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When is the best time to go to the Philippines?

Questions about the weather usually come up first when planning a trip to Asia . It is hardly surprising - for many of us, a trip to the Philippines is a journey of a lifetime and we want to spend it as comfortably as possible.

The Philippines is a chain of islands in Southeast Asia, closing the South China Sea with a gentle arc from the east. It is a country located on the infamous seven thousand islands - such a structure and location result in significant geographical and climatic diversity.

So when to expect the best weather in the Philippines? In a nutshell: you will certainly feel comfortable traveling between November and March. In April and May, be prepared to meet the real tropical heat. June-October is the rainy season and the least recommended period. If you want to find out more, please read on!

When is the best time to visit the Philippines?
Kayangan Lake

The geography of the Philippines

The Philippines is an island country with an area of ​​300,000 km² (The State of New York, for comparison, has 141,297 km²), stretching approx. 1,850 km from north to south and approx. 1,127 km from east to west, located in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. They border Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and China. The archipelago consists of 7,107 islands, full of bays, rocks, coral reefs, and mangroves. The length of the coastline of the Philippines is estimated at 17,447 km.

Seven thousand Philippine islands can be divided into 3 main regions: northern (Luzon, Mindoro), central (so-called Visayas: Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Palawan, Romblon and Masbate), and southern (Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago).

Seasons in the Philippines

Most guidebooks and travelers focus on distinguishing between the dry season (December-May) and the rainy season (mid-May to November) in the Philippines, but it is also worth to know the differences between the dry season and the hot, tropical summer, which lasts roughly from March to May.

In the Philippines, therefore, we have 2 or 3 seasons, but four types of climate, depending on the region we choose for our holiday.

Surfing in Philippines
Bantay Bell Tower

Climate types in the Philippines depending on the amount of precipitation:

I The western part of the island of Luzon, the south-western areas of Mindoro, Panay, and Negros, and the north-east of Palawan - is a climate zone characterized by  two distinct seasons: dry (November to April) and rainy (approximately May-October)

II The second type of climate covers the eastern coast of the Bicol Peninsula, Samar Island, and the north-eastern areas of the island of Mindanao along with the north-eastern part of the Zamboanga Peninsula -  there is no dry season, it is humid all year round, and especially heavy rainfall occurs from November to January.

III The third type of climate covers more or less the center of the Philippines: the central part of the island of Luzon, the north-eastern part of Mindoro, the northern part of Panay, the greater part of the islands of Negros and Cebu, the central part of Mindanao, the south-western part of the Zamboanga Peninsula and the south of Palawan - the seasons are not marked too obvious here. It is relatively dry from November to April, and rather rainy the rest of the year.

IV The fourth type of climate in the Philippines is characterized by a zone with precipitation more or less evenly distributed throughout the year and includes the east of Luzon and the central part of the Bicol Peninsula, the northern tip of Cebu, and the islands of Leyte and Bohol, central and southern Mindanao and the center of the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Tourist regions in the Philippines

In order to best assist you in choosing the right date for your trip to the Philippines, we will use the following regional breakdown:

  • Luzon
  • Palawan
  • Cebu-Bohol-Boracay area
  • Southern Region

Find out what the different areas of the Philippines are like and when is the best time to visit them. ⬇️

The Philippines seasonal weather map
Best time to visit the Philippines - rating

Explore the colorful reefs and diverse marine life of the Philippines!

Weather in different regions of the Philippines

Luzon, Philippines

Luzon - Northern Philippines

Luzon is the largest island of the Philippine archipelago - it occupies over 1/3 of the total area of the country. Here you will find picturesque mountain ranges (Cordillera Central, Sierra Madre), majestic volcanoes (Taal, Mayon, Banahao), beautiful beaches (Pagudpud), the most famous rice terraces (Banaue), historic colonial cities (Vigan) and the very heart of the Philippines - the capital of the country - Manila.

Luzon has an equatorial climate. High temperatures are maintained here practically throughout the year, from 27.7°C in January to even 33.6°C in June. The average annual temperature for Luzon is 29 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is also expected for most of the year. The driest months are April, June, and May. The average air humidity is 76%.

When is the best time to go to Luzon?

If you love the beach, consider Luzon during the dry season - between November and April. If you plan to visit cities, the most comfortable months for you will be: December, January and February. If you want to see the Banaue rice terraces at their most green, visit them in April-May or October-November, in June you will find them in shades of gold.

Coron Island

Palawan - southwestern Philippines

Palawan is a long (425 km) and narrow (approx. 40 km) island, lying between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea, reaching its southern tip as far as Malay Borneo. Palawan is dotted with rugged mountains (Mantalingajan, Mount Gantung, and Victoria Peak) and vibrant jungles, and is surrounded by fabulous white sand beaches, limestone karst cliffs, blue lagoons, and pristine coral reefs.

Palawan has an equatorial climate. It is very warm, humid, and rainy here all year round. The average annual temperature is 29°C. The most hours of sunshine are recorded in May (12 h), and the highest rainfall is in October and November (over 200 mm). The average air humidity is 84%.

When to go to Palawan?

Palawan has two seasons: dry and rainy, each lasting about 6 months. A favorite among tourists is naturally the dry season, which starts around the end of November and lasts until May. The peak tourist season is from mid-December to mid-April. The rainy season reigns between June and October. Unlike other regions in the Philippines,  Palawan is rarely affected by typhoons and other natural disasters, regardless of the season. In fact, Palawan can be visited all year round, and the most recommended months are December, January, and February. The least suitable month to go to Palawan is September.

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Medewi Beach, Bali

Cebu, Bohol, Boracay - Visayas region

Popular tourist islands, such as Cebu, Bohol, or Boracay (but also: Leyte, Negros, Panay, or Samar), belong to the so-called. The Visayas region, which is the central part of the Philippine archipelago. This area can also be referred to as the central Philippines, which is located between Luzon to the north and Mindanao to the south.

The highest probability of precipitation in the region occurs in the months: of May, July, August, September, October, November, and December. The wettest month is June. Relatively the least amount of rain is recorded in February. The coldest, but let's not forget that it is still very warm, around 29°C, in January. The average maximum temperature in May is 35°C and it is the hottest month.

Planning a trip to CebuBohol or Boracay? Choose the best date!

The Visayas is a vast region, additionally divided into 3 parts: western, central and eastern, so when choosing one of the islands or towns in the central Philippines, it is worth checking detailed weather data for a specific destination.

The best time to visit Cebu is between December and February. The advantage of Cebu as a tourist destination is that the area usually does not experience tropical cyclones .

When to visit the Chocolate Hills to make them really chocolatey? To see the most famous hills of Bohol in their full, chocolate-brown beauty, it is worth coming here in the dry season, i.e. between January and May.

Boracay is also best visited during the dry season, which starts in late November and lasts roughly until April. This period is also called the Amihan season - with a cool north-east wind. The fabulous beaches of Boracay are then perfect for sunbathing and all kinds of water activities. 

Filipino food - pancit

Southern Philippines

Mindanao is the second largest island (after Luzon) of the Philippines, located in the southern part of the archipelago. Mindanao is surrounded by four seas: the Sulu Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Celebes Sea to the south, and the Mindanao Sea to the north. In the mountainous heart of the island is the highest peak of the Philippines - Mount Apo (2953 m above sea level). The island is covered with equatorial forests and a network of rivers and picturesque waterfalls. The coastline is diversified by numerous bays and peninsulas.

Mindanao has an extremely humid equatorial climate. High temperatures prevail here throughout the year, and precipitation can be expected for most of the year as well. The warmest months are April, March, and May. In April, temperatures reach up to 33.8 ° C. The rainiest months are usually May and June. March should be the driest. The average humidity on the island is 80%.

Discover the world-famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol!

When is the best time to go to Mindanao?

The best months to go to Mindanao in terms of weather conditions are January, February, March, April, November, and December. The period between May and October is less recommended.The peak of the tourist season falls on the island between June and August - accommodation and transport can then cost more than usual and be less accessible. Mindanao is famous for its pristine beaches, which have not yet been dominated by mass tourism, so the good news for lovers of rest by the water will be the fact that the sea temperature here is suitable for swimming all year round.

The real pearl of the region is the small, charming island of Samal (near the city of Davao, south-eastern Mindanao). If you're wondering when to go to Samal Island, you'll be glad to know that it's practically a year-round travel destination. The area is known as 'typhoon free' and the best time for sunbathing is from March to May.

Mindanao, Philippines
Cebu philippines

When is the warmest time in the Philippines?

The highest temperatures are recorded during the following eight months of the year: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

Cooling occurs under the influence of the winter monsoon and lasts in the months of November, December, January, and February.

The hottest month in the Philippines is May (average 28.3°C) and the coldest month is January (average 25.5°C).It is therefore easy to see that temperature fluctuations between individual months of the year are negligible here.

Therefore, when choosing the time to travel to the Philippines, it is best to focus on avoiding rainy monsoons and dangerous typhoons.

Monsoons in the Philippines

Monsoons are characteristic of Southeast Asia (but not only!) Strong winds that change their direction depending on the season:

  • The summer monsoon blows from the sea towards the land and brings with it the rainy season.
  •  The winter monsoon blows from the land towards the sea and brings with it the dry season.

The Philippines' weather is shaped by the following monsoon winds: the cool northeast monsoon Amihan, which brings clear skies and cool mornings during the dry season, and the southwest monsoon Habagat, followed by rain and typhoons.

Typhoons in the Philippines

Typhoons are air vortices that form over warm waters, characteristic of East and Southeast Asia (the equivalent of typhoons are, among others, hurricanes, they just occur in a different area). A typhoon is a very intense energy phenomenon with strong winds, heavy rainfall, and a tidal wave.

Typhoons may appear at their peak intensity falling from July to October. At the other time of the year, their strength should be moderate.

The weather in the Philippines can be quite unpredictable. The safest regions in this regard might be Mindanao (in particular the southwestern part of the island) and southern Palawan.

Need help planning your dream trip to the Philippines?

Planning a custom-tailored itinerary requires an immense amount of thinking & preparation – and that's where we come in! Be sure to contact us and we will help you plan a trip tailored perfectly to your desires, needs, and expectations!

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