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Exploring Philippines

When to go

There are two major weather patterns that affect the generally hot and humid Philippines: the Northeast and Southwest Monsoons. In any given month, there’s likely to be a rainy part of the country and a dry part somewhere else. Here’s our quick guide of when to go where.

November – April

This is a great time of year to visit Manila, Palawan, Boracay, and most of the Visayas. In other words, nearly everywhere you’re likely to go!  The weather is generally dry and not terribly hot. December to February are usually the most comfortable months. Northern Luzon and the eastern stretches of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao can be hit by torrential rain and wind when monsoons pass through. Tropical storms can move into the Visayas during this time although these islands are generally protected from the worst of it. Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter, and January festivals such as Sinulog in Cebu and Ati-Atihan in Kalibo raise costs and can cause traffic delays for anyone passing through these areas. Catholic holidays and festivals are big travel times for Filipinos so properties are often booked out many months in advance. November – April are peak months for travel in the Philippines.

April – May

These months see temperatures rise in most of the country with hot sunny days. In any given year, the first of the strong typhoons could hit in May although June is the more likely month for this in Palawan, Boracay, and the Western and Central Visayas. If you don’t mind the heat, these can often be lovely months to visit as crowds begin to thin in May. The Cordillera is at its busiest during these months as Manila residents seek to escape the heat in the cooler mountains.

Diving in Tubbataha Reef is only available mid-March through mid-June when the waters are calm, skies are clear, and visibility is often 30-45 meters.

June – August

The Southwest Monsoon brings heavy rain to Manila, the western Cordillera and west coast of Luzon, northern Palawan, and much of the Visayas. July and August are the wettest months. Flight delays are common, ferries stop running if wind is too strong, and prices drop accordingly. For those heading to the northeast such as surfers bound for Zambales, these can be good, somewhat drier months to visit for anyone else, we don’t recommend travel during these months.

September – October

Rains begin to taper off during these months but days can still be wet and humidity uncomfortably high. Late October can be a good time to travel as high season prices have not kicked in yet and the crowds have not descended. There remains, however, the chance of some soggy days. The MassKara festival makes Bacolod a busy place in October and the lead up to All Saints Day on November 1 can be a quiet few days when Filipinos are off from work and with their families.

Manila
The bustling capital city is home to historic Intramuros and Rizal Park. Let us arrange a bicycle tour of the walled city so you can explore the narrow streets and learn about the nation's colonial past. More
Banaue
Ancient rice terraces in Batad, coffins mounted on a cliff in Sagada, the Cordillera is home to some of the most unique and fascinating bits of the Philippines. More
Vigan
Some of the best preserved Spanish colonial architecture in the world can be found in Vigan. Wander the cobbled streets, sample the Spanish-influenced cuisine, and relax in one of the city's historic boutique hotels. More
Boracay
Sink your toes into the white sands of Boracay. Grab a cocktail, take it easy, and watch the clear blue water lap against the shore. When night falls, join the parties of District Two or slip away to romantic Diniwid beach. More
Bohol
Chocolate hills, tiny tarsiers, Boholano art, beautiful beaches, and some lovely snorkeling and diving make Bohol one of our favorite parts of the Philippines. The gorgeous boutique resorts don't hurt, either! More
Negros Oriental
The island of Negros is home to world-class diving off the coast of Dauin and on neighboring Apo Island. Waterfalls and adventure are just a day trip away from the university town of Dumaguete. On neighboring Siquijor settle in to the tranquility of an island known for sorcery and healing powers. More
Negros Occidental
On the west coast of Negros you'll find Bacolod, the city of smiles. Sugar plantations in the area host historic mansions and in October, the streets come alive with the annual MassKara festival. More
Puerto Princesa
The gateway to Palawan, Puerto Princesa sits near one of the longest subterranean rivers in the world. Let us arrange a stay for you at a beachside hotel with mountain views just a short boat ride away. More
El Nido
When people refer to Palawan as the most beautiful island in the world, images of El Nido come to mind. Limestone cliffs jut from aquamarine water, lush jungle fills the interior, and the coasts are lined with dazzling beaches. Some of the finest resorts in the country dot the islands around this northern bit of Palawan. More
Coron
For divers, the WWII shipwrecks of Coron are one of the highlights of the Philippines. Natural hot springs, clear blue lakes, isolated beaches, and a rather surprising game reserve and wildlife sanctuary make Coron a fun destination for divers and landlubbers alike. More
Puerto Galera
Fast drift dives and schools of big fish await experienced divers in Puerto Galera while shallow macro dives make for excellent underwater photography, relaxing night dives, and the perfect place to learn or improve your dive skills. More
Tubbataha Reefs
The greatest variety of marine life in the Philippines is within Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park; only accessible for diving mid-March to mid-June

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