent months. The Cordillera region, Manila, Boracay – pretty much anywhere is on the cards for December. That’s why it’s a popular time of year!
Festivals in the Philippines
Spring Festivals in the Philippines
One of the best festivals in the Philippines, April sees the Moriones festival. Beginning in 1807, and taking place in Marinduque Province, this folk-religious event marks the start of Holy Week. It is dedicated to the half-blind Roman centurion St Longinus, who converted to Christianity after being the one who stabbed Jesus with a spear while he was on the cross.
Another April festival, the Crucifixion Ceremony is held every Good Friday. People are actually nailed (ok, well not nailed, but attached, at least) to crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus.
In May, there’s Rodeo Masbateno, a weeklong cowboy rodeo complete with live music and bullrings. Another May offering is one of the best festivals in the Philippines – Pahiyas. Taking place on May 15, houses are decked out with colorful decorations and parades flood the streets of Lucban, Quezon.
Summer Festivals in the Philippines
For a colorful and cool summer festival in the Philippines, look no further than Hugyaw Silay Kansilay Festival. Spanning a week in June, it celebrates the founding of the city of Silay, Negros Province. Expect dancing, dance competitions, and, of course, parades.
The third week in August means the Kadayawan Sa Dabaw festival. This is a festival in Dabaw that showcases the city’s Muslim, Chinese, and tribal roots, with all sorts of parades and displays taking place. It’s a super vibrant one to hit up.
Fall Festivals in the Philippines
Christmas is a big deal in the Philippines. It’s not uncommon to see Christmas-themed lights and decorations decking the halls and malls as early as September and October. It’s pretty cool to see, especially if you’re a big fan of Christmas yourself!
Before the festive frenzy of December 25, there is MassKara. Masked men get worked up into a frenzy in Bacolod, around October 19. There’s also the Lanzones festival. Taking place on the island of Camiguin, northern Mindanao, it celebrates the lanzones (a small yellow fruit) themselves.
Todos Los Santos – or All Saints Day – takes place on November 1. This is a time when families take food to cemeteries to remember their relatives and ancestors. Rather than a somber affair, this is a lively, colorful event, and one of the most interesting festivals in the Philippines.
Winter Festivals in the Philippines
January 9 means the Feast of Black Nazarene. This is a huge religious event and one of the best festivals in the Philippines. Head to Quiapo in Manila to see thousands of devotees take part in a procession.
Taking place on the third Sunday of January on the island of Akan, Ati-Atihan celebrates the Santo Nino, with tribal dances, traditional parades, and costumes for a very colorful and energetic set of festivities.
Also on the third Sunday of January is the Sinulog Festival. Thousands of people throng the streets in towns, cities, and villages across the Philippines in celebration.
Plan and Pack for the Philippines
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in the Philippines so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere – plus the water from the taps here is perfectly safe to drink. We’ve shifted to using an insulated aluminum water bottle as it handles the hot sun well.
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
A cover-up is one of those beach vacation clothes you should always travel within your luggage. When packing for a day at the beach, make sure you don’t forget one. Not only do they look cute, but they will also protect you from the suns harsh rays.
Many establishments don’t allow beachgoers to wear just a swimsuit, so this is where the cover-up is essential. Most of my cover-ups come from Pitusa.
No matter what you will need a beach bag when heading to the beach. This is to throw in anything like towels, a book, a speaker, sunglasses, snacks, and sunscreen. As full-time travelers, we often use our daypacks for trips to the beach since a tote is unnecessary.
However, a classic tote that everyone has in their closet is a great option for those on short trips or live close to the beach. They also travel well as they can fold flat and lie in your luggage. For family beach goers I recommend a large yet durable beach tote like this one.
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around the Philippines. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Remember that the Philippines uses the Type A, B and C adaptors. Make sure you find a good universal adapter like the one I have to keep you charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land.
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Last Updated on March 22, 2020