When to go to the Philippines

Best time to go to the Philippines

If you are planning a trip abroad, there’s a good chance you’ll try to time your travels to take advantage of the best weather the destination has to offer. A few places like Hawaii have beautiful weather year-round – so much so that there’s really no “off-season” there. Most places, however, have times that are better for vacationing, and the Philippines is one such place. Each year, millions of people from around the world visit this archipelagic nation to experience its white-sand beaches by day and lively cultural scene by night. And it's often a bargain (to get a sense of the prices, see What Does It Cost to Retire in the Philippines?).

But when is the ideal time to go, and when the worst?

Two Seasons: Wet and Dry

The weather in the Philippines is typically divided into two weather patterns: Habagat and Amihan. Habagat – or southwest monsoon – is the wet season, and it lasts from May to October. This season is characterized by hot, humid weather, with lots of rain and heavy winds from the west and southwest. Along with the rain and humidity, the wet season brings typhoons, which can hit as early as August (and as late as January some years).

When the prevailing winds switch direction, the wet season ends and the dry season arrives, a transition that can sometimes happen overnight. Amihan – or northeast monsoon – is the dry season, and it lasts from November to April. It's typical in this season to have moderate temperatures, little to no rainfall and a prevailing wind from the east.

In general, the dry season is the best time to visit because the weather is cooler and dryer. With the good weather, however, come the crowds, so plan on booking in advance if you have a particular resort or hotel in mind (see 5 Best Resorts in the Philippines).

The Monthly Outlook

Month-by-month, you might expect the following weather in the Philippines, although it’s important to note that the weather here can be very unpredictable:

January

Excellent time to visit. Cooler temperatures at the height of the dry season.

February

Excellent time to visit. Slightly warmer than January, with fewer crowds.

March

Excellent time to visit. Temperatures start to pick up. Large crowds during Easter Holy Week.

April

Good time to visit. Temperatures peak during the final month of the dry season.

May

Good time to visit. Hot lowlands, cooler mountains and still a chance of dry weather.

June

Okay time to visit. Rains start in the north and go south. Areas around Cebu stay dry.

July

Okay time to visit. Rainfall increases all over the country. Areas around Cebu mostly dry.

August

Poor time to visit. Very rainy throughout the country; beginning of typhoon season.

September

Poor time to visit. Very rainy throughout the country; the middle of typhoon season.

October

Okay time to visit. By month’s end, rains have dispersed, but still chance of typhoons.

November

Good time to visit. Dry season begins. Wait till end of month for better weather.

December

Good time to visit. Cooler temperatures; slight chance of typhoons

The Bottom Line

The time of year can have a vast effect on your experience in the Philippines, whether you're booking a hotel for a holiday or investing in a home for long stays (see Buy a Beach Condo in the Philippines). In general, the wet season lasts from May to October, with August and September being the worst times to visit weather-wise because of heavy rain (this is peak typhoon season). The dry season is the rest of the year – from November to April – and there’s a good chance you’ll have nice weather during any of these months, and especially so during January and February.

Note: Because of continued violence, certain Filipino regions should be avoided by travelers. The U.S. Department of State updated a travel warning on Oct. 21, 2015, regarding in particular the Sulu Archipelago, the island of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. Other areas in the Philippines are generally considered as safe as other parts of Southeast Asia. U.S. citizens traveling to the Philippines are encouraged to check for current travel alerts and warnings, and enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which provides security updates and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you and your family in case of an emergency.

Source: www.investopedia.com
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