Tourist Survival Tips In Philippines –Philippines Weather

If you are planning on coming to the Philippines for a holiday, it is important that you take into consideration the time of year in which you will be travelling. The Philippines is a tropical country which means that the temperature is pretty much the same all year round. The main difference is that for half of the year it is relatively dry, and for the other half it is wet. The dry season is typically between December and April and the wet season is typically between May and November. Taking that into account, this week’s Survival Tip is about Philippines weather and what to look out for when visiting some of the best Philippines destinations. For those that missed my previous survival tips, you can click here for Survival Tips on Taxi Scams and ATM Scams.

Not a lot of planning is required during the dry season other than to make sure you have plenty of sunblock and appropriate clothing for sun protection. However, the wet season requires a lot more planning. With May only a week away, this marks the official beginning of the wet season. This is where understanding the weather is critical not only for your enjoyment and convenience but also for your safety.

Typhoon Glenda that made a direct hit on Manila in 2014. You can see that the typhoon is almost big enough to cover the entire country.

During the wet season, there is a considerable amount of rain. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it rains all day every day. However, when it does rain, it can rain for prolonged periods of time – and very heavily. Generally, it will rain in the afternoon, so if you plan your outdoor activities carefully, and try to finish these in the morning, you can avoid having the rain disrupt your activities.

Monsoonal Rains and Typhoons

The wettest time of the year in the Philippines is July through to September. This time of year is the monsoon season or “habagat”. During this time of year, it can rain for days and days, virtually nonstop. This can lead to floods and landslides which can cause massive disruptions to your travel plans. The monsoon normally occurs in the south-west of the country and moves very slowly north-eastwards. However, the typhoons come in from the Pacific, and when they meet together with the monsoon rains, can really cause havoc.

For those not familiar with typhoons, they are basically a hurricane or a northern hemisphere cyclone. They can start in the form of a tropical depression and build right up to a super typhoon with wind speeds of up to 220kmh. In this day and age of the internet and social media, there is normally enough advanced warning of when a typhoon will strike and the likely path in which it will head. This gives you ample time to prepare accordingly. One of the main side effects of a typhoon is a blackout (called a brownout in the Philippines). If there is no backup power you can sometimes be without power for a few days. If you are in a remote provincial area, this can sometimes take even longer.

Killer Typhoons

The worst typhoon I was involved in was Typhoon Milenyo in 2006. This typhoon caused around US$750million of damage and killed almost 320 people across the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. It struck Manila directly and was the first time I have ever experienced a typhoon. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. There were large tree branches being ripped off trees like small twigs, sheets of corrugated iron blowing down the street like discarded candy wrappers and a howling wind, unlike anything I had ever heard. The rain was almost horizontal and was coming down with extreme ferocity turning the streets into rivers.

Philippines weather

Typhoon Milenyo from 2006. The photo on the left shows how savage the wind was, ripping tree branches off trees like twigs. The photo on the right was taken the next morning. Not one single drop of water to be seen, but you can see the uprooted trees strewn all over the road.

Be prepared and organised

During the wet season, it can be a difficult time to organize travel. With the Philippines being in a typhoon zone, typhoons can strike at any time during the wet season. This can result in flight cancellations which can certainly throw your travel schedule into disarray. As a result of this, there can be backlogs of passengers that build up while the airlines work through rebooking flights for those that wish to proceed with their flights.

On the other hand, the best time of the year to come to the Philippines weatherwise is February and March. This is known as summertime in the Philippines. The weather each day during this period is generally perfect, but it can get very hot. This is usually the best time to hit the beaches however, you need to make sure that you have adequate sun protection if you plan to spend your time outdoors or in the water. If you have just come from a country that has recently experienced winter, your enthusiasm to feel the warm sun on your body could lead you to be
burnt to a crisp. This can cause you some discomfort and inconvenience for a few days. It is important not to underestimate the power of the sun in a tropical climate.

If in doubt, you can check out the US Navy website (Joint Typhoon Warning Centre) or the Pagasa website, which is a Philippine government website.

So there is a quick guide to weather in the Philippines. As mentioned, with the wet season about to begin, it is very important to understand what to expect and to plan accordingly. Please feel free to leave your comments below and don’t forget to share with friends and family.

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