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Being an archipelago made up of more than 7000 islands, the Philippines is becoming one of Asia’s most popular destinations. Most travelers head to the Philippines for the beaches, water sports and island scenery, so it’s good to know in advance the best months to visit weather-wise for those activities.

The Philippines is a tropical country with only two seasons – a dry season and a wet season – but there are climatic variations within those seasons, and it can rain at any time of the year.

Traveling within the Philippines invariably means some travel on ferries and small boats where bags may be exposed to the weather on docksides, so it’s important to ensure that the luggage you take with you is waterproof.

When buying new bags, check out the websites of retailers like Luggage Direct, where you’ll find detailed specifications on different bags, including information about the extent to which they are waterproof.

Generally hard-sided bags are more waterproof than soft-sided bags, but many of the better quality backpacks and duffles are made with modern waterpoof fabrics.

Weather Seasons in the Philippines

December to February

The coolest months in the Philippines are December and January. These are the most popular months for travel by overseas visitors who find the tropical humidity difficult to handle. February marks the transition from the cool season to the hot season.

December of course includes the Christmas season, and traffic is heavy everywhere, leaving January as a preferred travel month by many. But it’s not necessarily the best month for a beach holiday because it’s the one month of the year when even locals might complain that the water in the ocean is cold.

It is arguably the best month for food though, and the Philippines feast on amazing rich desserts over the Christmas period. Hungry? Savor some deliciously burnt cheesecake made with homemade ricotta and cream cheese…

These three months also represent the period when it’s coldest in the mountain regions of northern Luzon, so if you are looking to do some trekking in the mountains and avoid the tropical heat, this time of the year could be the most attractive for you.

January is very much an ‘off-peak’ month for Filipino travelers, because Christmas holidays are over for most people and they are back at work, but for foreign tourists from cold climates, January is increasingly becoming a popular month for island travel.

Hiking in the Philippines

Photo credit: Jason Houston for USAID

March to May

These are the hottest three months in the Philippines and are locally known as “summer” – although meteorologists refer to this period as the dry season. This is the country’s peak season because travel between islands is easiest during this period, and delays due to tropical storms or typhoons are rare.

It’s the period when most beach resorts are fully booked and the most popular months with foreign tourists wanting to get a sun tan. But be aware that the tropical sun is strongest during these months, so precautions should be taken to avoid getting sunburnt by using 50+ sunblock whenever you are outside.

From early April onwards, traffic in the cities is less because schools are on a two-month summer break. So exploring the cities is easiest in these months, with the added bonus of summer promos on offer in shopping malls and city hotels.

Note that the week before the Easter weekend is known as ‘Holy Week’ in the Philippines, and flights, hotels and resorts are usually booked out months in advance for that week. Rates are usually higher as well, and most businesses are closed on Good Friday.

Imugan Falls attracts weekend visitors from around the region.

Photo credit: Jason Houston for USAID

June to August

Around the end of May or early June, the Philippines enters what is known as the Habagat season, which is when the southwest monsoon brings rain to all parts of the country.

July and August are usually the wettest months, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it will rain all day. Sometimes that may happen, but more often it is sunny in the morning, but then as the day goes on, thunderstorms will build up and there will be periods of heavy rain in the afternoon and evening.

Beach resorts and flights to islands with known beaches are often cheaper during these months but if you’re having a beach trip during these months, be aware that airline and ferry schedules often get disrupted because of the wet weather.

Also, although it is usually cloudy for much of the day, the sun can still burn as much as during the summer months, so precautions to prevent sunburn should still be taken.

These months are also good for city tours because they are not as hot as the ‘summer’ months, but traffic will be heavier once schools have resumed in June.

Photo credit: Jason Houston for USAID

September to November

The wet season can start winding down from late September but usually it is October by the time the southwest monsoon changes to a cooler northeast monsoon (know locally at the Amihan). These are good months for travel because the humidity is less and the afternoon storms less frequent.

This period is popular amongst beachgoers who find the sun too intense during the ‘summer’ months, and great for island-hopping because the waves are not as high once the wind direction has changed to the northeast monsoon.

It is also the season to be jolly! The Philippines is known for celebrating Christmas as early as September, and during these months you will already hear Christmas songs in shopping malls and see Christmas lights literally everywhere.

It’s a great time to visit the cities because there are light shows, night markets and Christmas bazaars everywhere. But be warned though – the streets are extra crowded during these months.

People at the beach RF

 The Best Month to Travel in the Philippines

Choosing the best month to travel in the Philippines is not as easy as in countries with four seasons, but by knowing the differences between the months, travelers can choose a period that best suits their particular travel plans.

One thing you can be sure of all year round is the warm welcome you will receive. Filipinos are known for their colorful cultures, warm hospitality, and readiness to offer a smile to visitors from overseas.


Philippines Travel Guide Amazon

Lonely Planet Philippines

Philippines Travel Guide Amazon

An Expat’s Travel Guide 

Philippines Travel Guide Amazon

The Philippines: 100 Travel Tips


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Yes my favorite place to visit.

    • I completely understand why – it’s a stunning country :)

  2. Good place for time pass.

    • Absolutely – you could spend a lifetime exploring the Philippines :)

  3. Which place in Philippines? Wow so nice.beautiful place ☺

    • Hi Ana, the photos we have included above are from all over the Philippines. There are many islands to choose from, so I would recommend picking a destination based on what you’re interested in, ie water-sports, beaches, cities, nightlife, food, rugged nature. Etc. Feel free to shoot me an email if you need help picking a destination :)

  4. We traveled to Palawan last October and our flights got delayed by 12 hours because of the rain. The trip was great and overall we really enjoyed ourselves, but I would definitely caution to be flexible with your plans and expect delays if you do choose to travel in the wet season.

    • Great tip Bret – glad you had a fabulous trip despite the delays :)

  5. I’ve just come back from the Philippine, and MAN was it hot! I guess I should have found this post before we went, because I did get pretty badly sunburned – but it’s not a beach vacation otherwise!

    • Yes I traveled last year in November and it was pretty humid compared to what I’m used to! But the beaches were beautiful – sorry to hear you got sunburned. I always travel with sunscreen as it can totally ruin a vacation if you get severe burns. And never good for your health – I promise a beach vacation is still a beach vacation even if you return home without a tan :D

  6. I never did see what the best time to visit the Philippines is …

    • Hi Jackson, the best time to visit the Philippines will be different for different people, so we have provided the above overview of each season to give you all the info you need to make the decision re what best fits your interests and circumstances :)

  7. Hi Megan, we are going to the Philippines next month in May. We will be visiting Manila, and then going to Boracay. Will it rain?

    • Hi Jenna, depending on when you’re going in May, the end of May marks the end of the dry season / start of the wet season, so it’s a transitional period. There’s really not much rain at all, but you might experience showers if you travel later in the month. I would be prepared with compact travel umbreallas and raincoats just in case.

      Hope you have an amazing trip!

  8. There’s nothing wrong with the wet season in the Philippines – thunderstorms are predictable, and usually always in the afternoon anyway, so we woke up early and made sure we were back at our hotel before it came each day. We got incredible deals because peak season tourism had gone away.

    • Absolutely Mitchel – we’re employing the same thinking for tropical north Queensland later in the year, I believe they run on the same seasons as the Philippines. I personally much rather avoid the crowds :)

  9. Thank you for this blog, I have a scheduled visit to Philippines this year and i was little worried about the weather as Asian countries are a little hotter than the western countries. Now i have an idea of the weather as well.

    • Glad the info was helpful for you David :) Hope you have an awesome time in the Philippines! It’s an incredible country, though yes, be prepared for it to be hotter than you may be used to :D

  10. Love this helpful article about when to travel and about the Philippine weather seasons! I love how very detailed and informative your post is. Thanks a lot for sharing this, it has been really helpful!

    • You’re welcome Kai, I’m so glad the guide was helpful :) Happy travels!

  11. This is usefull tips as I plan to visit Philipine soon. Thank you so much Megan.

    • So glad the post was helpful Henry :) Happy travels!

  12. Hi! May I know which year did you post did? I just need it to put in my research paper. Thank you.

    • *this

    • Hi Serrene :) This post was published April 5 2018 :)

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