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Best Time to Visit The Philippines

Written by Anietra Hamper
Dec 27, 2019

The Philippines is the epitome of a tropical paradise-the kind of landscape that you envision when you think of ocean-swept breezes, lush natural landscapes, and an environment to take you away from reality. It is all of this and more.

The Philippines is a tropical climate, so it is hot and humid most of the time, but the biggest travel consideration that will impact your vacation is the country's wet season. In a nutshell, the best time to visit is the Philippines is during the dry season, from November to April. The wet season is from June to September, which can bring monsoons.

From snorkeling, diving, and hiking to just relaxing on the Asian sands in the sun, the Philippines is a welcoming country, but figuring out exactly when to go to take full advantage of the outdoor tropics takes some consideration.

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Best Time to Visit the Philippines

Traditional boat and crystal-clear water in the Philippines

The best time to go to the Philippines is during the dry season, which is between November and April, when you will have optimal weather conditions and the best opportunities for outdoor experiences throughout the country. This time of year has the least amount of rainfall, which means more favorable beach days, fewer chances of weather-impacted flight delays, and easier accessibility to remote regions and smaller islands.

The dry season is also the high tourist season and the most popular time to visit so you will have increased tourist activity and higher prices for airfare and lodging. During this popular time, the months of December, January and February are the coolest months to visit before the sweltering Asian heat kicks in starting in March. Keep in mind that high temperatures and humidity surge in April and May.

Best Month to Visit the Philippines

Palawan, Philippines

December: This is an optimal month to visit the Philippines because it is in the dry season and one of the cooler months. Heat and humidity can be deterrents to outdoor activities as spring weather starts, and can make even going to the beach unbearable. The December weather has lower humidity, so activities like hiking and visiting historic sites are pleasant.

January: The month of January is a cooler month in the Philippines and also in the dry season so island-hopping is great and exploring some of the Philippines' more remote natural areas or tribal regions is easier to do. Consistently sunny skies make relaxing at the beach enjoyable and something you can do for a full day versus only a few hours during higher temperature months in the summer season in May, June, and July.

February: The month of February is another one of the best times to visit the Philippines for good weather. The cooler temperatures and low humidity make it a great month to visit. February is in the high tourist season, so be prepared for more crowded beaches and possibly crowds at popular tourist areas. The nice February weather enables you to get the most out of your vacation days, which is why it is a popular month to visit.

May: The shoulder month of May is also a great time to visit the Philippines because it offers great value. You have the benefit of nice weather and fewer tourists. Prices for flights and lodging will be discounted from the high tourist season. May is a great month to enjoy the lush tropical landscape throughout the Philippines. The Banaue Rice Terraces and other attractions will be at their greenest. The wet season typically begins in June, so you do run a risk of some rain in May, but generally the weather is still pleasant with mostly sunny days. If there is rain, it will typically be a quick shower in the afternoon.

October: The month of October lands in a shoulder season, so you will also find great value for your vacation money. It is just before the high tourist season begins, so there will still be fewer crowds at the beaches, and attractions and prices for travel will be cheaper. Weather is generally nice in October, but it is on the tail end of the wet season, which means you should be prepared for some unpredictable weather. Be aware that typhoons are still a possibility in October.

Best Season to Visit the Philippines

Rice terraces in Batad, Northern Luzon

Since the Philippines is an archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the weather, even during optimal conditions can sometimes be unpredictable. Weather is often the biggest factor for travel to the Philippines since you will spend so much time outdoors.

Spring: While the temperatures start to rise in the Philippines in the spring, it is a great time to visit because it is in the shoulder season, which means cheaper rates for lodging and airfare, when the crowds start to thin out from the high tourist season. The only window of time that you would not want to travel to the Philippines in the spring is during Holy Week, which usually lands in March or April. Since nearly 80 percent of the population in the Philippines is Catholic, and there are religious observances during these two months, you will find skyrocketing prices for hotels, transportation, guides, and flights. Availability will also be limited.

Summer: The summer months between May and September fall in the wet season, which can impact travel plans and activities on the islands. For the most part, the rain during the wet season is inconsistent, which means you might have a vacation of sunny days, some days with afternoon showers, or you could possibly have a day or two of full rain. The summer travel season comes with deeply discounted rates for hotels and flights and thin crowds. The benefit of the wet season is the green countryside and lush forests. The wettest months are July and August.

Fall: The fall season is on the fringe of the wet season. These shoulder months are cheaper, and the high season tourists have not arrived yet. While you can score great travel rates in October and November, you still run a chance of rainy days or even more severe weather. Since it falls at the end of the wet season, you might find access to remote areas and islands more difficult. The best bet for fall travel to the Philippines is at the end of October or early November, when the chance of rain or typhoons are mostly gone.

Winter: The winter months between December and February are the best months to travel to the Philippines. These months are beach season at their best with great weather for snorkeling and water activities. These are the months with the best weather and cooler temperatures, which makes them ideal for some of the more adventurous opportunities in the Philippines, like rafting and exploring caves.

Best Time to Visit Manila

Manila Cathedral at dusk

The Philippines capital of Manila is one of the best places to visit in the country, but you do want to plan your timing around several factors, like weather and holidays. The temperatures do not vary much, but the difference between the wet and dry season is significant, making the best time to visit Manila from December through April.

Best Weather Months in Manila: The month of February has the least precipitation, then January, then April, which also has the least humidity. These are important factors, especially since Manila is a walkable city and you may be outside for several hours at a time visiting local sites and attractions, like the Intramuros, Fort Santiago, and San Agustin Church. If your trip involves water activities or tours, and you are looking for the hottest months, you will want to visit in April, May, or June.

Worst Weather Months in Manila: The wettest months in Manila are July, August, and September. These three months see the most precipitation, but the fringe months of the wet season in May and October can also see moderate rainfall. August is the most humid and windy month. Besides just the rain spoiling a day outside in Manila, you also run the risk of a typhoon, which is not uncommon during these months. Manila is prone to flooding during these months, making the spread of diseases like dengue fever and malaria common. If you plan to visit Manila during the wet season, be sure to have all of the recommended immunization shots before you travel.

Peak Tourist Times in Manila: In a city of 1.6 million residents, Manila is crowded at any time of the year, but the peak tourist months of January, April, and May make it even more so. If you do not mind the crowds, these are great months to visit to see the best the city has to offer and enjoy the nice weather for walking tours, sitting seaside, and just exploring the local streets on your own. The peak tourist months are also the most expensive for hotels and flights. December is a good option, with fewer tourists, better rates on hotels, and decent weather since it is in the dry season.

Plan around these Holidays: The observance of major holidays in the Philippines means periods of crowds and skyrocketing prices during certain high travel periods within the country. You will want to plan around these times because it will also mean that some attractions are closed. Many of these holidays fall within the dry season, which is already ripe for tourists.

Some of the key times to avoid include the week of Christmas in December; the days leading up to Easter Sunday, which can fall in late March or early April, when the city is practically empty; and the end of May when the month-long celebration of Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan comes to an end.

Best Time to Visit Boracay

Beautiful tropical beach on Boracay

The small island of Boracay is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines, mostly for its pristine beaches like White Beach that are so idyllic. There are many beaches to visit and hours of water sports to fill every day of a vacation. The best time to visit Boracay is in the sweet-spot months between the busy tourist season and the wet season.

December through April: These are the best months to travel to Boracay, when you will have the best weather and the most activity on the island. The rates will be higher, hotel availability more limited, and more people will be on the beaches, but there is no mistaking that these are the prime months to enjoy the white sands and native experiences on Boracay.

November: This is a great shoulder month to visit Boracay. While you run a slight risk of rain or storms since it lands at the end of the wet season, you can mostly expect great beach weather and lower rates for hotels.

Best Time to Visit Cebu

Kawasan Waterfall in Cebu

Another popular tropical island in the Philippines is Cebu. It can get hot and uncomfortably humid during some parts of the year, so the best time to visit and enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities is December through May.

December and January: Both December and January are ideal months for beach weather. These months have less humidity, consistently sunny days, and cooler nights.

February and March: These months are ideal for hikers and backpackers, when temperatures start to rise and the outdoor adventure opportunities are plentiful.

April and May: Cebu is known for its opportunities to explore caves, gardens, dive sites, and mountains, so April and May are the best months to do it. The skies are clear for distance viewing from summits, and so is the water, making it a perfect time to try snorkeling and diving to see coral reefs, aquatic life, and shipwrecks.

Worst Time to Visit the Philippines

Bamboo bridge in the rainforest, the Philippines

The worst time to visit the Philippines is during the wet season, from May to October, when you run the risk of storms, particularly typhoons. You can still enjoy the country and the islands during these months that have fewer tourists and great hotel rates, but you just have to be aware of the weather risks.

The heavy rains can mean closed venues, cancelled flights, and limited access to hiking trails on some islands. While there is no escaping the intense humidity of the country any time of the year August is particularly sweltering, so it is probably the best month to avoid traveling to the Philippines altogether.

Cheapest Time to Go to the Philippines

The Mayon Volcano on the island of Luzon

If you plan to spend a significant amount of time traveling in the Philippines, especially to various islands, it makes sense to try and get the most for your money. The cheapest times to go to the Philippines are during the wet season, when there are the fewest travelers, between May and October.

Flights and hotel prices will be cheap during these months, and you can still enjoy the hot days and the lush landscapes, as long as you are willing to dodge the raindrops. If you plan a trip in the months of May or October, which are on either side of the wet season, you can still find great rates and have better weather during your stay.

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Exploring the Philippines: There is so much territory to cover and so many things to see in the Philippines, from the iconic beaches to the UNESCO World Heritage sites and natural landscapes. If you want to explore Manila, you can visit the historic sites and enjoy a Jeepney ride with the locals. If you are looking for more places to visit in the Philippines, then you will want to look at adventures like the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, diving in Cebu, or visiting the rice terraces in Banaue.

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