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.