The Philippines is one of the most beautiful and diverse archipelagos in the world, but its tropical location close to the equator also ensures that this is a country that’s very much at the mercy of the changing seasons.
The Filipino year is predominantly split into a wet and a dry season, which for travel purposes conform to the low and the high season.
The best time to visit the Philippines is the dry season, which falls between November and April, while the wet season, between May and October, is not the best time to be in the country.
Plan carefully, because the wet season brings dangerous typhoons, landslides and disrupted travel, whereas the dry season brings clear skies and sunshine.
To help you to plan your trip, here’s our guide to the best time to visit the Philippines.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Philippines (Country Guide)
Best Time to Visit the Philippines: Month by Month Breakdown
Philippines Dry Season
The dry season is easily the best time to visit the Philippines, because this is when the weather is absolutely glorious, and the sun is always shining.
Generally speaking, the dry season runs from November through to April. However, the typhoon season can be notoriously unpredictable and it’s not uncommon for storms or even fully-fledged typhoons to hit the Philippines as late as December.
To be guaranteed clear skies and no rain you’ll want to travel between January and April.
This though, is peak season, while March and April are the Filipino summers when the weather can be unbearably hot.
November in the Philippines
November is seen as the start of the dry season in the Philippines, but be warned that the weather can still be unpredictable.
Typhoons can still ravage the coast, although they are much rarer than in the wet season. If a typhoon does hit later in the year, it tends to be more dangerous, as people are less prepared.
This is a good shoulder month though, as the crowds are still thin, and it’s not quite as humid or hot as other times of the year.
If you don’t mind the odd rainstorm, and if you keep an eye on the typhoon warnings, then November is a great time to visit the most popular destinations in the Philippines, as there will be fewer people around.
Take a trip to Coron or El Nido for the start of the island hopping season, or visit Bohol or Cebu for the first dives of the dry season.
December in the Philippines
December is one of the best times to be in the Philippines if you love a good fiesta because as a predominantly Catholic nation, Filipinos go absolutely crazy for Christmas.
In fact, Filipinos start to prepare for Christmas as early as September – yes, really, September – and it all comes to a head in December.
Expect things to be incredibly busy though, as locals and tourists alike are moving around for the holiday season. It’s hectic, but it’s a lot of fun wherever you go in December.
January in the Philippines
January is peak season in the Philippines, and weather-wise it’s possibly the best time to visit the Philippines.
Conditions are beautiful, and it’s not too hot yet, while there’s also little chance of rainfall. The skies are clear and you won’t have to worry about typhoons.
Popular islands such as Palawan, Coron and Cebu are going to be busy and expensive in January, although there’s no better time to be snorkeling or scuba diving.
If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy the weather then there are plenty more islands to explore.
Head south, and visit Camiguin, just a boat ride away from Bohol but with none of the crowds. Brave Mindanao for an offbeat experience or head to Romblon or Mindoro for beach getaways.
February in the Philippines
February is peak season too, although generally, it’s a little quieter than January. While the weather is wonderful for classic destinations such as Siargao, Cebu or Palawan, again it’s going to be busy.
Take the chance to go snorkeling and diving, and to explore lesser-known destinations in February.
Visit Malapascua Island to dive with friendly Thresher Sharks, or head to Donsol for an ethically minded outing with Whale Sharks, as they pass through the region.
March in the Philippines
March is busy and it’s hot, and locals will tell you that this is not the best time to visit the Philippines.
This is what locals call the Filipino Summer because temperatures can rise well above 40 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.
It’s hot and it’s dry, so be careful in the sunshine. It’s great weather for a traditional beach holiday in Cebu or Bohol, while underwater conditions are great in Coron where you can find old sunken shipwrecks from World War II.
Head to the mountains though, if you want to cool down and escape the heat.
April in the Philippines
April is just as hot, if not hotter than March, and it can be exceptionally busy if you are here during the Easter Holidays.
There are lots of fiestas in April so it’s a fun time to be here, but some fiestas, like the Crucifixion in San Fernando, aren’t for the faint of heart.
While the coast is hot and dry, the mountains of the Cordilleras, in Central Luzon, are at their best.
Head to the summer capital, Baguio, for cooler climes and intriguing history, before traveling to an even higher altitude, where you can find the spectacular Rice Terraces of Banaue.
Philippines Wet Season
The wet season usually begins in May, and ends in October, however, the rainy season can be entirely unpredictable in the Philippines.
You might have exceptional weather in May and June, with the rains not arriving until later in the year, or you might find yourself in the midst of a typhoon as soon as the wet season begins.
While things are cheaper in the wet season, travel around the Philippines can be fraught with danger, especially between June and August.
This is not the best time of the year to visit the Philippines, because with the storms and rain can come canceled flights and ferries, blocked roads and landslides, and dangerous typhoon warnings.
In the wet season, always keep an eye on the weather conditions, because natural disasters in the Philippines can be deadly.
May in the Philippines
May could well be the best time to visit the Philippines because although it’s technically the start of the rainy season, you’ll be extremely unlucky to be caught up in typhoons or even rainstorms.
You might experience clouds towards the end of the month, but it’s going to be dry for most of May.
The crowds will be thinning out now too, so head to Palawan and Coron for Island hopping. The snorkeling will still be superb because the water will be wonderfully clear still.
Travel to Cebu and Bohol too, where prices are dropping. You can enjoy the beaches and the islands, while the Chocolate Hills will be at their most chocolaty and brown, as it’s the driest part of the year.
June in the Philippines
By June though, it’s going to be rainy, and this is when the wet season really starts to kick off in earnest.
While flights and accommodation are going to be much cheaper in June, you need to be careful.
The wet weather brings a huge array of dangers, and if there’s a typhoon warning you can be in trouble, as evacuations can be common.
Keep a close eye on the weather, and if you do decide to visit in June then keep to the west coast. Typhoons tend to hit the east coast first and move westwards.
You can chance Palawan and Coron, or still enjoy much of Luzon too.
July in the Philippines
July can be just as bad as June, weatherwise, and again it’s not the best time to visit the Philippines.
Prices will be lower and there are none of the dry season crowds, but that’s because this is the middle of the typhoon season.
You can head to the western islands, such as Palawan or Coron, but even here you’ll be experiencing rain, if not typhoons too.
August in the Philippines
In August, the bad weather just keeps on coming. This is one of the worst times to be in the Philippines.
It’s going to be rainy and there’s likely to be typhoon warnings all through the month.
You can still visit certain parts of the west, as you’ll have more warning of typhoons, but don’t go too remote as you’ll have difficulty getting out in the event of bad weather.
September in the Philippines
The weather begins to calm down in September, although it can still be unpredictable.
There are fewer typhoons, but again, these can always hit without warning in the rainy season.
You’ll be enjoying the Philippines with fewer crowds around and lower prices, and it’s a good time to visit popular islands such as Cebu and Palawan before the dry season tourists begin to arrive.
October in the Philippines
October is the last month of the rainy season, but it can go either way. You’ll either have beautiful sunny weather and clear skies, or lots of rain.
Typhoons are rare but don’t ignore the warnings and keep an eye on the weather still.
Head to the beaches if it’s sunny, and start island hopping around El Nido or Coron before the crowds show up in the dry season.
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