If you’re dreaming of your first post-covid getaway, the Philippines may well be at the top of your list. The archipelago of more than 7,000 islands offers paradisiacal beaches and natural beauty spots where you can really get away from it all.
One of the first things to consider as you plan your trip to the Philippines is when to visit. The best time of year for your adventure depends very much on your priorities. Weather conditions may be optimal during the high season but you’ll most likely end up spending more on flights and accommodation.
This post explains the pros and cons of visiting the Philippines in each season to help you decide when’s best for you. Once you’ve made up your mind, if you’re American, you’ll need to check out the Philippine visa for US citizens. Depending on the length of your stay you might need to apply for a visa before you go.
Winter in the Philippines: December to February
The first 2 months of the year are generally considered the best for visiting the Philippines. With cooler temperatures, conditions are perfect for exploring the capital city Manila and taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the mountains.
With temperatures rarely dropping below 60 ºF, it’s the ideal choice if you’re seeking warmer climes in wintertime. Levels of rainfall are low so you can expect plenty of sunshine.
The only downside to visiting the Philippines from December to February is that lots of people will have had the same idea. The top tourist attractions can get busy and prices may be higher. Having said that, this shouldn’t make your stay any less enjoyable, just be sure to book your accommodation and flights in advance.
Spring in the Philippines: March to May
Once Spring arrives temperatures start to rise. If you’d like to visit the Philippines in Spring then March is a great time before it gets too hot.
During April and May, daytime temperatures can reach 95 ºF so you might want to stay cool in the water and take advantage of the excellent diving opportunities in the Philippines. Take the plunge and you’ll be treated to a vast array of marine life including colorful coral, tropical fish, and pygmy seahorses.
You’re unlikely to get much rain if you’re there in March, one of the driest months of the year. Precipitation increases in April and May though so be sure to pack a proper jacket!
Summer in the Philippines: June to August
Summer is the rainy season in the Philippines and many tourists stay away. That’s not to say, however, that you can’t have an enjoyable vacation. You can expect around 20 days of rainfall each month during the wet season so you’ll need to be well prepared.
The average high drops to around 90 ºF but the humidity keeps nighttime temperatures close to 80 ºF. Thunderstorms are commonplace throughout the summer.
These conditions do, however, make great conditions for surfing. If you’re an experienced surfer seeking crashing waves, summer could be a great option for you. And, when it’s not raining, you’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful Asian travel destination at its finest as the scenery is green and lush. You also won’t have to share it with too many other tourists given that most opt to visit during the drier months.
The rainy season is the best time of year to get some great deals on flights and accommodation. Just be warned, you will get wet!
Autumn in the Philippines: September to November
There’s little change in the weather during September and into October. Typhoons are not uncommon in September, and if you are thinking about visiting then be sure to check out the weather warnings before making any plans.
The rain starts to die down towards the end of October. There are several public holidays offering a fascinating insight into Filipino culture and traditions, just be aware that most shops and services will remain closed on these days. The Lanzones and MassKara festivals are not to be missed if visiting the islands in the Autumn.
There’s a marked improvement in the weather by November. With an average of 9 days of rain during the month you can enjoy more sunshine and time at the beach. Average temperatures peak at around 88 ºF in November so, like most of the year, it’s pretty hot.
November offers a window of opportunity to enjoy some lovely weather just before the start of the high season.
What to Pack for a Trip to the Philippines
Exactly what you take with you will depend on the season in which you decide to visit. Nevertheless here are some essentials that you shouldn’t leave out of your luggage regardless of the time of year:
- T-shirts and shorts
- Loose, long trousers and long-sleeved tops
- Walking shoes or sneakers
- Rain jacket (especially in the rainy season but a good idea all year round)
- Sun hat/cap
- Lightweight jacket (for cooler evenings)
- Dry bags (to keep valuables safe when it rains or when doing water sports)
Don’t forget high-factor sunscreen which you’ll need even during the cooler months and insect repellent.
Pack well for the Philippines and you can have a trip of a lifetime, whatever the weather!